Forget the summer of love, this summer it’s all about the shirt dress. You may have thought you weren’t the shirt dress sort – but summer 2017 is going to change all that. There are so many different styles to choose from that you’ll easily find one to fall in love with. Plain or patterned, retro or boho, with plaid or pleats, in satin or lace, cold-shoulder-style or cowgirl-denim, sleeveless or bell-sleeved, belted-up and slinky or boyfriend-look and comfy – the SS17 staple piece knows no style boundaries. And although the word ‘shirt’ is mentioned in the name, it really shouldn’t be confined to the four walls of the office. You can dress yours up with a blazer and heels, make it rock chick with a cropped leather jacket, go preppy by adding a knitted cardi, throw it over leggings to keep pasty pins under wraps, or accessorise with a belt or necklace (or both) to make the look your own.
Still not sure if you can pull it off? We think you can. Just read our quick guide to the array of shirt dress shapes you can choose from and then visit the centre to find your perfect shirt dress match…
The tunic dress
This style of shirt dress tends to be on the baggier side, so it’s perfect to throw on if you’re having one of those days when you hate everything in your wardrobe.
Perfect for: most body shapes. It can conceal a rounder tummy on apple-shaped figures, it looks effortlessly cool on long, lean shapes, and the addition of a belt can make it work on pear and hourglass shapes too.
Try: Shirt Dress, £29.99, Zara
The straight-cut dress
This simple yet elegant shirt dress shape cuts a streamlined silhouette and is quite often found in a midi length, with a belt or tie around the waist to add a little more interest.
Perfect for: flattering slim, neat figures
Try: Stripe Flute Sleeve Dress, £39, Miss Selfridge
The flared A-line dress
With a slightly flared-out skirt and snugger fit on the waist, this style looks fabulous when belted – to accentuate your waist and give an hourglass shape.
Perfect for: skimming over wider hips.
Try: Sleeveless Shirt Dress, £24.99, H&M
The fitted dress
This shape has structure. It’s fairly figure-hugging – gently skimming over your curves – and it nips in at the waist to give an ultra-feminine form. This style can often ‘button-up’, so if you are concerned about gaping on your bust or hips, then just add a modesty-saving vest top underneath.
Perfect for: flattering an hourglass or pear shape.
Try: Black Shirt Dress, £24.50, Dorothy Perkins at Debenhams
The drop-waist swing dress
The original 1920s, flapper-style silhouette is back in shirt dress form. This forgiving shape elongates the figure while skimming over any lumps and bumps, and looks great with a statement necklace.
Perfect for: concealing a rounder tummy while showing off slim lower legs.
Try: Lin Sleeve Dress, £168, All Saints
Want to read more features like this? Sign up to our email alerts.