The shirt dress has been around in various incarnations for ages. Poiret (whose work is currently exhibited at the Met) designed one of the first styles. In the 1950's, full-skirted shirt dresses were the garb of choice for the era's style icons like Donna Reed. Today's shirt dress is perhaps most closely related to the 1970's version, created by Yves Saint Laurent and Halston.
The price point for shirt dresses is about as varied as it gets. While Burberry Prorsum (the right runway image, above) and Chloe made some super luxe silk version that retailed for several thousand dollars, you don't really need to spend that much. While we covet Luella's Weymouth, blue silk, shirt dress shown here ($402.50, net-a-porter.com), AKA New York's Boyfriend Shirt Dress is equally yummy ($272, shopbop.com). Nili Lotan also makes a slew of awesome shirt dresses that are so amazing even Kate Moss owns them! One of our favorites is Lotan's incredibly soft, Sea Island Cotton Tuxedo Dress ($340, kateboutique.com).
Some other sweet finds include the above Vivienne Westwood's Striped Button-Up dress ($448, refinery29.com) and Steven Alan's Christine Tunic Shirt-Dress ($180, refinery29.com). We also could see ourselves in Trovata's Shoreline Dress, on sale at Barneys New York right now ($119, barneys.com).
To get the most wear out of your shirt dress, you should realize that it's appropriate for almost all occasions. You can wear a short-sleeved, loose version as a chic alternative cover-up to the pool or beach. It's the perfect outfit for a hangover too. Your brain won't hurt, wondering if your outfit works, when you wear a shirt dress, flats, and a headscarf (a quick cover for bed head). For a night out, just belt the shirt dress, add heels, and select a few interesting pieces of jewelry. A long-sleeved version is ideal for cool summer nights because you won't have to worry about losing your sweater. And then when it gets cold, you can just throw it over jeans-perfect!
Photo of Zooey, courtesy of www.infgoff.com