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What is a Shift Dress Style?

Ashmeet Bagga
In this hot sweltering summer, all we ladies want is to wear a dress with a little breathing room but without compromising on style. And if you still want to retain that cuteness level, then a shift dress is the answer. But what is a shift dress? We, will get you acquainted with this dress, its history, and some tips on how to style your shift dress!

MOD Look!

Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and Mia Farrow are known to have worn the shift dress in the 1960s.
Imagine having a dress which is loose yet looks chic, plus it's versatile, so you can wear it anytime irrespective of the season. A shift dress can be found in almost every woman's closet.
A shift dress is a classic style and a blessing for many women out there because it does not hug the body's curves. It is a short, simple dress that flatters any body type. It hangs loose from the shoulders and is supported by the side panels. It is short and any body type can flaunt the solid design.
Though the classic version of the dress is sleeveless, knee-length, with a high collar or boat neck, it comes in variety of hemlines and sleeve lengths.
The dress has very little detailing, emphasizing less on breasts and hip area, this allows the women to move freely. They are not meant to fit your body and is great for hiding feminine curves and contours. It falls straight down from the shoulders, this dress is all about smooth lines rather than trim fit.
One good thing about this dress is that they don't narrow down at the waist, rather they sweep down. It is a simple, short, and above the knee dress. The skirt is either straight or has a narrow A-line style to it. This style is appropriate for any professional or party environment.

Shift Dress

History Of the Shift Dress

This style entered the fashion industry in the 1920s, impressed from Hubert Givenchy's "sack dress" design. It was first worn in the 1920s in the form of flappers by young ladies who went against the social norms of dressing up by getting rid of the defined waistline and corsets.
A flapper dress was a short shift dress, bejeweled with fringes and different types of embellishments. Shift dress was popular back then, because people could move around and dance freely in it. During that era, a shift dress was a breakaway from cinched waist styles.
Shift dress silhouette was again revived in the year 1960 by Lilly Pulitzer, she ran a juice stand in Palm beach, Florida. People would often notice her wearing bright shift dresses. At a customer's request she started the business of selling shift dresses.
They were known as, Lilly's Dresses. Her dresses gained popularity after First Lady Jackie Kennedy was spotted wearing one in Life magazine. From there on, there was no looking back and she went ahead to create her fashion line. Actress Audrey Hepburn was also helpful in popularizing the shift dress during the 1960s era.
They made a comeback in 1980s, when women were spotted wearing it over a shirt giving it a sort of jumper look. They again became famous in 1990, when business wear was in vogue. They were worn over a t-shirt or a turtle neck, along with knee-length socks.
It again picked up trend in 2000, but the dresses were worn in their primary form without any shirt underneath. First Lady Michelle Obama also adapted the look and wore it for their family's first official portrait in the White House.

Ways To Style Your Shift Dress

Now that you have bought your beautiful shift dress, it is your responsibility to play up with your dress to suit your body. Fortunately, there are a lot of things which you can do to oomph up your simple dress.
Believe it or not, but the way you style your hair matters a lot, if you are going for a sophisticated event maybe an office party or an engagement. Do make it a point to keep your hair highly styled, this will make your outfit look exceptionally outstanding. If you are opting for a more casual look, then feel free to keep your hairstyle simple.
Footwear is essential, they can make or break your outfit. Don't pair up your dress with flip-flops, it will look not only trashy but would ruin the look of your dress too. If you are looking for something hip and fun, pair up your dress with bold platforms. If it's just a casual lunch, then perhaps you can wear plain white converse or colored sneakers.
Accessorize your plain solid color shift dress with colorful chunky jewelry. Chunky, bold necklaces, earrings can go beautifully with high necklines. Dresses with a V- shaped neck require simple, and light chains.
Belts are a must for women who are thin, otherwise it would look as if you are drowning in that dress. Apart from giving your dress a classy and stylish look, it can help to show off your curvaceous body and emphasize more on your best features.
As mentioned earlier, this dress can be worn in any season. So if it's winter you can pair up your dress with leather jackets to give that sexy and edgy look to your outfit. A soft, cute cardigan would form an innocent and preppy look. To stay warm you can wear leggings or knee-length socks.
Since shift dresses are so easy to wear and they come in a lot of patterns, you should invest in one now. It's always a delight to find out dresses which don't hug your body, and you don't have to be size zero to fit in this dress.