blue shirt dress

So low is the cost-per-wear of a shirtdress you’re basically in the black before you carry it home. Timeless, flattering for any body shape, versatile and easy to wear, it’s as essential in a woman’s wardrobe as an LBD or a pair of jeans. Australia is the right place to wear it too. Not only is it weather appropriate for most of the year but the shirtdress straddles the line between casual and smart with a typically Aussie nonchalance.

Who remembers Cate Blanchett teaching New Yorkers how to rock a baby blue shirtdress by Derek Lam? Australian fashion bloggers Sara Donaldson, Kaitlyn Ham and Brooke Testoni have all worked the androgynous-sexy spirit of a shirtdress while Zanita Whittington wowed Instagram with a retro version in sunshine yellow.

And that’s the beauty of a shirtdress: its variations speak to every wardrobe aesthetic from quirky to girly to manly to glam.

Shop You rounds up some of the best online finds for a can’t-fail shopping experience.

 

 

Lee Mathews shirt dress

Lee Mathews $469

BANKING ON STYLE

Karen Millen stripe shirt dress

Karen Millen $425

Balenciaga did a playful take on banker stripes this year complete with button-back tailsbut if your own banker won’t allow that splurge there are infinite variations on the theme from high- to mid-high-end as well as high-street brands. Lee Mathews has a version that’s less Wall Street and more Sense and Sensibility – an inspired combination of corporate and poetic. There are super-cute weekend numbers by Decjuba, Cue and (for a price you will love) Bonds.

Or to up the ante go for a pinstripe at Karen Millen. The latter style needs a heel but most striped shirtdresses look great with a minimal white sneaker on the weekend.

 

 

LAY BACK AND THINK OF AUSTRALIA
For uber nonchalance, narrow your shop to denim and chambray and you’ll find your weekend outfit in seconds. Try Levis and Country Road or Decjuba have a stunning option.

Asos stripe black and white dress

Asos $149


Religion silver sequin dress

Religion $218

BE BOLD
For those who don’t want even a hint of business attire in their wardrobe, there is a shirtdress for you too.

Bold shapes, daring fabrics and left-of-centre colourways take the shirtdress to another level.

Try AsosReligion and Zara, whose faux leather dress is a stand-out for those who want to, well, stand out.

 

Ashish Floral Shirt Dress

Ashish Shirt $229

PRETTY COOL
The vintage-inspired girly-with-a-flourish-or-five outfit has been doing the rounds since Alessandro Michele changed the face of Gucci.

We’re talking embroidery appliques and scalloped collars and cuffs, championed by pretty-is-my-middle-name Alice McCall.

If you can’t go by a floral without picking it, this one from Ashish recalls Zanita’s sunshine-in-a-dress look mentioned earlier.

 

COS Navy blue shirt dress

COS $125

WAIST NOT WANT NOT
If you’re not a fan of cinching the waist, the oversized look has you covered. Australian label Anna Quan is Sara Donaldson’s current fave for shirting and the latest collection is full of max-length shirtdresses with dramatic initialled cuffs. Oskar is the pick for fellow blogger Kaitlyn Ham – there’s even been a collaboration. Acne and Alexander Wang are veterans of ‘man-imal’ and on the high street Cos is a master of clean design.

Rosalina Getty open back crepe shirt dress

Rosalina Getty $1,285

UNTIGHTENING THE BELT
A shirtdress is one of those items you can save up for (or splurge on) without apology. Just think of its cost-per-wear and style staying power. Joseph has some beautiful full-length designs (consider the off-white for a hip bridal gown – the wedding shirtdress has been hailed by Vogue as the next big thing).

Rosetta Getty – an LA-based designer who champions our shared beachside understated style – recently did a new take on the shirtdress (open back tying at the neck) and it’s perfection.

 

 

– Written by Joanne Gambale