The Drop Waist Dress Is The “European Summer” Trend We’ll Be Shopping For This Summer

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We’ve officially reached the time of year when every person and their mother is on holidays in Europe. Our feeds are positively heaving with sunny days, Aperol Spritz by the beach, and leisurely sojourns into the Italian countryside. For those of us who aren’t jetting off this summer, we’ve been easing our jealousy by looking to the street style and dreaming up our mood boards closer to home. (Also, reminding ourselves that dragging a wheeled suitcase across cobblestones is kind of punishing, actually.) One fashion trend that has emerged early to stake its claim on our Pinterest boards is a refreshingly timeless and classic style: drop waist dresses

Spotted on red carpets at Cannes Film Festival, outside shows at Paris Fashion Week, and paired with the aforementioned Aperol by the beach, the style is roaring back into prominence this summer.

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 20: Gili Biegun wears white dress Shona Joy, burgundy heels / shoes Roger Vivier, brown bag Virag Kerenyi, sunglasses Saint Laurent, earings Federica Tos during the 77th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

Though drop waists may have been absent from our wardrobes for a few years, that doesn’t mean they’re exactly new, having first emerged in the 1920s following the First World War (and every couple of decades since).

Our first inkling that drop waist dresses were set for another resurgence came last September, during the spring/summer 2024 shows at Fashion Week. Specifically, Sandy Liang’s drop waist pleated pinafores, whimsical mesh maxis, and floaty midi dresses caught our eye; as did Schiaparelli’s glamorous draped designs that have been spotted on just about every red carpet since.

The recent rise of drop waist dresses also follows the fashion industry’s move towards low-rise trousers over the past three years. When low-rise jeans started trickling into stores in late 2021, it was a polarizing trend to say the least, with some feeling like their beloved high-waists were under attack. Thankfully, the divide has somewhat fizzled — or should we say evolved — since, to a more measured approach that really boils down to wearing whatever rise height you’re most comfortable wearing.

This is reflected in the current reemergence of dropped waist dresses, with some designers favoring a dress that sits on the lower waist, and others that drop at the hip. That means, no matter where your comfort zone is, there’s probably a drop waist dress for you.

In 2024, drop waist dresses follow a similar style, with a fitted bodice (often in a shirred or corset silhouette) and a slightly puffed-out skirt. The variation comes with the hemlines, both in length and style. In fact, the rise of drop waists has thoroughly collided with other rising trends like bubble hems.

It’s also a huge bonus that the current styles of drop waist dresses popping up on our European sunlit FYPs are all extremely wearable, with cotton fabrics favored over slinky or suiting fabrics. The most popular length we’re seeing is the airy and comfortable midi and maxi lengths, though a few mini dresses have snuck through the cracks. Perhaps it’s this more demure styling that has seen drop waist dresses being tipped as a huge bridal trend for next year, which we’re in full support of.

We don’t need much more convincing to add one of these flattering summer dresses to our rotation — now we just need to find the perfect one.

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