If I’ve learned anything from reporting fashion, it’s that trends come and go, and come and go, and come back again, albeit with some minor tweaks. Take the mullet dress, for example. The style initially rose to popularity in the 1980s and has floated in and out of the spotlight ever since. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the high-low silhouette is experiencing a renaissance this summer. After all, the frock does offer stellar ventilation amidst the season’s stuffy humidity.
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Of course, there’s more to the mullet dress than its idyllic airflow. While the OG mullet dress was mostly worn on red carpets, according to San Diego-based personal stylist and blogger, Vanessa Valiente, the modern-day mullet dress is much more versatile.
“The past looks were more about almond-toe pumps, simple dressy heels or flip-flops if you were doing that casual polyester high-low dress that was relatively popular ten years ago,” Valiente tells InStyle over email. “A modern mullet dress outfit is more likely to be styled with comfortable sandals, edgy open-toe heels, or killer boots.”
Getty Images Selena Gomez wearing a mullet dress in 2011.
Getty Images The updated version of the mullet fashion trend.
Though back with a casual twist, the mullet dress is still making appearances on the red carpet. Recently, Kelly Rizzo accepted the Impact Award on behalf of her late husband, Bob Saget, wearing a black ruffled mullet dress, silver heels, and matching chandelier earrings, while Amanda Seyfried also walked the 2022 TIME100 Gala red carpet in a dramatic black high-low silhouette. Jordan Dunn’s Cannes Film Festival carpet look consisted of a Barbie pink mullet dress with matching pumps and a diamond-clad necklace, and Xochitl Gomez’s mullet dress was red hot at the LA premiere of Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder.
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Getty Images/Mike Marsland Jourdan Dunn wearing a mullet dress at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Getty Images Xochitl Gomez wearing a mullet dress at the “Thor: Love and Thunder” Los Angeles premiere.
Gorgeous as these dresses were, the best interpretation of the mullet dress in 2022 thus far was spotted on Bella Hadid at the Balenciaga Fall 2022 Couture runway show in Paris. The darling gown captivated every eye in the room with its striking Christmas wrapping paper green hue and unique style. A traditional mullet dress is high in the front and low in the back. Balenciaga’s dress was the reverse. In the front, a giant bow tied at the bust and material puffed and fell over Hadid’s lap, continuing down her legs. From the back, the dress could pass for a micro-mini, and the angle also revealed the gown’s hidden pockets underneath the draping material.
So how do you go about wearing a mullet-style dress outside the confines of Hollywood? Valiente loves pairing a high-low dress with boots or kitten heels for work. For date night, the stylist envisions the silhouette with a heeled sandal and suggests gravitating towards dressy open-toe heels if you’re sporting this style of dress to a wedding.
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As for outerwear, “a jacket that hits your waistline is best and in either leather, suede, linen or trench coat material,” Valiente tells InStyle. “Last thing on this, skip the denim jacket with the high low look — that is very 2010.”