Have you ever walked through the knee-high grasses of the American prairie? Odds are probably not, but that shouldn’t stop you from embracing the romantic summer trend and wearing one of the best prairie dresses. 2020 marked the rise of cottagecore, an artisan-centric trend that applied to both dreamy dresses and the desire for a full DIY life at home. But in 2022, the lens is shifting. With the rise of Victorian-era dramas such as HBO’s The Gilded Age and epic westerns like The power of the dog, There’s a cultural pull to the wistful appeal of the vintage aesthetic.
Traditionally, the prairie dress is defined by a few key details: ruffles, a high neckline, voluminous sleeves, and a billowing body. Generally made from lightweight cotton or linen, they are also ideal for spending time outdoors in warmer temperatures. But this season, brands are incorporating fresh twists on the classic, opting for thin shoulder straps or an oversized collar as an alternative to the traditional (and often constricting) neckline. With the advent of shorter hemlines this year, you’ll also find a range of options that hit above the knee.
For more established iterations, try a bright white dress with a billowy butt. Or you can opt for a pastel colored dress with a floral print – an ideal option for elegant daytime occasions.
Find five prairie dress variations ahead of time that feel modern, not dated. However you decide to embrace the aesthetic, just make sure you find a field to let off steam.
White and light
On a warm day outdoors, a floaty white dress keeps you comfortable even in the sun. Try a crocheted long sleeve option for a more traditional feel, or opt for something sleeveless for a more modern twist.
While prairie dresses are more suited to casual activities, these thin strap versions have a little more sparkle, making them the ideal party dress. Look for an eye-catching neckline or waist detail to elevate the look.
Say hello to the return of the Mini with these cropped options that hit just above the knee. They’ll still embody the core prairie aesthetic, but in a way that’s appropriate for modern occasions.
One trend worth exploring this season is the statement collar. These summer dresses still have a vintage feel, but without the constricting high neck.
On days when you want a dress that fully covers your legs, consider these flowy maxi styles. The best prairie dresses are airy, billowy and ideal for keeping you cool in hot temperatures.
If it’s already working, don’t mess with tradition. These pretty floral designs look great when you add mules and a basket bag.