It’s a shirt, it’s a dress . . . It’s a shirt dress!

Spring is in full swing, and if there’s one outfit that you have GOT to add to your closet right now, it’s the shirt dress. Why? In short, it’s a classic, versatile piece, that transitions easily through the seasons. Wear it with your rain boots today, then style it up with some wedges come summer.

Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about this effortless year-round look, including how to shop the style on sale.

What is a shirt dress?

A women’s shirt dress is essentially a long, button-down, collared shirt worn as a dress. The classic shirt dress features buttons and a collar, but there are many variations on today’s styles, including the t-shirt dress.


Where did the style come from?

Inspired by menswear, the shirt dress was a product of World War II because of its utilitarian function as an everyday dress manufactured from readily available and practical fabrics. When they became popular as a fashion statement in the 1950s, they were called “shirtwaist” dresses, and featured more feminine detailing, such as tailored waists and full skirts. Christian Dior pioneered the style in his “New Look” collection, and the dress became iconic thanks to TV shows like The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet and The Donna Reed Show.

Where is it appropriate to sport this silhouette?

A shirt dress is appropriate in casual, professional, and informal social settings. There are a variety of styles to choose from, including loose and flowy dresses in cozy and comfortable fabrics, as well as tailored, polished dresses in crisp fabrics. Shirt dresses come in sleeveless, short sleeved, and long sleeved varieties. Some are belted, while others hang straight, or have a cinched waist. While most styles hit just above the knee, you can find them in longer midi or maxi lengths.

How should the dress be styled?

A casual shirt dress in a soft chambray or cozy slub cotton pairs well with flats and a hobo bag. For a more professional look, try a classic tailored or belted shirt dress and style it with pumps or wedges and a satchel. This look is ideal for year-round wear. Try a plaid print dress with boots in fall or winter, and switch to a floral or striped dress with sandals in the spring and summer.

Shop shirt dresses on sale from designers like BCBG,Calvin Klein,DVF,Vince,Velvet by Graham & Spencer,DKNY, andMICHAEL Michael Kors.