From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A babydoll is a short, sometimes sleeveless, loose fitting nightgown or negligee intended as nightwear for women. It
sometimes has formed cups called a Bralette for cleavage with an
attached loose fitting skirt
falling in length usually between the upper thigh and the belly
button. The garment is often trimmed with lace, ruffles, appliques, marabou fur,
bows and ribbons, optionally
straps. Sometimes it is made of sheer or translucent fabric like nylon or chiffon or silk.
It is said the name was popularized by the 1956 movie Baby Doll starring Carroll Baker in
the title role, which essentially marked the beginning of the
enduring popularity of the style for adults.
Short daywear dresses of a
similar style are sometimes called babydoll dresses; the
name is sometimes two words, baby doll, and sometimes
hyphenated, baby-doll. Some styles are similar to what is
worn by dolls in the form of
infants, and by some infants; the gown is short enough that diapers are easily changed. However, there may
be an alternative origin for the style, if we consider the lineage
of lace-trimmed shortie bedjackets and bed-capes of the 1930s and
It is now a highly eroticized item of adult apparel, often
classified as a form of lingerie. Adult babydolls are quite different
from the infant babydolls; they fully expose the woman's legs, and
some styles emphasize or deliberately expose the breasts as well. The gown is often sold as a set
with matching panties, as a
typical babydoll is short enough that underwear is visible if worn.
Styles of the same general length but not intended to emphasize sex
appeal are sometimes called shortie
Babydolls became a prominent part of the "Kinderwhore" look during the early-to-mid
1990s due to the popularity of Riot Grrrl and Grunge performers like Courtney Love and Kat Bjelland.
Babydolls are now available in a sufficiently wide variety of
styles that many lingerie
retailers consider babydolls a distinct department. Modern
babydolls often vary considerably from the styles of the 1960s and
1970s. Babydoll negligees
from the 1950s to the early 1980s are now collectible vintage
items. Some babydolls open in front and resemble a robe or peignoir.
- Barbier, Muriel & Boucher, Shazia (2003). The Story of
Lingerie. Parkstone. ISBN 1-85995-804-4
- Cox, Caroline (2000). Lingerie: a Lexicon of Style.
Scriptum Editions. ISBN 1-902686-08-X