Shake Up Your Style by MSW

Lifestyle with Melanie Suzanne Wilson

Shapes of Shirt Dresses

September 7, 2017
Flared long sleeved shirtdress

Styles and Shapes of Shirt Dresses

Shirt dresses are amazing. Different types of shirt dresses can be better for various purposes and times of year. They are can be professional or casual. Some can be lightly layered.

Prints can be great for lively hangouts on weekends. Black will be best for business meetings, and can be brought into casual days.

Some shirt dresses will only button down half the way. This kind will stay held together as a very reliable dress. Others will button down all the way to the hem. Although they may still reliably stay together, a greater benefit will be the ability to wear the piece open as a long vest.

Here are some types of shirt dresses and the benefits they can bring.


A sleeveless shirt dress is very versatile because it can be comfortably own on its own or with layers. Australian summers are examples of times when nobody wants to wear sleeves. Stop the sweat by not covering the shoulders and arms. This look is also a way to wear collars at work, without the bulkiness of sleeves.

Sleeveless styles can be worn throughout the year by layering with outerwear. A cardigan can easily be added to the outfit, without fear of bulky sleeves bunching up under knits. A soft blazer can be worn with structured shirt dresses. The gentle outerwear will contrast with materials of the dress.

Plaid sleeveless collared shirt dress with gathered waist.
Image: Flickr creative commons



A belt can bunch a shirt dress for a gathered waist. An otherwise shapeless silhouette can be transformed into a waistline with one simple accessory. Some dresses can have a drawstring or belt, either built-on or separate.

Check the quality of a drawstring before buying a dress. Some cheaper drawstrings can end up a bit flimsy and even fall apart. Stronger wide ties might be more sturdy then some delicate threads.

If the dress does not come with a belt, one can easily be added to the outfit. Choose a belt that is long enough to fit and with sufficient holes to fasten the buckle. This sounds obvious, but some belts are too short to feel comfortable around the waist.

A thin belt could subtly gather the dress. Wide belts will stand out for attention. The right belt could separate a single dress into two halves.


Belted shirt dress
Belted shirt dress.
Image: flickr creative commons

A-Line Empire or Babydoll

Shirt dresses can better flatter curvy figures when they are made with gathered waist lines. This is a great way to include a professional collar on a feminine frock. Be sure to wear it over tights on a windy day, as lighter materials can go flying in the breeze.


Flared long sleeved shirtdress
Flared long sleeved shirtdress
Image: iStock, edited

Short Sleeve

Short-sleeved shirt dresses are brilliant for summer. Covered shoulders will be protected from sunburn on bright days out. Opt for lighter colours or neutrals to better cope with warm weather.


Short sleeved belted shirtdress
Short sleeved belted shirtdress
Image: Creative commons

Long Sleeve

Long-sleeved shirt dresses are nice for slightly cool autumn and winter days. Layer over a long-sleeve tee shirt to keep extra warm. Softer sleeves can be worn with outerwear.

Be sure the sleeves are not too wide. They should be a flattering fit with some space, but not overly baggy.

Long sleeve shirt dress
Long sleeve shirt dress.
Image: Flickr creative commons.


Find the Best Shirtdress for Your Body

Every body will better suit a particular type of shirtdress. Once you have a preference, it’s easy to find more shirt dresses in a similar style for a versatile wardrobe.

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