WHAT IS … TENT DRESS
STYLE NOTES: The tent dress is like wearing A-line which covers your entire body. Instead of flaring out at the waist, the dress flairs beginning below the chest. The tent dress can consist of a few well-placed pleats or multiple pleats for a classic evening style (see modern version, right).
The A-line shape is technically called a “pyramid” flare. The style was introduced by designer Pierre Cardin for his spring ’66 collection.
HOW TO WEAR: Depending on the design and placement of pleats, the tent dress can work for evening as more of a “babydoll dress” look, or for day when styled with patterns, like large florals seen in the vintage version (left).
Tent dresses for day are often designed with larger patterns — it’s uncommon to see “ditsy” (small print florals or polka dots) here. For evening, the tent dress is sans design, sticking to neutral colors that can be vamped with the right bling accessory.
WHO SHOULD WEAR: Tent dresses take on a more “babydoll” approach to exposing the skin (read: they hit above the knee). Ladies anxious to show off their toned calves should look to the tent dress to draw attention to their best asset.
If you are a larger busted lady, the tent dress can look like a maternity dress because your chest will literally push the material away from your body. If you are larger chest and want to wear a tent dress, make sure you belt it with a skinny belt to create a waist.
Tent dresses look best with close-toed or peep toe pumps in solid colors and narrow stiletto heels. Avoid platforms, flats and chunky heels — you’ll either look too retro or like you’re dressing down your age.