Many moons ago, with braces on my teeth and freckles on my nose, I caught the Seattle grunge bug — pretty hard! Still too young to drive, my best friend and I spent hours in my bedroom memorizing the lyrics to the entire Pearl Jam “Ten” album, and the revolutionary sounds of Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden were favorites as well. It’s true that this music defined a generation — mine! My family couldn’t quite understand my desire to stalk Gadzooks in the mall for their new shipment of Doc Martens, while I not-so-patiently waited for my size to arrive. When I finally got my coveted pair, I tried them on with everything in my closet. Some of my favorite looks included the OG 90’s version of “boyfriend jeans” (Levi’s 501’s in a size or two larger) with a bodysuit (of course) and a flannel (natch), cut off Levi’s with a crochet sweater, and of course the ubiquitous 90210-inspired baby doll dress. My favorite was white with a small clock pattern all over. That dress was so rad – I wanted to wear it everywhere! I was thrilled to be featured in our school newspaper “The Eagle Beat” wearing the clock dress with my Doc Martens for a feature on fashion of the times. (The other outfits included Cross Colours, Girbaud jeans, and Justin Ropers – a truly on-point cross section of the grunge scene, hip hop culture, label-conscious preps, and Garth Brooks wannabe cowboys that made up our school! Not one to be pigeonholed, however, I did cross over quite a bit…I totally wore my Cole Haan loafers with striped Hilfiger shirts, khaki shorts, and a weave belt with regularity that same year!)
The recent resurgence of the baby doll dress is a win-win for all ladies. This style exudes an effortless vibe with its forgiving silhouette and draped ease. Club Monaco nailed it with this version, and I know this is a dress I will wear over and over. Maybe not with Doc Martens, but definitely with my favorite booties! And since fall weather remains elusive in Houston, a great gladiator sandal is another option for styling and is the perfect transition footwear, giving this dress an updated look. Truthfully, I won’t rule out throwing a flannel over my shoulders! Now if I can just figure out the words to “Yellow Ledbetter”…
The updated baby doll dresses fit slightly closer to the body, making them appear a little less maternity than the 90s versions. I do, however, think this would be a great style for mamas-to-be or new moms in that awkward to fit stage! So many designers have embraced this look; a few of my favorites include these pretty jewel-toned numbers by Alice & Olivia and Rebecca Taylor and these harvest-inspired dresses by Topshop and Vince Camuto.
I would be remiss to wrap up this post without discussing everyone’s favorite fall footwear — the bootie! I’ve been a fan of ankle boots for many years now and have accumulated several pairs in various styles, from a flat, suede everyday pair to several heeled pairs (including the Rag & Bone Margot bootie worn here) and my favorite buckled moto bootie. They are definitely what I reach for the second the weather turns ever so slightly cooler. The options are endless when it comes to booties, but I have narrowed down the choices and linked several of my favorites below. Don’t forget the classic Doc Marten combat bootie — Brenda, Kelly, and Donna will be so proud!
//OUTFIT 1// Booties: Rag & Bone (all black Rag & Bone, less expensive and super cute similar booties by Sole Society and Vince Camuto, and I love the studded detail on this pair by Frye and the Western vibe of this Joie pair) | Bag: Chanel (similar and less expensive option by Rebecca Minkoff) | Cuff: Free People, no longer available (similar bangle stack by Amrita Singh) | Ring: similar by Erin Wasson and James Avery | Sunglasses: Ray Ban Wayfarers
//OUTFIT 2// Gladiator sandals: Aldo (also love this more understated pair by Steve Madden) | Clutch: J. Crew, sold out (similar by Clare V. and Steve Madden ) | Hat: J. Crew | Necklace: similar style here | Python cuff: similar by Kenneth Jay Lane | Sunglasses: Ray Ban Aviators