4 Aug 2020

The Shirtdress: How To Wear It

How To Wear The Shirtdress on vickiarcher.comHow To Wear The Shirtdress on vickiarcher.com


































The shirtdress has been around forever and it is the one dress to wear right now.

The shirtdress is one of those dresses that work with so much, goes anywhere and saves the day when the what-to-wear indecision or it’s-too-hot-for-anything-else sets in. I have been having a few of these days recently and I have been searching through my dresses for something new and different to wear. I love my cargo pants/blouses, midi skirt/tee “uniform” but I am happy for a new repertoire to enter the wardrobe.

The shirtdress is it.

Here is the trick,

I don’t think we need to spend a fortune on a good shirtdress as there are plenty available that look fabulous and will do the same job as many of their expensive counterparts. Let’s save our powder for an accessory or two.

How do you wear the shirtdress?

Whether to wear straight or full, whether to wear belted or not depends a lot on shape and size.

I like both styles but generally, steer away from a belt as I feel it cuts me in two. I am short-waisted so that’s my reasoning. If you are fortunate enough to have a long torso then believe in a good belt, it can be a magical accessory. Remember Diane Keaton in, Because I Said So? She was the master of the shirtdress and wide belt and in true Keaton form, she rocked it.

Flats and sneakers look right with the shirtdress.

Mules are still top of my list and my sneakers never get a break. Mules look super cute with the shirtdress and the style elongates the leg and refines the ankle. Loafers don’t work as well for me with this style of dress, although the fuller the skirt the better they look. Ballet flats or pointed toes work beautifully and let’s not forget the kitten heel.

Some layer the shirtdress over pants.

I am too short but if you are tall, it’s a great look. What I do layer is a shorter style coat, not so much the blazer style. The duster jacket and 3/4 style coat are good layering options. Layers, like belts, need consideration.

After so many fashion forays I pretty much know what I can and can’t get away with and when I go against the grain I am usually caught out. xv

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images, Helena Christensen Elle France July 1989, Steevie van der Veen Marie Claire Italia March 1989 

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Jacki F.

Vicki: LOVE your photography. Always transports me to the land of the lovely! I know you have mentioned several times that you are “short” and I was wondering how “tall” you are when you say that. I feel like these shirt-dresses would overwhelm my petite frame @5’1″, though I do love the “Loveshack Fancy Edie”. Summer where I live means humidity and high 90’s (F) so I have found simple linen dresses to be the coolest– dressed up or down with shoes & accessories.


I’m 5’5 Jacki so medium height I guess but compared to everyone else in my family I am “short” ;) The Loveshack is a great style if you are less tall … and it’s a very pretty shape, I think… That kind of shape suits me to… and the straighter ones I love worn simply with cute shoes and some fun earrings or a cross body bag..


I’ve just discovered the joy of the shirtdress this summer which is, as you say, perfect. I now own two and they won’t be my last. I’ve worn them belted, unbelted and worn open over pants, they all work for me. I did need to lob several inches off one of them to make it work over pants.
They feel so prefect for summer that I’m now on the hunt for some cool weather options.
Let us know if you find some beauties!


Yes, I would love some winter fabric styles and especially with a wider skirt and cinched in waist… I’m not ready to face the winter yet!!

Sharon E

Just a few days ago, my seven year old granddaughter a/k/a Fashionista, told me that her favorite clothing was the dress. “I love dresses! I wear them all the time. Only they don’t cut it for hiking.”

There you have it – the younger generation’s comments on timeless dresses.


Good afternoon dear Vicki!

Another winner for me, as I navigate my new roles: housewife, writer, photographer, basically, staying at home. I want to be in style, however, and this is another style that you are reminding of that is comfortable and beautiful. I hope you are well and are you home from Portugal? I bet you saw some lovely things while there!


Nothing more comfortable during hot weather…linen ones for Greece or the South of France and crisp cotton for Oz! Also love a little espadrille with them…
Fashion does the full circle doesn’t it? I was wearing these in the 70’s …a wardrobe must!

Michelle à Détroit

I bought a navy, mid calf length cotton poplin shirtdress a couple of years ago. It has quite a full skirt. I do feel very put together when I wear it. I love the style. Honestly, though, I’ve forgotten half of what’s in my closet. I didn’t bother to take out a lot of my summer things this year.


I have just done my wardrobe and been ruthless (well kind of) with my edit :) Took me until now though…


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