Fishtail Dress Is Back!

A wide range of fishtail dresses
A wide range of fishtail dresses

Fashion may be best described as a popular style or the latest trend particularly in clothing and accessories.

Unlike fads, fashion tends to grow slowly, remain popular for a while and then decline slowly. Think, for example, of the more formal “business attire” look of corporate dress of the 1980s and 1990s which gave way to the “business casual” look of today.

Fashion rave from the past

The fishtail dress is a garment with a flowing, curved hem that is longer in the back than in the front. These dresses, for the most part, have fitted waist and bodice to exaggerate the flared hem. In general, they are formal and “flooral” in length.

This style of garment has existed for centuries, especially in the Victorian era, when the popular wear were dresses with long, flowing trains.

During the 19th century, the fishtail dress was the popular trend in the mid-1870s and it later returned in the early 1880s. Fast forward to the 20th century, it became the preferred outfit for women’s formal gown particularly in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

A Hollywood main stay

Today, Hollywood red carpet events have skyrocketed the popularity of these dresses and made them the dresses of choice for women attending formal functions such as weddings, cocktail parties, and ballroom events.

They are regarded as a perennial favorite for special occasions because their trains exhibit visual impact and interest. Moreover, the fitted bodice and nipped-in waist are flattering to women of a wide variety of figures and body types.

Fashion experts have posited the view that a simple elegant satin or charmeuse fabric with texture, depth, and a touch of shimmer is best suited for the fishtail dress style.


The design of these dresses covers a wide range of different categories, colors, and styles. They include the vintage 1920s flapper, bridal wedding, lace, mermaid, vintage skirt, mini and babydoll styles among many others.

The skirt style has been given a variety of names by designers and the press, including asymmetrical and waterfall. It has also been derisively referred to as the “mullet skirt” by one British newspaper.

The price also varies, ranging from a low of $20 to a high of over $1000 depending on the style and fabric.

So, for that stunning, gorgeous, and elegant look, one can expect to see more ladies decking out in their fishtail outfit this fashion season and even more so as there is a degree of “playfulness” in some designs which makes them fashionable for casual wear.

Carol Greene, Readers Bureau, Fellow