A babydoll dress is a style of clothing that has gained and lost popularity throughout the years. The shape can either be figure flattering or not very flattering at all, depending on the cut of the dress and the wearer's body shape.

Babydoll Dress

A babydoll dress is a dress where the waistline is positioned higher than where the natural waist is. The typical placement for the waistlines on these dresses ranges from the mid-ribcage region to just below the bust line. The skirt of the dress then falls from there, draping away from the body. Babydoll dresses also typically involve lace or ruffles, due to their childlike nature.

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Origins of the Babydoll

The name of the dress comes from the fact that most toy dolls wear a similar style outfit. This style is also particularly popular in children's and infant's clothing. Babydoll dresses also tend to have shorter hemlines than many other types of dresses. According to dictionary.com, babydoll styles are prevalent in sleepwear and lingerie but have evolved to become daytime wear.


The look of these dresses can be unflattering to some, as the shape is also often seen in maternity wear, seeing as it is so roomy. How generous or slim the cut of the skirt is makes a big difference in how the dress will look on a particular person. In general, they are well suited for the petite, slender and tall.

Empire Waist Dress

Empire waist dresses are very similar to babydoll dresses and the names have become somewhat interchangeable. Typically a dress is labeled as "empire waist" when it is longer in length. For example, empire waist wedding dresses have the waistline hitting just below the bust, but fall straight to the floor rather than the shorter length of the babydoll dress.

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Origins of the Empire Waist Dress

The name for this type of dress is due to the fact that the style first gained popularity during the first French Empire. This style of dress is also quite flattering, especially due to its longer length. The longer length of the empire waist dress can help negate the maternity-wear effect, while still being very flattering and slimming on most body types, especially if you consider your middle a trouble spot.