I‘m a total sucker for shirtdresses (or you may be a bit old fashioned and call them “shirtwaisters”). I like the idea of a dress with a collar, or a dress that looks like one long shirt. And even if it’s fitted, it’s not telling you it is. One’s figure is definitely there, but not screaming at you. It’s so simple, so, I don’t know, 50s screen beauty sipping lemonade on the veranda.
I started thinking about them again when I saw this Stella dress last spring.
I know, I’ve posted about Stella before, but I am always inspired by her uncomplicated breezy chic. And how she gets away with such direct rehashing of the 70s and 80s. (We don’t mind, we just go along under the McCartney spell, and now she’s telling us stirrup pants are in. Oh boy. I really thought she was done putting the worst of the 80s in front of us.)
And then I saw this lovely dress for fall. Normally this might be a bit too hippie for me, but tartans are everywhere now, and it appeals to my inner Scottish warrior. (I dream of what this might look like in a MacDonald tartan.)
My fascination with shirtdresses was brought on about seven years ago by a floaty striped cotton number in a local boutique. It had this 40s/50s film star appeal, it fit me beautifully, and it was the last one left. I’m still killing myself for not buying it.
In my hunt for the perfect pattern to replicate the lost shirtdress, I’ve gotten lost in a sea of decades and vintage pattern sites. These are my favorite three so far, from the 40s, 50s, and 70s, respectively:
I picked these for their special details, like the unusual raglan sleeve seams on the red dress, the tucks on the 70s dress, and the big house-wife pockets on the 40s dress. It’s pretty fun traveling through the decades to see the shapes change, so here ya go:
A curated gallery of shirtdresses from the decades!
(Click to view an image description and scroll the whole gallery.)
A parting shot here from the 80s, in a glamorous ease worthy of Stella: