WHAT IS … SHIRTWAIST DRESS
STYLE NOTES: The shirtwaist dress gained popularity in the ’30s and ’40s, designed to incorporate the popular button down shirt of a man into a women’s dress. It was a popular trend for wives with families looking for the function of a men’s shirt that still had feminine flair.
The shirtwaist dress has been revived and revitalized numerous times in style history, taking on tunic form and worn with leggings and boots, or remaining straight and narrow as a shirt dress “shift” dress. It’s now considered as classic as the wrap dress.
HOW TO WEAR: While the shirtwaist dress is a functionally stylish addition to anyone’s wardrobe, it can leave you looking more “housewife” than “hot.”
Modernize by opting for solid brights (like bright pink or canary yellow) over gingham checks or floral. For spring, avoid the classic plaid shirt dress, which even when made from light cotton and not flannel, is a fall/winter appropriate pattern.
Wear a complementary color tank underneath, open the shirt buttons and allow for a pop of color below.
Funk it up with cowboy boots and bare legs. If the waist is missing an accessory (like the modern version, right) add a super-wide (2 inches plus) contrasting belt to further emphasize your waist. Try bright green with bright pink or darker colors like royal purple or navy with canary yellow.
WHO SHOULD WEAR: The girl who wants to throw on a dress and walk out the door, fun & fancy free. Like it’s original intention, the shirtwaist dress with an A-line skirt is a body-flattering style on anyone that is functional for everyday while still fun enough to call “girlie.”
Avoiding prints,checks & plaid maintains solid style sense — opt for the season’s bright trend instead to dress for a modern, marvelous you.