What is a Shirtdress And Is It Still Fashionable to Wear One?


A shirt that is also a dress.

This piece of clothing is probably the most "native" to the US than any other. It's sporty, it's stylish and it is effortless. 

And despite the fact that the shirtdress hasn't been around for as many years as, say, the scarves, it still has been a focal point in dress history for the last two centuries. And before you ask - yes, shirtdresses are still in style in 2022 and will be in style for (most likely) another couple of years.

So, what is the shirtdress really and where does it come from?

Shirtdress Origins

This might come as a surprise to you, but the beginnings of the shirtdress are quite humble. Before it became the go-to-cozywear-item it is now, it started off as a nurse uniform. Most of the time, the shirtdresses worn by the beautiful ladies in the 20's and 30's were made from 100% cotton which made them ideal and extremely cozy to wear during the day for the modest housewife.

And then came WWI. And women had to mobilize as much as men.

Because of the war and out of necessity, the shirtdress transitioned into another variation of itself - it became a uniform that was worn by females and medics during wartime. This is also when the fabric of the shirtdress changed. Cotton wasn't the prefered material anymore, as the shirtdress had to change to adapt to the times. The focal point was not in cozy-wear, but rather in thick and sustainable materials that could endure lots of washing, sanitizing and work.

But this isn't the only time the Shirtdress transitioned into another, dare we say, better, version of itself.

The Shirtdress as Sportswear

In the 1940s, the shirtdress evolved yet another time. Sports were at the peek at everyone's interest. Light and still pratical, the uniform-like shirtdress started being adopted for golf and tennis. And this is what inspired the McMullen Company to cover for the failing interest in men's wear during the great Depression through. Their new product line was you guessed it - catered towards females. They came up with a two-part wool dress that waspractical and easy to move in, but still warm and cozy enough to keep you from getting a cold.

Why 'Shirtdress'?

Before it was ever called shirtdress, this unique piece of clothing was dubbed the "shirtwaist", translating quite literally to shirt-blouse, as "waist" was its old substitute in the 19th century. 

The name itself only became popular much later, likely because of women's unwillingness to present themselves in a leasurely way. Most ladies liked looking put together, and didn't place the shirtdress on a pedestal until the late 40s. And this is when huge companies such as Simplicity Patterns picked up on it and started offering "shirtmakers". And then the press caught up -"Summer Sports Style" started actually calling it a 'shirtwaist'. And this is when the shirtdress exploded in popularity.

The Conservative Shirtdress

It's no secret that women in the 50s and 60s weren't allowed to show their skin much above the knee, hence why they were so conservative with the way they were wearing their shirtdresses. It wasn't until the 80's and 90's that the elegant version of the shirtdress was introduced, which is also mostly worn today. 

However, if you are a fan of matching elegance with cozyness, as well as street style with some high-fashion, you might want to have a look at our Breezy Babe Shirtdress

It's lightweight. It's simple. It's made form 100% Gauzy Cotton and was conceived, designed and produced sustainably in the USA. 





How To Style A Shirtdress

There is a myriad of ways you can style a shirtdress. Here are a few honorable mentions:

1. As an oversized blouse or t-shirt. Give it a bit of a french tuck and wear it with jeans or leather leggings 

2. Don't tuck it in. You can also just throw on some stockings, leggings or cozy thick tights for during the winter.

3. Throw on a Shoulder Shrug or a short jacket. Anything short would compensate well for the length and make your look look proportionate. If you are wondering about a fitting Shrug, have a look at our selection here.

4. Get some high-knee boots and throw on a beautiful scarf or jacket over your shoulders and you'd create the perfect fall-look. 

 Have any more styling-ideas? Drop them in the comments down below! 






Our mission is to inspire women of all ages to look their best in timeless pieces that are stylish in design & crafted for comfort using the softest, most breathable fabrics; all while trying to do it with care for the environment. Sustainability and Slow Fashion are the pillars of our brand.



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