Why is everyone dressing up like a strange milkmaid on the prairie? | Fashion

Listen, can we have a quick chat? Nothing to worry about. But we need to talk about your summer outfit. You know him. Long, loose perhaps with smocking or shirring at the bust. Oh, and puffy sleeves – there are definitely puffy sleeves. Your upper arms and thighs are covered – that’s partly why you bought it – but there may be a bare shoulder or a square, milky neck that shows a bit of cleavage. Was there a chip in the back? A little bare skin, but classy, ​​you know. I think it’s gingham. But it can be floral or bright pink, or white linen.

You know the dress I mean, because even in the unlikely event it’s not in your wardrobe – yet – it’s everywhere this summer. It’s the dress your best friend wore in her Instagram vacation photos and the dress your kid’s teacher wore to the summer fair. It’s what you should wear to your birthday lunch, whether you’re 21 or 50.

How did the whimsical, puffy-sleeve dress become a favorite sight for the woman hurrying to catch the train to work while checking her phone? How did we get to a point where even Nadine Dorries is transitioning from vacuum tailoring to embracing the pastoral vibe of a corn-blue maxi dress with tulip-sleeve sprigs, as she recently did?

SL027AL “Atlanta” Sleeper Linen Dress in Vichy Blue $320 (1) Photo:-

This dress has taken the world by storm because, despite looking whimsical and effortless, it embodies two of the most seismic shifts in the way we think, live, and therefore dress, because that’s how fashion works.

The first is the shift in atmosphere towards theatricality – life as performance art – that comes from social media and can be seen in holiday photos: candidly fake but very staged, a back view of a pre-dinner stroll in a scenic route instead of everyone smiling. on camera in front of a table. The puff sleeve, milky dress is a dress version of the summer dress department.

The second change is health, which used to be a bit grim and wild, but is now aspirational and glamorous. Yoga breaks and half-marathons, being flexitarian, being mindful, not drinking alcohol during the week – this was already happening when the pandemic turbocharged our obsession with fresh air, hiking and eating out. Masks and social distancing turned being sanitary into something to do. For all the predictions of a non-stop post-pandemic rush to illegal, sweaty basements, the opposite has been true. The alfresco party, with salad plates, scallop-edged napkins and rattan lanterns, is as aspirational this decade as a lavish lunch at the Ivy was in the 1980s.
The point where health meets theatricality is exactly where you find this outfit. The humor may be sweet, soft and fluffy, but this is not a pushover dress. That’s why there will be big puffy sleeves, or a dramatic pictorial print, or an embellished rickrack or lace trim—a splash of Krystle Carrington glamor to make it clear that this girl isn’t distressed, and by the way, she recently sold the castle and bought a mid-century bungalow she found on Modern House (follow her Instagram stories for #renovation).

To round out your social media feed this summer, may I suggest a cabana set—matching shirt and shorts—maybe with a towel, maybe in neon orange? But this is the dress that won the summer. Vibe Shift has a uniform. And you’ve probably already worn it.

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