Blame Little Women, starring Emma Watson, or our love for vintage-inspired designers such as Cecilie Bahnsen, DOÊN and The Vampire’s Wife, but the prairie dress is undoubtedly one of the most popular trends for the upcoming summer season, after a highly successful run for SS19.
Before we look at SS20’s offerings, let’s look at the origin of the prairie dress, shall we? Laura Ingalls basically the trend, and I’m only half kidding.
The high neckline, long hem and ruffles were the typical fashion in rural America in the 19th century, no doubt because the fashion was much more modest back then, but also perhaps to protect against the harsh elements for people who had to be outdoors most of the day. The only fancy was the ditzy print, often floral.
It has of course been given a modern update since then, with designers such as Batsheva, Shrimps, Molly Goddard and Brock Collection all featuring the style in their spring collections, this time re-imagined with bold floral prints and colours, whimsical details such as lace, embroidery and grosgrain ribbons – and even shorter hemlines.
Whilst last season was all about the minimalist dress (and the slip dress is going nowhere fast), we’re certainly into all things romantic and maximalist now.
It’s also perfect to transition into autumn, thanks to the high necks and long sleeves, and can be layered onto a thin cashmere sweater too.
How to wear a prairie dress
So how to style the trend? Although it seems like a tricky one, it’s not as much of a challenge as you’d think. You basically want to let the dress do all the talking, and keep the rest of your outfit toned down.
I personally will be wearing mine with a paired-down walking sandal to give it a modern twist, or with a naked sandal if I want to dress it up a bit.
Shop my edit of the best designer and high street prairie dresses below.