THE TREND: The shift, tent or trapeze, defined as a waist-free dress that sits freely on the body in an A-line, slightly flared to the knee silhouette.
ITS INVENTION: The revolutionary styles of the ’60s popularized two fresh “waist” trends: The high-waist defined “empire” waistline and the come-as-you-are “waist free” no-waist line. The latter found fame during the ’60s with the introduction of the tent dress or trapeze dress because they resembled these triangular shapes.
The popularity of the waist-free dress silhouette was revolutionary in the ’60s because it failed to accentuate the female form in any sort of way — something that was only seen prior during 1920s fashion with the drop waist dress.
The waist-free body of the ’60s became a vehicle for geometric dressing, a trend influenced by space-age shapes and figures with futuristic appeal.
ITS INFLUENCE: While the mini skirt set the stage for all things shorter-than-short, the tent dress set the stage for what would become known as “babydoll” a la ’90s fashion. Babydoll dresses are like mini skirts in a dress combined with the shape of a ’60s waist-less tent dress . They’re not just shorter-than-short but free-and-free-flowing!
The use of “tent” as a dress descriptor has not caught fashion ground in recent years because the term “babydoll” is favored and used by the masses.
But no matter the name, the style is all the same: The tent dress of yesterday is the babydoll dress of today!