how to wear a shirtdress now, and later

there’s a popular series on the blog called wear now wear later. last fall, i shared how to wear a pair of opens in a new windowsilk pants for both summer and fall. same with a opens in a new windowdenim sheath dress and a opens in a new windowjumpsuit. it’s great fun to add a versatile clothing item to your wardrobe. versatility is key. who doesn’t love to get a bang for your buck? nothing is more practical or comfortable than a simple shirt dress in a neutral fabric. dress it up with a pair of heels for work or dinner date. or keep it casual with a pair of boots for those off-duty days. it’s the perfect dress for both work and play. even better when that same shirtdress can span the seasons. today, i’ll show you how to wear a shirtdress now, and later. on second thought, you’ll have to wait for spring for the later version… it’s downright cold this month.

a shirtdress got its name from how it combined a shirt with a skirt into one dress. genius! shirtdresses leaped into popularity in 1947 when Christian Dior launched the “New Look,” which was a feminine variation of a man’s shirt. the shirtdress became so popular in the 1950s that it turned into an iconic look. who remembers television shows of that era like Donna Reed or Father Knows Best, where the stars regularly wore shirtdresses? back then, shirtdresses consisted of a full skirt lined with crinoline attached to a fitted bodice. lucky for us, the shirtdress slowly evolved as women began to discard crinoline in favor of a more relaxed look.

how to wear a shirtdress now, and later

shirtdresses are typically cut without a seam at the waist, relying on a self-tie belt to define the waist. but i love to exchange the self-tie belt for a leather belt. belts are a fantastic accessory that lasts for years and infuses personality into an outfit. whenever i shop, i always head to the belt department to see if anything catches my eye. opens in a new windowRalph Lauren is by far my favorite designer for belts, but they can be pricey.

so how to wear a shirtdress now, and later? for winter, layering is key. but you don’t want the layers to be too bulky. that’s when a tissue turtleneck comes in handy. opens in a new windowJ.Crew makes tissue tees and turtlenecks, and i’m a big fan of both. today, i spotted a opens in a new windowleopard tissue turtleneck that goes beautifully with this opens in a new windowneutral shirtdress from opens in a new window Banana Republic. suede boots (old, similar opens in a new window here and opens in a new windowhere) and a leather belt (old, similar opens in a new window here and opens in a new windowhere) add texture and dimension to this ootd. last but not least, i chose a classic handbag for a polished and sophisticated look.

opens in a new windowshirtdress | opens in a new window tissue turtleneck | opens in a new windowsimilar belt | opens in a new windowsimilar boots

 

 

opens in a new windowshirtdress | opens in a new window tissue turtleneck | opens in a new windowsimilar belt | opens in a new windowsimilar boots

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11 Comments

  1. Ruth curtis wrote:

    Is a tissue turtlenect the same as what i once called a dickie? where do you find them…. ?

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
    • no a dickie isn’t the same as a tissue turtleneck. and the tissue turtleneck is linked in the post.

      Posted 1.11.21Reply
  2. Teresa wrote:

    Beth, I adore you, your style, and your blog! I look forward to seeing your blog everyday! You are so beautiful, elegant and stylish! Your blog on grief has helped me as well as my 94 year mother has gone through serious medical challenges the past seven months. She currently is going through two painful fractures to her low back. My brother and I are caring for her as she was dismissed from the hospital two days ago. I’m in the “pre-grieving” process as I see her decline. Anyway, through these months you and your blog have brought me joy. Keep up the wonderful work. I live in KS so not far from your roots😊

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
    • it so hard to see our loved ones decline physically. but it’s always one day at a time so take time to enjoy your mother just as you have for all those years she’s been in your life. take good care of yourself and your mom. xo

      Posted 1.11.21Reply
      • Teresa wrote:

        Thank you so much!

        Posted 1.11.21Reply
  3. Carol Khoury wrote:

    Dior’s “new look” is a far cry from today’s shirtdress look with his emphasis on uber femininity and structure!! I think the look might go back to the “shirtwaists” of the ’90s that featured the button down top and the long skirt. One of the common factors between the two looks is the ultra slim waist that the fashion showcased. Thank goodness that time marches on and we have a much more fluid shirtdress that is forgiving and relaxed!

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
  4. New to your site and just love it. I love your classic chic style. These clothes and ideas are items I would wear. So my
    style. Love the shirtdress outfit. Looking
    forward to seeing your other blogs..

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
  5. Klandi wrote:

    Love this look and the whole idea behind the post. I often do that with outfits – I ‘winterize’ them boots, tights, turtlenecks, etc. then ‘summerize’ them with lighter weight shoes/sandals, lighter weight accessories. It makes your wardrobevvll
    In
    L
    Go
    Pl

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
  6. Andrea wrote:

    Caramel 💝. I am definitely going to get some. Never thought of wearing it with beige as I thought it would just be insipid – I was sooo wrong.

    I like Klandi’s idea of all season for the shirt dress. I have such a high waist, I’m not fond of them closed, but love wearing them as an open duster over a monochromatic outfit, with skinny pants and kitten heels or booties. Never thought to wear them in the winter but genius idea. Thanks to both of you. 🌷

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
  7. Pam wrote:

    Hi Beth,
    Love a great shirtdress so it didn’t take me long to order this one and the tissue turtleneck. Such a beautiful, versatile outfit. Thank you!

    Posted 1.11.21Reply
  8. Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

    Oh, Beth, those moms on “Father Knows Best,” and, “The Donna Reed Show” impressed me so much as a kid in their shirtwaist dresses. I just knew someday I wanted to grow up and run my house wearing shirtwaists! Fond memories. Welcome to the new blog sisters! Lovely family of ladies with like interests you’ve bloomed, Beth. On the subject of belts, they do help remind our waistline that there are boundaries! Years ago I wore belts. Time to go back to the future!~

    Posted 1.12.21Reply
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