How to Wear a Shirt Dress — 10 Amazing Outfit Ideas

Looking for a stylish, get-on-the-go article of clothing that you can easily slip on and make a fashion statement? Try a shirtdress. It’s suitable for any casual and smart casual occasion. But if you don’t know how to wear a shirt dress, you have nothing to worry about.

On this page are super stylish outfit ideas to guide your shirtdress outfits. Do sit back, read and be sure to save this page for your ‘rainy day’.

But before we go right in, let’s take a quick look at this style of dress.

What is a Shirt dress to a Fashionista?

plus-sized lady wearing shirt dress

From the name, you can tell that whoever invented the shirtdress got inspired by a man’s shirt. And if you look at one of these types of dresses, you’ll see it’s true.

A shirtdress is a dress that borrows details such as a collar, button front, cuffed sleeves, etc., from a man’s shirt. They are usually made with fabrics suitable for men’s shirts such as silk, linen, jeans, and cotton. 

Moreover, you can have them in different prints ranging from striped to plaid, checkered, floral, polka dot, etc. They also come in different colors too.

Shirt dresses have no defining waist and this makes them good for every woman regardless of her body type

Brief History of the Shirtdress

lady wearing short black and white stripped shirtdress

During the 1950s, Shirtdresses were a trend and they were called shirtwaist dresses. It was the luxury brand Christian Dior that launched the 1950 version of this wardrobe staple. The brand included it among its post–World War II “New Look” couture designs, with a full skirt held up by wearing a crinoline.

Even since then, shirt dresses come in varieties. And they go beyond the usual collar and buttons to include frills, statement sleeves, oversized look, and other interesting details.

How to Wear a Shirt Dress

lady wearing white shirt dress

To style your shirt dress in chic ways, do any of the following:

1. Add a Belt to Define Your Waist

lady wearing white shirtdress with belt

Since a shirtdress has no seams around the waist, you can add a belt when you wear yours. This will help to cinch your waist and give you an hourglass illusion.

lady wearing white belted shirt dress

2. Wear It on Its Own

smiling lady wearing white shirt dress

This one is the easy and conventional way to style a shirtdress. Whether it’s a striped, plain, long-sleeved, or short-sleeved shirtdress, you can wear it like that.

Rihanna wearing black shirt dress

Just pair with the befitting shoes and add some accessories to magnify your look. We’ll look at accessorizing as we proceed.

3. Pair with Your Pants, Shorts, Jeans, and Leggings

lady wearing white shirt dress with orange palazzo

Even though this piece of clothing is a dress, it’s still a shirt. It’s a dress-cum-shirt and as such, you can pair it with your trousers.

lady wearing shirt dress on black shorts

It could be a pair of jeans, leggings, biker shorts, tapered pants, or even palazzo pants. The result will be a mind-blowing outfit especially if you get your accessories right.

4. Pair with a Skirt

lady wearing black shirt dress on skirt

And yes, you can also pair your shirtdress with a skirt. Just make sure they are of two different colors so both can stand out simultaneously and people see the stylish queen in you.

lady wearing shirt dress on skirt

5. Turn it into an Outerwear

lady wearing shirt dress on a brown gown

You can also use your shirtdress to layer your outfits. 

lady wearing shirt dress on white tank top

For example, let’s imagine you have on a pair of jeans and a tank top. Rather than button your shirtdress from top to bottom, leave it open so it becomes an outerwear to layer your clothes.

6. Layer Your Shirtdress

lady wearing jeans kimono on long shirt dress

Another outfit idea on how to wear a shirtdress is to layer it. If you don’t want to use your shirtdress to layer your outfit, you can as well layer your shirtdress.

lady wearing sweater on her shirt dress

Here your denim jacket, kimono, duster, blazer, sweater, etc., come in handy. Layering your shirt dress will help to add more accents especially if you aren’t pairing with a bottom.

7. Go Monochrome

lady wearing brown shirt dress with brown accessories

Thinking of wearing a solid color shirt dress and you don’t wanna worry about matching colors, how about you go monochrome?

This is how it works: For instance, you have a black shirt dress. You can go all-black by combining it with black shoes and accessories. The same also works if you want to create an all-white or all-red ensemble with your dress.

lady wearing all-white shirt dress outfit

Going monochromatic is a simple way to match colors in your outfit. It involves making your outfit comprise the same or most of the same color.

8. Wear it Underneath a Dungaree

white lady wearing dungaree on her shirtdress

This is an innovative way to style dungarees, you know. You can utilize the shirt part of your dress by pairing it with a dungaree for your casual outings.

lady wearing shirt on a dungaree

This works best if your dress is a short one.

9. Pair with Good Shoes

lady wearing grey shirtdress with black heavy boots

Depending on the look you want to achieve, any type of shoes for women will be good with a shirt dress.

For instance, if you have a luncheon at work, you can combine your shirt dress with a pair of cover-toe heels and get going. For a casual outing with friends, a pair of sneakers or knee-high boots will give you a sporty look. You can also wear ballerinas for a business casual look or nice slip-ons if you wanna be underdressed.

lady wearing shirt dress on white sneakers

You only have to ensure the color of your shoes matches your dress and suits the occasion you have in mind.

10. Accessorize for More Accents

lady accessorizing on a white shirt dress

Did you think we’d leave this out? I hope you didn’t. And that’s because accessories are way too important to be deemed trivial.

lady wearing shirt dress with other accessories

Once you add them to your shirt dress look, they’ll elevate your look. You can go for accessories that transform your look such as a hat, belt, necklaces, sunglasses, wristwatch, scarf, etc.

You’ll never regret doing that.

There you go with the outfit ideas on how to wear a shirt dress. The fact that these dresses require minimal styling before you rock them makes them a wardrobe staple. And as you put these tips into practice, don’t be scared to break some fashion rules and explore. It’s the first step to becoming a true fashionista.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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