The Baby Doll Dress, also known as Short nightgown is a creation of the super-short nightgowns which came to the bright mind of American lingerie designer, Sylvia Pedlar, who produced them in 1942 in response to fabric shortages during World War II.
Her design became known as "baby dolls". A baby doll is a short, sometimes sleeveless, loose-fitting nightgown or negligee intended as nightwear for women. It sometimes has formed cups called a briolette for cleavage with an attached, loose-fitting skirt falling in length usually between the upper thigh and the belly button. The garment is often trimmed with lace , ruffles, appliques , marabou , bows, and ribbons, optionally with spaghetti straps . Sometimes it is made of sheer or translucent fabric such as nylon or chiffon or silk.
It is now an eroticized item of adult apparel, often classified as a form of lingerie .
Adult baby dolls are quite different from the infant baby dolls; they fully expose the woman's legs, and some styles emphasize or deliberately expose the breasts as well.
The gown is often sold as a set with matching panties , as a typical baby doll is short enough that underwear is visible if worn. Styles of the same general length but not intended to emphasize sex appeal are sometimes called shortie nightgowns.