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Slip Dress Basics: A Brief History of the World's Most Versatile Dress

Toss it over a t-shirt for a casual summer shopping spree. Pair it with statement jewelry and heels for a wedding. Even works on the weekends for a nap on the sofa––or to the club.

If there's one word to describe a slip dress, it's versatility, which at SUPESU, is probably our second favorite word of all time. (As you can guess, our first fav is comfort.)

If you want to look good, feel good, and be extra lazy (or extra busy and save the time spent on changing), then look no further than the slip dress. In this post, we're going to give you the rundown of:

•  A Brief History of the Slip Dress
•  Common Slip Dresses Styles & Fabrics
•  Why You Might Want to Slip on a Slip Dress

A Really Brief History of the Slip Dress

Turning back the clock to oh, let's say, 400 hundred years, we'll see that slip dresses and the chemise were first worn as undergarments for upper and noble class women in the 17th century. These were often frilly silk underdresses that were worn beneath formal and sheer dresses. They added a layer of warmth, protection, and covering.

This wasn't anything close to the modern slip quite yet. Probably a bit more like modern day Grandma's undergarments, which although adorable in its own way, isn't exactly something you'd wear out on a date night or a wedding.

So how did that get to this?

Fast forward 300 years of wearing slips underneath, some fashion forward women in the 20th century probably said, "Forget these finicky outer dresses, I'm just gonna wear my undies out!"

Alright, I'm paraphrasing history here a bit, it's actually a little more complicated than that.

There were a combination of factors in the 1920s. In the US, because of the wars, women were entering the work force in droves. Women's fashion started to move away from bloated inner support structures, straps and inflexible corsets into more practical, movement-friendly styles.

I mean, how could anyone really wear all that to work?

The "Dirty Thirties" were incredibly difficult times.  They needed pieces that were comfortable to wear in order to keep working and the pieces needed to be easy to manufacture in order to keep prices affordable. These factors (amongst others) resulted updated slip undergarments that were made from rayon and other smooth fabrics.

These comfortable inner garment slip dresses began to influence the look and feel of outerwear fashion to the point where you began to see the same silhouette and designs in every day outerwear— such as bias-cut dresses.

The trend in innerwear-as-outerwear grew through the 1900s, but it wasn't until the 1990s that slip dresses really hit the market when they were iconized by famous supermodels like Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford.

Throughout this decade slip dresses were quite literally everywhere. They were worn on sitcoms like Friends and Sex and the City and they were all over the red carpets and runways. In short, slip dresses were the look of the 90s.

How about now?

Since exploding onto the scene in the 90s, slip dresses have become a wardrobe staple. For the past 20 years, women have been wearing slip dresses of all lengths, materials, and fabrics just about everywhere and with everything.

These days, the slip dress concept has really expanded. You can find casual cotton slip dresses, elegant silk slip dresses, satin slip dresses, and shear nylon slip dresses. You can pair them with sneakers, boots, or heels. You can wear them over shirts, under jackets oversized jean or leather jackets and the list goes on.

In today's world, you'll catch everyone from Rhianna to Hailey Bieber to Dua Lipa to Victoria Beckham rocking slip dresses. This time, it's quite safe to say, slip dresses are here to stay.

Common Slip Dress Fabrics

•  Satin - An ideal luxy fabric for events as it has a uniquely shiny and smooth texture.
•  Silk - This soft fabric is perfect for evening wear or even sleep or loungewear.
•  Nylon - Stretchy, sheer, excellent for a sexy, see-through look.
•  Rayon - A fabric made from natural wood pulp. Great for breathability and casual-wear.
•  Cotton - Cotton is a simple, classic fabric that is perfect for casual outings and daytime wear in the summer.

Slip Dress Styles

•  A-line - This simple, straight cut suits any body type and feels lovely even on hot days.
•  Cowl neck - A draped and elegant neckline that pulls up your style points 100%
•  Bodycon - If you're going out for the evening or you want to show off your curves, a bodycon style might be perfect for you.
•  Flared - Try a slip dress with a flare at the bottom for a cute, slightly less casual look.
•  Tiered - With a tiered slip dress, you'll find that the dress is even more flattering.
•  V-neck - A v-neck is perfect if you want to pair your slip dress with a t-shirt.
•  Square neck - A square neck is great if you want to look a little more sophisticated and pulled together.

Slip Dress Lengths

•  Mini - Perfect for summer, a mini slip dress is low maintenance and breezy. Perfect for petite body types and for travellers looking to pack light.
•  Midi - Suitable for both daytime and nighttime, a midi slip dress is flattering, classic, and versatile.
•  Maxi - A maxi slip dress is ideal for a formal affair.

Why You Might Want to Slip on a Slip Dress

Easy styling. There is truly nothing easier to wear than a slip—you won't have to fiddle with buttons, zippers or ties. Simply throw it on over your head and you're ready to go.

From casual to dressy. With a pair of trainers and a t-shirt, your slip dress will be perfect for running errands in the daytime. Then, if you have a last-minute evening event to get to, remove the shirt, swap the sneakers for heels, and add a pair of dramatic hoops, and you'll fit right in.

Slip dresses can flatter any body type. Slip dresses have a strange ability to show off the best bits of your body while concealing those parts of the body that you feel less confident about. For women who don't like to show off too much thigh, a midi or maxi slip dress is perfect. Because slip dresses don't usually cling to the body, they tend to create the illusion of length. Plus, these dresses show off your shoulders, so they don't feel too modest.

SUPESU Slip Dresses

Here at SUPESU, we absolutely love the versatility and sophistication of the slip dress. If you're looking for a staple slip to add to your wardrobe, we've got you covered.

Our Serena Slip Dress is an a-line midi slip dress with a simple v-neck. With the perfect slight flare, this dress is ultra flattering and comfortable. It comes in black, taupe, a floral print, and a soft blue. The dress is made with our custom-made super-silky SUPESU Satin. It also comes in a mini length in black and taupe.

Our Eden Slip Dress is a stunning midi slip has subtle slits on the sides and a beautiful cowl neck design. This casual design is ideal for everyday wear with a pair of sandals and simple jewelry, or, with a pair of delicate heels and drop earrings, take it out to your next wedding or birthday dinner.