By Montana Jade Hall
You may have seen those hand-drawn silhouettes in designs alongside photographed models atop the covers of your mother’s or grandmother’s sewing patterns. The whimsical sketches spoke to the new couture styles of the 1950s and 60s–the post-war period when life shared a revival breath with the fashion industry. With this resurgence came the shirtdress.
Imagine women casting away corsets, burning full body underwear and latching onto the movement towards freedom of expression–in all forms. After the Second World War, amidst the scarcity and sorrow, fashion shifted in women’s minds–practicality became the priority.
It was only when, in America, Christian Dior launched a style revolution that the scope of fashion changed. This emergence was termed “New Look” with its classy, fuller fabrics, spotlighting style as a priority once more.
Fashion fads have changed throughout the decades and drastically over the centuries. Freedom of expression has taken to reducing the limits and providing a way for women to reveal their identities through styles that resonate.
Today there are countless shirtdress styles, ones with a retro twist, belted at the waist; others with dipping v-necks and stripes. There are plain and silky textures, as well as dresses with collars and varying lengths. The range has expanded to include pockets, prints, and embellishments. Whether you prefer a form-hugger or a loose flare, if you’re attending a stylish function or a casual gathering, the shirtdress is a versatile gem which covers all your bases.
Let’s take a look at which shirtdress styles suit you best:
The Hourglass Figure
With an hourglass figure, she’s all gorgeous curves and balanced body shape. Think Marilyn Monroe with her tapered waist and proportionate bust for an example of this classically feminine form. Anything that nips in at our hourglass goddess’ waist will accentuate her figure.
Opting for a v-neck shirtdress that is tailored with a high waist is a flattering choice, especially when knee-length. Keep the pockets or embellishments above the waist and add flowing material for a stylish flair. Cotton onto the spring trend of floral prints for a fun, feminine, and flattering finish. If a night out on the town is happening, dress it up with a linen number, a small handbag or clutch, long necklaces, and strapless skin-toned heels. She’s a sight to see!
The Pear-Shaped Figure
Otherwise known as the triangular body shape, think Beyoncé, with her sensual style that accentuates her curvature. The pear-shaped stunner saunters around with full hips and slim upper half which both pair with the vertical lined, button up and block-coloured shirtdress styles. Voluminous skirts accentuate her figure with a cinched waist that reaches up into a tight top with pockets and details.
Sleeveless and boatnecks are appealing choices. She can capitalise on her natural contours by showing off her arms or donning her best fashion friend, the boat neck which broadens her chest and brings her lower and upper halves into balance. On a nightlife excursion, she’ll turn heads with this sexy pair, a couple of necklaces, power heels, and a red lip!
The Apple-Shaped Figure
For this body shape, think Catherine Zeta-Jones with her long legs and ample cleavage. Style hotspots for the apple-shaped women are diverse and aplenty, especially when it comes to A-line cuts and showing skin through slits in a maxi shirtdress. Thicker materials are better suited for the apple-shaped form, as they keep their intended shape rather than highlighting where she prefers to disguise.
Embellishments are encouraged on the dress’s upper half to emphasize her breasts with pockets, statement necklaces, chic scarves, and dramatic details. She’ll call herself darling in a short denim dress, an option which accentuates her legs and suits just about any occasion. If she’s got plans to dazzle tonight, she’ll choose her classic block-colour shirtdress with a few buttons undone, paired with a necklace and heeled mules.
The Greek Column-Shaped Figure
Our favourite fashion-forward character, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker sports the model-like look with slim hips and shoulders. When it comes to accessorizing, belts are the first choice for the rectangular-shaped woman to create a more prominent waist that divides and accentuates her bust and hips.
A-line cuts are delightful designs for this Grecian goddess as sleeveless, they’ll emphasize her arms and legs and allude to an hourglass figure beneath. Colour, textures, and plaid patterns are more than happy to provide flattering options. More classically feminine ideas reach into spring’s influence for delicate florals and voluminous skirted shirtdresses.
We all have those clothing gems that, once we’ve realised are on a constant rotation between the washing machine and our bodies, we can’t help but wish we’d bought a back-up. It can be a difficult feat sometimes, finding dress styles that suit your mood, the occasion, your body type, and the ability to express yourself in the way you wish to be perceived. Now you’re equipped to rifle through the clothing racks and leave with an overflow of bags and the glow of a shopping trip’s success.