Dress – Sister Jane (size XL. I am a size 22/24)
Okay, so hear me out.
Smock dresses have – for the longest time – held the title as being a plus size person’s fashion enemy. Alongside glittery motif T-shirts, cold shoulder blouses, empire line dresses, jersey dresses and minimizer bras, smock dresses for the most part were seen as shapeless (or sometimes trapeze-shaped) circus tents designed to cover our ‘shame’, ie our fatness. We would walk around looking like Victorian children and somehow, we were cool with it?
As young adults, we were sold the narrative of the smock dress being perfect for fuller figures due to the empire-line cut under the bust creating a more ‘flattering’ silhouette, however since embarking on my personal self-love journey and eventually coming to the conclusion that I don’t need outfits that’ll flatter my shape, I eventually turned my back on the style; feeling triggered anytime I would see it being mentioned as an option for plus size figures. Don’t get me wrong, all forms of clothing have a purpose, and just because I didn’t find them to be synonymous with my personal style at the time, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.
For years, I had dodged and weaved the dreaded smock dress; reliving memories of me wearing denim smocks at house parties, feeling like Chuckles the Clown and begging not to be seen. Brands – both plus size and mainstream – were slowly beginning to offer clothing options that were more to my tastes – more daring. More chic. More exciting. And whilst I began to indulge myself in a world of crop tops, oversized blazers, boyfriend jeans and midi skirts, little did I know that the dreaded smock dress was having a mini makeover in the background.
I like to think it started with the tiered dress. The 2019 runway season was awash with tiered dresses of all lengths, from mini dresses with frilly trims to oversized Victoriana maxi dresses with tiers of tulle and lace gracing the floors. The runways at that time sent a clear message: fuller dresses were back. Since then (and actually, since the Pandemic) we’ve seen an increase in the sales of smock and tiered dresses, with audiences finally being able to acknowledge the comfort factor that these styles provide. Also, it helps if you know how to style them up too, because we aren’t just going with the plain old traditional smocks, oh no. This seasons smock dresses feature pieces made from jacquard material, featuring frilly, regal bows for that 17th century Rococo flair, oversized shoulder pads and bubbled sleeves for texture and dimension. The reinvention of the smock dress is here, and I am here for it!
Below I’ve compiled a few dresses I’ve seen across the internets that I’ve taken a liking to. Check out the links below if any tickle your interest! Some of the links may be affiliate links also.