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New Style of Camisole Reigns Supreme This Summer (August 2, 2005)

Wearing an empire babydoll in a layered look.
Just in time for the hottest days of summer, a new style of skin-baring camisole known as the empire babydoll has caught the imagination of Japanese women. This style of top is characterized by decoration above the chest and a silhouette that flares gently to a softly fluttering hemline. Women of all ages have noticed that empire babydoll camisoles are at once cute, figure-flattering, and comfortable and have latched onto this versatile style. Anticipating that these tops have the potential to become a year-round staple, manufacturers and retailers are already beginning to offer fall and winter versions.

Both Cute and Sexy
The empire babydoll, which has gained instant status as a summer fashion essential, combines two styles: the low-cut, high-waisted Empire style that was popular in France during the Napoleonic era (early nineteenth century) and the babydoll, a negligee that flares gently from above the waist.

Popular fabrics for empire babydolls include lightweight, soft satiny rayons and chiffons, which flutter gently when the wearer moves. The most popular designs stress either cuteness, with ribbons tied around the area below the chest and frills and lace above, or glamour, with sequins and pearls. In keeping with the layered look that has been popular for the past few years, some empire babydolls are decorated above the chest with fabric of a different style or texture. Higher-end empire babydoll camisoles sell for around ¥10,000 ($90 at ¥110 to the dollar).

These camisoles draw the focus away from the waist.

Teenagers and women in their early twenties like to wear empire babydolls without another layer. Because the designs and fabrics are so feminine, the camisoles project a wholesome cuteness that avoids being too casual, even when paired with denim jeans or capris. Meanwhile, those in their late twenties and thirties tend to favor using empire babydolls as an inner layer, either with the short tops that are in fashion this year or with suit jackets. Because of their slightly flared shape, the tops have a nicely balanced look. Another major benefit is that they make the wearer's legs look longer by drawing the visual focus upward to the bustline. And some stylish mothers-to-be love the empire babydoll design for its stomach-concealing properties.

The empire babydoll appears set to reign through the fall and winter. Manufacturers have positioned the camisoles as a year-round fashion item and are already selling fall and winter versions. In contrast to their lightweight, showy summer cousins, the empire babydolls for fall and winter will project a more classic, dignified air. Velvet and other heavier fabrics are expected to be popular during the cooler seasons.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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