I Thought This Pretty Dress Trend Was "Over" But Fashion People Just Proved Me Wrong

Summer is finally here, and with it the reemergence of a particular dress trend that I didn't expect to see again so soon. Contrasting the drop waist and basque styles that have been saturating the market, the waist-cinching, ultra-feminine milkmaid dress trend has been gaining popularity just as quickly as its lower-waist sisters this season.

Influencer wears a milkmaid dress.

(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

When the trend first shot to popularity in 2020, the pretty dresses offered a fresh silhouette—reminiscent of the puff-sleeve, corset clad styles worn across the 18th century. Following their saturation, the style eventually ebbed out of favour, but today—only four years later, the trend is suddenly back.

Speaking of the quick resurgence—I'm much more used to seeing trends take nearer 10-15 years to come back into style, fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair commented that the trend "makes a statement against sleek, minimalist fashion norms" such as the quiet luxury aesthetic that dominated for seasons.

Influencer wears a milkmaid dress.

(Image credit: @borislavasekova)

"Another reason for its popularity is that it connects our imagination to simpler times through the psychological concept of nostalgia. In the modern, fast-paced world, we may yearn for a perceived idyllic, slower-paced past and wearing this trend enables us to escape from the harsh reality of today" speaks Mair.

Now a heavyweight play in the wardrobe rotation of influencers, the pretty dress has also been spiking on Google Trends for the past few weeks, proving that the romantic style is enjoying a second wind.

Influencer wears a milkmaid dress.

(Image credit: @livpurvis)

Delivering a feminine and romantic silhouette, the elegant dress also offers a comfortable fit. Frequently designed with an elasticated, shirred bodice, the dress sits comfortably across the chest before billowing out for a voluminous finish.

To shop the pretty dress trend that fashion people keep coming back to, discover our edit of the best milkmaid dresses below.


Natalie Munro
News Writer

Natalie Munro is Who What Wear UK’s news writer. Having worked in the fashion industry since her time at university—where she obtained a BA in Journalism from University of the Arts London, Natalie's experience spans journalistic and styling roles. In the early stages of her career Natalie predominately worked on editorial shoots for fashion publications such as British Vogue, Vogue Ukraine, AnOther Magazine and Elle UK, before moving into journalism roles.

On completion of her degree she interned in the editorial team at British Vogue and later went on to freelance for the publication. Here, she developed her interest in reporting on the latest fashion news and trends. Inspired by the dynamic nature of the industry, Natalie went on to write for other lifestyle and fashion brands and publications before taking on the role as News Writer for Who What Wear.

With an interest in uncovering the latest fashion trends, Natalie takes a leading role in identifying news for Who What Wear UK. Focusing on trends on and off the runway, as well as street style and celebrity fashion, Natalie reports on a daily basis, ensuring that she remains ahead of the trends. Natalie also creates content for Who What Wear’s social channels including TikTok and Instagram on a weekly basis.