Princess Cut Dress

Since there are a couple of days left in the month, here are a few more styles that deserve mentioning…


How to say it:  prin-ses kuht dres 

Traditional Features: 

Princess Cut Dress


  • fitted through the bodice and waist
  • traditionally has a flared skirt, but can also be straight
  • no waistline seam
  • divided into 6 fitted panels to provide shaping (3 on the front, 3 on the back)

21st Century Princess Dresses

The 21st century princess cut dress is just as flattering and as popular as it was in the 40s and 50s. Available in a range of fabrics and styles, the princess cut can be found on all sorts of dresses, from bridal to casual, making the flattering, simple shape an all round fashion classic

Calvin KleinKate Spade

Calvin Klein, Kate Spade

Michael KorsLove, Yu

Michael Kors, Love, Yu


…of the style: The princess cut dress is a universally flattering style that hugs and lengthens the body, and can be tailored to fit any shape or size. Traditionally, the 6 panelled dress was fitted through bodice and nipped in at the waist before flaring out to skim the hips and create an hourglass figure. The slimming style has no horizontal seams to break up the vertical lines of the garment, instead using shaping in the individual panels to engineer a perfect fit.

Despite the popularity of the princess cut dress, there is not much written about its history. The style was created by Charles Frederick Worth in the 1860s during his time as court dressmaker for Empress Eugénie of France. The style was popular in the early 1860s and again in the 1870s when the fashionable silhouette mirrored the natural female figure.

I could not find any more mention of the princess cut dress after this, however a quick image search proved that the princess cut dress was popular throughout the second half of the 20th century (particularly the 40s and 50s, when the fitted bodice and flared skirt silhouette was back in fashion), and in the new millennium the style is widely available on the fashion marketplace, particularly in bridal wear. Perhaps the style became so common place that historians decided it didn’t require mention, and other, more obvious and out-there dress trends took over their attention.

Whatever the reason for the lack of recorded history, the princess cut dress has survived the ravages of times and changing trends thanks to its flattering lines and flexibility of cut. And thanks to these attributes, it is unlikely to ever disappear from the fashion landscape.

…of the name: I could find absolutely no mention as to why the style is called the Princess Cut. Apparently the first Royal woman to wear Worth’s designs was Princess de Metternich, so maybe it is named for her?

Random Facts

  • The House of Worth designed all of Empress Eugénie’s clothing throughout the 1860s, and the clothing featured the Royal Seal on the label
  • Charles Frederick Worth is known as the “father of Haute Couture”
  • Worth is also often accredited with staging the first fashion shows – he would prepare several outfits and show them to his clients on live models in his studio. The client could then choose what they wanted and Worth would have the garments made up in their size.

What little information I could find on Princess Cut Dresses was on Fashion Era, Wise Geek and Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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