I recently turned 30 years old. While I don’t consider it a milestone of modern adulthood, I did start questioning what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my life. Sure, anyone can do whatever they want, but why am I out past 3AM on a Friday night when I have an early morning trip to Home Depot to complete? Which probiotic should I switch to? Are linen bedspreads better than 1000 count thread? And the ultimate question: Should I stop shopping at Brandy Melville? But none of these daunting challenges have made me question my mortality quite like Prince Archie’s christening.
When I first saw the royal portrait, Archie sitting plump in Meghan Markle’s lap wearing an itchy dress with a chic cathedral train, I was hit with two conflicting thoughts: 1) I wonder who made his dress; and 2) Why am I coveting a newborn’s outfit?
I am a grown woman: I no longer ask my dad to do my taxes, the best decision of my life was switching from dairy to oat milk, and I have a 401k (I think). I aged out of baby dresses when I stopped being a baby, but here I am, longing for a baptism dress at the age of 30.
The rise of the trend can be traced back to Copenhagen-based designer Cecilie Bahnsen, who launched her label in 2015. Her feminine aesthetic projects a Parisienne luxury plopped in the middle of the Dutch countryside, which made her a LVMH Prize finalist in 2017. Street style stars wore her designs in droves, and the trend was christened. Since then, indie designers emerged from the holy waters and followed the baptism suit. Now there’s Instagram-famous Maison Cleo, a mother-daughter duo from France wh0se fans include Emily Ratajkowski. The brand churns out an exclusive edit of thirty handmade pieces a week, which means you have to act fast before their empire waist frocks sell out. For a wallet-friendly option, look to AVAVAV. The emerging brand merges a Scandinavian aesthetic with Italian craftsmanship, resulting in bulbous, high-collared dresses fit for an infant duchess.
The christening dress du jour is a referential mashup: it’s not the hypersexualized lampshading of Ariana Grande, nor is it a gauzy tent dress you wear on vacation. The dress’s puffy shoulders are reminiscent of ’80s styles we saw on the runway, but with a voluminous bodice that belongs to the 1800s. It’s toddler couture. The look is Victorian ghost, excessively trimmed in ruffles and lace like you raided a JoAnn Fabrics.
If you, too, have lost interest in your once-manic fixation on prairie dresses, it’s time to level up. Baptism minis are a much more forgiving fit—it’s a baby dress you could technically wear pregnant—and the trend is only getting more popular. Join the cult now, because Midsommar could never.