Wardrobe staple: the versatile shirt dress
Shirt dresses first became popular in 1950s, with Dior’s post world war II New Look. The shirt dress had a defined silhouette that included full skirts and cinched-in waists, notched collars and elbow length sleeves with cuffs.
Creating an impression of a lengthened shirt that can be loose or tied in at the waist with a belt, the simplistic shirt dress style constitutes a staple wardrobe basic. We look at how this versatile fashion basic can be worn in many variations.
1. Distinctive features – collars, cuffs and pockets define the shirt dress. A neutral shade dress paired with a tan belt and some accessories that add the shine to lift the combination. Wear this in the day for casual meetings or to run errands. The soft fabric creates a drape that is comfortable and easy.
2. Known as shirtwaister, the shirt dress with a separate bodice and skirt was made popular by Doris Day and still remain a popular choice for pretty and feminine looks . Seen on Eva Mendes, a feminine version with a flowing skirt and a belt to create shape. The polka dots add dimension to the pretty look. Change the mood with bolder prints, patterns and lengths.
3. Safari style shirt dress is a version that transcends trend. Made in natural fabrics like cotton, twill, khaki or linen this style is suitable for tropical climates and is reminiscent of summer holidays.
4. Just as shirt dress styles draw inspiration from several sources like safari, uniform, western, the fabrics that these can be made in is just as diverse. Tailored in silk, this style can be adapted for formal evening wear to convey a simple yet chic style that can be dressed up or down with the help of some accessories.
5. The formal version of a man’s shirt defines the tuxedo shirt dress. The structured drape suggests formality. Piping details, metal buttons, detachable collars, wide lapels and cuff links are embellishments that make for a bold version.
Here are some other variations of shirt dresses that you might want to add to your wardrobe collection:
Our image consultant’s tip: For a trendy variation, shirt dresses that have a wide silhouette and no belts, look best when at knee length or slightly above.