Age-Wise Style

This Is Why We Continue to Love the Always Versatile Shirtdress

This Is Why We Continue to Love the Always Versatile Shirtdress
Tom Wargacki/WireImage

There are few items as useful, flattering, and comfortable as a shirtdress. Currently, I have three: 1) a casual, blue-and-white striped cotton one, 2) an olive cotton-canvas safari style, and 3) a slinky, wine silk crepe-de-chine. 

I wear them to death! And a classic shirtdress never goes out of style.

Mine are slightly loose-fitting, which makes them great options to wear right now while the weather is still hot.  I often throw the striped one over a swimsuit, but it’s also a great everyday option for work when paired with a printed silk scarf, a shoulder bag, and a block-heel sandal. Later on, I can belt it to tunic-length and wear it with jeans and leggings, or layered under a sleeveless jacket or long cardigan sweater.

The safari number is in a dirt-defying color and does double-duty: belted, as a dress, or, unbelted, as a light-weight coat over separates. It has a sash made of the same fabric, but I like to change it up by adding a chunky brown leather belt with a gold buckle and grommets.

The burgundy silk one is a bit dressier and looks polished for day with sling-backs and a structured shoulder bag—but it also dresses up beautifully for evening, when worn, collar open, with a fine gold lariat necklace, a strappy sandal, and a small-ish clutch. In the fall months, I sometimes pair it with knee-high boots and a fur vest for a slightly '70s vibe.

This is the perfect time of year to shop for a shirtdress. Some from spring/summer collections are on sale at a deep discount and new ones are arriving for early fall deliveries. They are currently available in an array of colors and patterns and at a wide range of prices. So do yourself a favor and grab one while you can—and check back with me in a couple of years when you calculate the cost-per-wear ratio. I guarantee you, it’s money well spent.

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