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Item of the week: the slip dress

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: Madewell, Superdry, Hurley

What it is:

While initially made to be an item of underwear or sleepwear, the slip dress has taken on a new form in recent years as the rise of outerwear lingerie becomes a norm among trends. A slip dress refers to a dress that usually takes on the appearance of an underslip, typically complete with thin straps. The item can appear both as a garment under a sheer or lace material, yet still made to be seen, or as a standalone piece itself, a style choice that has developed in modern fashion. Retailers have translated the piece into dresses of varying lengths and in different materials that make it suitable for outerwear.

Image: Dancing Leopard

Why you’ll want it:

While the slip dress may appear very one dimensional, the product actually has many uses and is an item that can remain relevant throughout each of the seasons. This is largely due to the consistent popularity of the lingerie-as-outerwear trend, which has been the driving force behind the slip dress’ prominence. Shoppers of all ages are now comfortable to sport the dress style as a daywear item, in iterations that come in more functional materials and alternate lengths. With further styling support, wearers can also make the style last all year round, through the use of layering knitwear or other pieces that make the item weather appropriate.

Image: Michael Kors

Where we’ve seen it:

Slip dresses could be spotted all over autumn/winter 2023 fashion weeks, either paired with fluffy boots or dressed up with eye-catching accessories. It was the latter that Rodarte opted for, adding gothic necklaces to its range of silky slips with contrasting embellished lace, in keeping with its Wednesday Addams inspired line. Pat Bo, on the other hand, went for a ‘party girl’ look, presenting a sparkly purple mini dress complete with bejewelled straps. Meanwhile, at both Dion Lee and Kim Shui, sticking to the slip dresses lingerie roots was clearly at the forefront. Both designers showed lace-heavy slips that were brought into the day through the use of practical footwear.

Image: Comma Casual Identity

How to style it:

While the slip dress can work well on its own, it can also be elevated by adding simple touches that bring more depth to the style. For example, under the dress it is possible to add either a t-shirt, for warmer weather, or a turtle neck sweater for the cold, while over the top, a loose fit shirt can also work, each item being the perfect layer for the typically simple garment. In terms of footwear, the slip dress can work with everything from trainers to oversized boots to strappy heeled sandals, taking it from a daily wear item into an eveningwear piece.

Image: A Line

The slip dress emerged as a front runner for the AW23 season, proving that such an item can have a seasonless appeal when worn with the right layering techniques. The piece has been brought into the daytime wardrobe through the use of material adjustments and practical upgrades.

Image: French Connection

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French Connection
Item of the Week