Back To Basics: Shirt Dress

Image: Gabriela Hearst

As part of our back to basics series, we shine a spotlight on great wardrobe staples that are built to last. Because timeless basics are the most sustainable pieces you can buy.

An elegant shirt dress is always a great investment. Not only can you choose a style to suit you; collared or collarless, full length, midi or mini. Short sleeve or long sleeved. But any of these make for a timeless choice. The option of a belt means that the shirt dress can make us feel well dressed even on the days when we don’t feel our best. However styling options don’t end with belting either. Wear it on it’s own with sandals in summer or layer underneath a sweater for the chillier months. It can also be worn as a shirt over jeans or tailored trousers. Simply button to your waist and tuck it in loosely to allow it to fall elegantly over your chosen trouser.

Tips on Caring For Your Shirt Dress
  • Cotton and linen styles are hard wearing but treat them kindly. Wash on a cool 30 degree wash and do not tumble dry.
  • If your dress has a detachable belt, keep track of it when washing or eco dry cleaning by using a safety pin to attach it to the label.
  • In between wears, use a freshening spray or simply hang by an open window to freshen your dress. 
  • Store in your wardrobe on a padded or wooden hanger to keep the shape in the shoulders.
  • Invest in a hand steamer to revitalise your dress before you wear it as ironing a shirt dress can get tedious.
  • Dresses made from cellulosic fibres like Tencel Lyocell are fine to wash without your guppy bag. They also mean less work when steaming.

Timeless Shirt Dresses

We recently discovered Oramai London’s beautiful range of GOTS certified linen dresses, perfect for summer. This clean cut shirt dress has a handy drawstring waist to create a feminine silhouette.

For a relaxed shirt dress style, this short sleeve, loose cut from Armed Angels is ideal. Made from breathable Lyocell, its easy to care for. Perfect for rolling up and packing in your case for weekends away.

If you prefer a cleaner, more modern shirt dress, this collarless style from Everlane ticks all the boxes. We’ll wear it with sandals in summer and over relaxed denim paired with a blazer for Autumn.

Animal prints make for a great timeless option if plain old cotton isn’t for you. The flowing, relaxed cut of this Peopletree shirt dress makes it a great go to for work and for weekend. In Winter, we’ll layer it over a roll neck and wear it with elegant knee high boots. Finish with a trilby hat.

Created from Italian crafted cotton, Gabriela Hearst’s embroidered style is certainly an investment piece. However it is impeccably tailored, and we think that if you take the plunge you will almost certainly get years of wear out of it. 

Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.