Embroidery is a long lived trend throughout history that has recently made its way back into the spotlight. Although it has been a common trait used by many more high end retailers such as Needle and Thread as well as Alice + Olivia, I have been noticing it trickling into many more affordable and ready to wear retailers such as Forever 21 and SheIn.

Since I have been admiring the gorgeous modern embroidery of those higher end retailers, I'm ecstatic to see it move to the racks, so I decided to put the style spotlight on it.

black sheer mesh peter pan collar floral embroidered top from SheIn

The History of Embroidery

Embroidery, being an art of creating ornamental designs on any woven fabric/material with a needle, has been a style more commonly worn by wealthy individuals throughout history. Appreciated as a craft, only the most talented boys were originally able to practice. Although embroidery was done in a plethora of civilizations, one that the modern embroidery seems to be focused on is Elizabethan embroidery, including stitching decorations such as flowers and butterflies (Source: Ezine Articles).

Black floral embroidery mesh insert sheer dress from New Look or AsosPracticed in Europe since roughly the Middle Ages, monarchs, nobles, and even people in religious positions could be spotted in stylish embroidered clothing or also enjoying embroidered furniture and/or decoration (Source: The Met Museum). Within the 16th and 17th century, embroidery began to be enjoyed by people of other classes as there was a larger emergence of amateur needlewomen rivaling professionals (Source: Victoria and Albert Museum).

Embroidery became more commercial by the 1800s as embroidery manufacturing businesses hit New York and a market soon formed. Joshua Heilmann's invention of the embroidery machine, the first mechanized embroidery technology, that allowed embroidered styles to become less of a luxury by making production easier (Source: startupfashion.com). Now, the embroidered trend is clearly gaining more traction, with a modern take of something old. With celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Emmy Rossum, and more sporting the style, embroidery is clearly back in style.

Black floral embroidery mesh insert sheer dress from New Look or Asos
Embroidery on sheer black mesh dress
from New Look (purchased through Asos)

Where to Get Affordable Embroidered Styles

While Needle and Thread, Free People, and even Anthropologie may have gorgeous embroidered styles, they're not necessarily cheap. Here are some retailers that I've noticed have been including lots of clothing that fit the trend that are a little more affordable.

  • Forever 21
  • SheIn
  • Zara (slightly more pricey)
  • Asos (can be pricey, depends on item)

Shop the Trend:

Here are some of my picks for trendy embroidered styles of different price ranges and also different occasions/designs that will maybe kickstart your obsession with embroidered looks just like mine!


The history of embroidery, where to get affordable clothing with the style, and more

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