Style trend: Dresses get shirty

Supremely simple and eternally chic, the classic shirt dress has had a summer reinvention

  • Leelee Sobieski, Ashley Madekwe and Kate Bosworth
    From left: Leelee Sobieski, Ashley Madekwe and Kate Bosworth rocking shirt dresses.Image Credit: Getty Images
  • Leelee Sobieski, Ashley Madekwe and Kate Bosworth
    From left: Pastel New Look, Dh219 Cutaway sleeve, Dh240 Chevron stripe Oasis, DhImage Credit: Supplied pictures

The shirt dress. Smart, yes. Classic, absolutely. Exciting? Umm, not really. At least it wasn’t, until now.

This summer has seen the traditional shirt dress reinvented, making the most basic of summer frocks really rather desirable, and sticking it well and truly back on the hip girl’s fashion radar.

As seen on the catwalks of Christian Siriano, Doo Ri, House Of Holland, Proenza Schouler and, most notably, Jil Sander (1), the new season shirt dress is an essential summer buy and Hollywood are totally hot under the collar for it.

With everything from crisp cottons to sultry, see-through fabrics making this timeless staple a wear-anywhere choice, day or night (2), easy summer dressing just got even simpler.

Fresh, chic and effortless to wear, whether you go for classic safari style, à la Kate B, bohemian, or silky and sizzling (see Ashley), think of your shirt dress as the ultimate blank canvas waiting to be adorned (3).


(1) Jil Sander’s Grace Kelly-esque full-length shirt dress is an inspired red carpet choice for modern fashionistas like Leelee Sobieski – even though it was designed to be worn as a wedding dress.

(2) Neutral, paint box-bright, boudoir-esque or bold and printed, the A-list are showing plenty of love for the updated classic. Our fave? Ashley Madekwe’s egg-yolk yellow sleeveless number.

(3) A basic shirt dress can be amped up in seconds – just add a fab belt, hot heels and a great bag. Undo the top buttons and it’s instantly evening-appropriate.

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