In the late 1950s, the French called it the trapeze, in the 1960s the Americans called it the tent, your Mom may have called it a muu-muu, whatever, it's baaaaaaaaack. The billowy dress, fitted at the shoulder and straight down and out from there.
According to Fashion-Era:
"The Trapeze dress was a swinging dress almost triangular in shape and designed to be worn with low shoes and bouffant hairstyles. Over the years it too was modified into the short baby doll tent style making the 60's version. A shaped Tent dresses with cutaway armholes were an alternative look of the sixties."
This dress the dream of every pregnant woman and perfect for hot summer days and nights. It's also totally without sex appeal, unless it's worn really short, which is how it was originally worn, with tights or panties, not a thong, otherwise the wearer can kiss her dignity good-bye at the first gust of wind.
And you can be pretty darn sure that if Diane von Furstenberg is wearing a trapeze this week, Mrs. Jones will be wearing one next Spring.
Both of the dresses pictured here are DVF, but were multple trapeze dresses in most of the collections, many plainly referencing the 60s. The pink, white and orange DVF looks like it came out of a time-capsule from 1966.
There are always lots of vintage trapeze/tent dress patterns on e-bay. The Simplicity pattern pictured here is from Macojero's Sewing Patterns and she's got more, featuring tents that are little more than A-frames to tents full enough to hold the Ringling Bros. circus. I think older and larger women who want to test drive a tent dress should probably stick to a more tailored versions, to avoid those "when's the baby due," questions. And we don't want anyone to look like she's wearing a tent dress because she has no alternative. Otherwise I think we should all loosen our waistbands and enjoy!