A babydoll is a short, sometimes sleeveless, loose-fitting nightgown or negligee, intended as nightwear for women. It sometimes has formed cups called a bralette for cleavage with an attached, loose-fitting skirt falling in length usually between the belly button and upper thigh. The garment is often trimmed with lace, ruffles, appliques, marabou, bows, and ribbons, optionally with spaghetti straps. Sometimes it is made of sheer or translucent fabric such as nylon or chiffon or silk.
Babydolls are now considered an eroticized item of adult apparel, often classified as a form of lingerie. Adult babydolls are quite different from the infant babydolls; they fully expose the woman's legs, and some styles emphasize or deliberately expose the breasts as well. The gown is often sold as a set with matching panties, as a typical babydoll is short enough that underwear is visible if worn. Styles of the same general length but not intended to emphasize sex appeal are sometimes called shortie nightgowns.
Babydolls are available in a sufficiently wide variety of styles that many lingerie retailers consider babydolls a distinct department. Modern babydolls often vary considerably from the styles of the 1960s and 1970s. Babydoll negligees from the 1950s to the early 1980s are now collectible vintage items. Some babydolls open in front and resemble a robe or peignoir.
Short daywear dresses of a similar style are sometimes called babydoll dresses; the name is sometimes two words, baby doll, and sometimes hyphenated, baby-doll. Some styles are similar to what is worn by some infants; and by dolls designed like infants. The gown or top is short enough that diapers may be easily changed. An alternative origin for the style may be the lace-trimmed shortie bedjackets and bed-capes of the 1930s and 1940s.
In the 21st century, babydolls have become popular as bridal lingerie. They are more affordable than a bridal corset and often offer a greater choice of designs and colours.