The Milkmaid Dress Is The Ultimate Summer Staple

By Charlie Colville

2 months ago

Cottagecore gets an ultra-feminine twist this season

Despite the clouds hovering over the UK right now, we’re busy thinking about those sunny summer days – and what we’ll be wearing on them. Word on the street is that the milkmaid dress is going to be this season’s hot pick, and the internet is in hard agreement.

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Milkmaid Summer: The Dress Of The Season Is Here

Sundress season is upon us – but before you reach for your usual ginghams, puff sleeves and maxis, you should know about the latest design the style set have latched onto: the milkmaid dress.

@nataliachamova manifesting spring weather asap with the most gorgeous dress 💛✨🐇🧺 #springdress #girlyoutfit #corsetdress #cottagecore #milkmaiddress #floraldress #pinterestinspired #houseofcb ♬ Lady Love (From “Il Medico della mutua”) – Piero Piccioni

Characterised by its fitted, corset-style bodice, dainty smocked bust and flowing skirt, the milkmaid dress harks back to the traditional peasant-style gowns worn by milkmaids in the countryside. With its vintage aesthetic, you could say it fits somewhere between the realms of cottagecore and coquette; think romantic florals and pretty bows offset by feminine (yet quietly provocative) silhouettes.

And just like the jelly sandals movement, the milkmaid dress is yet another fashion trend that was given its wings on the internet. (And, when thinking about its cottagecore roots, it’s no wonder.) Google recently reported a 330 percent increase in searches for milkmaid dresses on TikTok – where there are currently over 121 million posts on TikTok tagged under #milkmaiddress – and a number of celebrities, including Hunter Schafer and Bella Hadid, have gone viral for their styling takes.

@blakeevinn i usually hate my b0000bz and this dress made me love them!!!!! #reformation #reformationdress #summeroutfits ♬ original sound – blake evin

Our favourite brand to take on the trend so far is Reformation, which offers a contemporary take on milkmaid dress (sans sleeves; sorry puff-lovers) with an emphasis on sleek, minimal design. Perfect for dressing from day to night, we can see why the internet is currently obsessed – and how this will surely become the dress of summer 2024.

How To Style It

Classic Cottagecore

The OG milkmaid keeps it simple. If you want to let your dress do the talking, opt for minimal additions such as flats or sandals (preferably within a close-knit colour palette), dainty jewellery and maybe a ribbon in your hair. If it’s cottagecore- or coquette-adjacent, then you’re likely onto a winner.

City Style

Is this wrong shoe theory in action? Probably. For city-dwellers cautious about getting their toes out amongst throngs of people (or, god forbid, on the tube), teaming up your milkmaid dress with a heavy pair of boots or trainers gives you a covered up styling alternative. The contrast of girliness and urban roughness also give a little more depth – making the outfit a little more playful and interesting to look at.

Dressed Up Heels


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A post shared by Hunter (@hunterschafer)

If you don’t have time for a full wardrobe change, don’t worry; your milkmaid ensemble will work just as well night as it does during the day. The key change? A pair of heels. These will (quite literally) elevate your outfit and take it from afternoon walk to evening red carpet. And if it’s good enough for Hunter, it’s good enough for us.

The Reformation Milkmaid Dress

Woman in red milkmaid dress


Red Balia Linen Dress, £298

Woman in white milkmaid dress


White Balia Linen Dress, £298


Long Milkmaid Dresses

Floral dress

House Of CB

Carmen Sleeveless Midi Dress, £149

Blue dress


Bess Sky Blue Tulip Maxi Dress, £225

Woman in white gown

Free People

Hansen & Gretel Tulsa Maxi Dress, £432

Woman in summer clothes

Nobody's Child

Rose Print Genevieve Bardot Dress, £69

Patterned dress


Iris Cotton Midi Dress, £275

Puff sleeve dress


Floral Ischia Midi Dress, £295


Mini Milkmaid Dresses

Pink milkmaid mini dress

House Of CB

Carlotta Square-Neck Mini Dress, £149

Check dress


Seersucker Check Mini Layer Dress, £235

Orange mini


Field Pansy Dress (Size UK6), rent from £18

Woman in summer clothes

Farm Rio

Off-White Bloom Garden Mini Dress, £260


Featured image: Reformation