How To Look Chic, Not Schlubby In A Shirtdress

May 16, 2012

I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, she looks great in a shirtdress, but I would look frumpy and dumpy in it!”

Before you rule out this timeless, versatile and actually universally figure-flattering summer dress, ideal for both the office as well as weekend events, review my tried-and-true tips.

A shirtdress is simply a dress that resembles a lengthened classic button-down dress shirt. Just as with a dress shirt, fit is key. Make sure shoulders seams rest directly on your shoulder tips, plus front button placket is secure and lies flat.

Once you find your best fit, now, you can experiment with colors, prints, fabrics, special design details and, of course, accessories. These features will keep your look youthful and contemporary.

Go for silk or rayon blends, chambray, cotton, linen or tencel – these fabrics are not bulky or stiff and are super comfy.

Your ideal summer shirtdress must be versatile too. You want to be able to wear it with heels to your next biz meeting or drinks with friends after work, plus be able to throw on a pair of flat sandals and wear for Sunday brunch. But, what if you fall head-over-heels for a sleeveless shirtdress? No worries! Simply pair it with a thin-knit cardigan sweater or lightweight blazer jacket for formal work activities or when the office air has you shivering – brrr! Sleeveless can still be a versatile option.

See above for more specific shirtdress tips.

There’s more good news! Because the shirtdress is right on trend this season, stores are jam packed. You’ll be certain to find just the right one (or two) for you.

Is there any other summer clothing or accessory that you avoid wearing to the office, but would like to find a way to give it a try?

Image credit, clockwise from top left: Suzi Chin for Maggie Boutique High/Low Hem Crêpe de Chine Shirtdress $148, available at Nordstrom; Melissa Masse, Salon Z Self-Tie Belt Shirtdress $325, available at Saks Fifth Avenue; Runway, Carolina Herrera S/S 2012 via Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com via Style.com; Tory Burch Denim Bridget Dress $295, available at Saks Fifth Avenue; DKNYC Polka Dot Roll Tab Shirt Dress $119, available at Bloomingdales and Dillard’s; DKNY Jeans Plus Size Short Sleeve Drawstring Waist Shirtdress $98, available at Macy’s; Vince Camuto Short Sleeve Ruched Shirtdress $120, available at Nordstrom; Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Belted Linen Shirtdress $148, available at Nordstrom.

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