The term for this women’s clothing was derived from that of a baby doll. The material commonly used is something translucent or see-through such as silk, chiffon or nylon with the hemline some 6 inches or longer above the knee. Its design is sexually suggestive in nature and is worn during night-time as a form of nightgown or lingerie. Women’s fashion experts intended it to become an erotic form of adult apparel which often comes with matching panties. Some women purposely wear baby dolls without the panties especially that the hemline is very short and tends to expose the private parts. Baby dolls also are designed to expose the breasts or show some cleavage as an attraction.
There is some debate as to the origins of the term baby doll and also its authorship. But it probably came from a famous 1956 movie by the same name which made it a popular adult dress since then. Actually, baby dolls were for small children and made short enough to make changing diapers very easy for the nanny. Infants’ diapers were the main reason for this original baby dress but its highly suggestive nature caught on with the adult fashion world. It even gave birth to a unique style of fashion called “Kinderwhore” (literally, child prostitutes) which was a female American punk-rock image. This deliberate style was also emphasized with a typical look of dirty or soiled baby doll dresses, plastic hair clips, torn stockings and leather boots called “Mary Jane” (allusion to marijuana use). Sometimes knee-high socks were worn instead of the stockings. It further spawned a punk feminist movement in the hazy and chaotic underground world known as “Riot Grrrl” which emphasized the female concerns of date rapes, domestic abuse, sexuality and female identify or empowerment. This fashion type eventually petered out.
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