What is it about the shirt dress that is so appealing? Is it because the image of a woman wearing a men’s shirt conjures postcoital images? After all, doesn’t the emergence of a woman wearing a shirt belonging to her male partner from a bedroom indicate an omitted sex scene? Was it Jane Fonda emerging from an interrupted six days from a suite at the Plaza Hotel in “Barefoot in the Park” that made the style so desirable?
A “shirtdress” is a dress which borrows details of a man’s shirt such as a button front, collar, or cuffed sleeves. Because they are usually but without a seam at the waist, they often rely on a belt for definition. However, when it comes to accessorizing a shirtwaist, there are vast options for additions.
History of the Shirt Dress
Shirtdresses became fashionable in the 1950’s when Christian Dior launched his “New Look” line of couture designs. These early versions featured a full skirt supported by a crinoline. They were often characterized by a notched collar and elbow length cuffed sleeves. The T-shirt dress is a variation on the original shirtdress and first gained popularity in the 1960’s.
Accessories for the Shirt Dress
The greatest accessory for emphasizing the female waist, the belt is a crucial component in shirtdress fashion. Belts are available in chain, ribbon, beaded, or leather styles and complement a multitude of outfits. They are especially important in completing the look of a shirtdress because, in many cases, they are the only way to define the waist as most shirt dresses feature no seam at the waistline. Consider a bow belt for an ultra feminine look.
Hats, fascinators, shoes, and bags. They can change your look from day to night. Whether you choose a baseball cap or elaborate fascinator, sneakers or stiletto pumps, a shirtdress can take them all on. You can use a shirtdress as a light jacket in the summer over a pretty summer dress, Keep it fun and casual with high top sneakers and incorporate feminine accessories to remain stylish.
There are several options when it comes to layering your shirtdress. You can keep it open and add an underskirt that hits right above or below the hemline to vary the fullness of the skirt. You can also use it as a jacket and experiment with proportions underneath or over. For a real head turner, consider a bustier underneath a flouncy, silky dress, adding tough rocker accessories like cowboy boots, chain belts and sunglasses.
When it comes to shirtdress style, the options are almost unlimited. Button all the way up for a preppy look or all the way down for some sexy dishevelment. Belts can be made of any materials, and suitable shoe styles are endless. When choosing the ideal shirtdress, remember less is more. Try and avoid distracting ruffles and attached belts and make sure the buttons go all the way down. Extra touches will limit the versatility of the piece.
Also, you might want to take the following into consideration:
Don’t skimp on fabric. Make sure the garment is durable and breathable and that buttons and seams are well sewn. Look for a specimen that is easy to care for and will last a long time.
Make sure your shirtdress is comfortable and not too tight. Look for simplicity in style and make sure you feel great when you put it on and can wear it with confidence.
Make sure it will work with the pieces already in your closet. You don’t want your purchase to require more purchases.
Tell us about how you accessorize your shirtdress! We want to hear about your personal style!