classic shirtwaist is this year's summer-to-fall
great dress has pockets. But when it also boasts a
button-down bodice, a belted waist, and a collar ó
Peter Pan or Chelsea ó it gets elevated to pure,
shirtwaist dress, and all its menswear-inspired extras,
is both cubicle and cocktail chic this summer, whether
paired with flats, pumps or white-soled sneaks.
DOES IT COME FROM?
dresses go back to the post-Civil War era, when working
women began wearing simple, cotton button-down blouses
modeled after menís dress shirts.
the 1890s, women began pairing the blouses, or
shirtwaists, with matching skirts and referred to the
still-corseted ensemble as a dress, said Clare Sauro,
curator of Drexel Universityís Robert and Penny Fox
historic costume collection.
the turn of the 20th century, the shirtwaist was the
suffragette uniform. Also, because the blouse and
matching skirt combo were popular on tennis courts and
golf courses, the shirtwaist was considered among the
first "athleisure" looks.
shorter hemlines and drop waists sent the shirtwaist
style to the back of the boudoir until the 1940s, when
Christian Diorís romantic New Look featured the
modern-day shirtdress silhouette: short sleeves, belted
waist, collar and mid-calf hemline.
the 1950s, that same dress featured reams of crinoline
under the skirts and came in a variety of prints and
colors ó think Lucille Ball ó from polka dots to
then, the shirtwaist dress has been a fast-fashion go-to
because itís both practical and flattering on many
body types. In the 1960s, the belt disappeared, assuming
a trapeze silhouette. In the 1970s, it was a slimmer
fit, with a belted sheath and fashioned from softer
rayon fabrics; the 1980s brought shoulder pads. These
days, thanks to Thom Browne (and H&M), the
shirtwaist dress is an oversize, belted or non-belted,
crisp, pin-striped boyfriend shirt.
form shirtwaist dresses take, you can trust it will be a
style thatís quintessentially American.
IS WEARING IT?
Kim Kardashian, Anne Hathaway. Any woman with a business
meeting in the morning and dinner plans in the evening.
YOU WEAR ONE?
canít think of a reason you wouldnít. No dress looks
better with ballet flats.