Some lump it into the Western revival, others describe it as part of an anti-sexy movement within the industry; the Washington Post deemed it to be the “most provocative thing in fashion;” the New York Times characterized fans of its look as “pioneer women…” No matter how you characterize it, explain its rise, or feel about this very specific silhouette, it’s clear that the prairie dress is at the very center of the fashion zeitgeist.
Those long-sleeved, mid-to-maxi-length dresses, usually in some sort of antique-looking floral are pretty pervasive for Fall 2018 and future seasons, but it’s been a slow burn. This aesthetic—and its hero item—has been the bread and butter of smaller fashion brands like the New York-based Batsheva (worn by celebrities like Lena Dunham, Gillian Jacobs, and Amandla Stenberg) and London label The Vampire’s Wife (beloved by the likes of Alexa Chung, Florence Welch, and Olivia Wilde) for a few years now. They’ve helped make these modest, frilly frocks in vintage prints and fabrics go mainstream—before bigger names like Dior, Coach, and Kate Spade New York started incorporating the silhouette (or pieces derived from it) into their collections.
For the designers behind the prairie dress trend, this isn’t a surprising development: On the rise of more covered-up fashion, designer Batsheva Hay of Batsheva told Glamour that “women today are reevaluating our behavior and our choices… I want [my clothes to embody] what our decisions would be like if we actually made all of our own choices, without considering what men think we should wear.”
If you’re curious about the dress sensation that’s sweeping the industry—or, at the very least, want to see what all the fuss is about—consider the 19 prairie-esque styles for your fall wardrobe.