All Hail The Butt-Shelf Dress

We dubbed it “The Butt Shelf” dress when we first saw it this past March on the Sacai runways, and while some among us were dubious, others (it was me, hello!) were stoked that this trend might catch on. You see — I love my butt. It is not particularly big or round, and definitely would not inspire any song to be written in its honor, but it is a body part I love to highlight whenever I get the chance. And especially during the dog days of summer when my tuchus is typically covered by an airy sack dress or floaty culottes, it misses the attention.

In the four months since the Sacai show, the sack dress has trickled into both fast-fashion retailers and designer collections (and, yes, a version of that Sacai dress is currently for sale too). It's a dress shape that is rooted in history. The dropped-waist silhouette has been around since ladies first put on fancy dresses. Cinched bustles were an Edwardian staple, and loose slips with a drop waist were a flapper favorite. And you couldn’t go to an ’80s high school dance without bumping into a slightly shiny, drop-waisted taffeta concoction. But the butt-shelf dress is slightly different because it’s a shape suited for casual frocks. Extreme drop waists have long been a fancy-occasion-only shape, and the looser, flowier, butt-shelf dress looks best when paired with flat sandals and a cold beer.

Some of these butt-shelf dresses are contained solely in the back, with a band, ribbon, or ruching cradling your bum like a little hug. Some of these go all the way around, looking somewhat like a flute skirt in shape, but much less severe. And some are just a regular drop-waist dress that’s a little longer than normal — and gives your posterior a little spotlight.

Why butt shelf? Well, that extra stitching hugs the bottom of your bottom, so it literally feels like you’re placing your rear onto a ledge made just for it. It’s a little cup of love — a brassiere for your derriere. A word of warning, though: If you have a flatter rear, a butt-shelf shape might wind up making your posterior look more pancake than popover, but if you pick a stiffer material with substantial ruching (a.k.a. the original Sacai shirtdress), you can easily fake a healthy bubble butt.

Remember this silhouette, ladies. Go forth, and back it up.


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