Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Spring Ode to the Shirtdress....

I think the shirtdress (along with the A-line skirt, the wrap dress, and yes, the pencil skirt) is one of the classic clothing forms that can work for just about any women of any shape, size or age.

I was put in mind of this when I was flipping through the February edition of the Everyday with Rachael Ray mag (This is why I love my non-fashion mags!)

While the primary focus of Rachael's mag is food (of course), she has a monthly feature Everyday Faves which features a wide array of new products. Here's the one that caught my eye this month:

Josephine Chaus Shirtdress - $119.00

I love the pattern and the shape of this dress! I'd never heard of this designer before - so of course I googled her. There is a website - Josephine Chaus - but it appears to be fairly new (I could be wrong about that however), and you can't buy the clothes there. According to the website the focus of the company to good, wearable business ware for women. You can find the garments themselves via a google search - they appear to run in the $150.00 or slightly below range.

As I said, you can't buy the clothes from the site. However, if you want to order something, here is the phone number: 888-880-8004, where you can request a list of their retailers.

While I was trying to find the above online I decided to do a general search on shirtdress. I was, frankly, stunned at all the variations that came up! Looking them over I've seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly ( had one where the form was good but the fabric was hideous - who buys that material? More importantly who makes it - and why? WHY?????).


Here are some of what I thought was the best:

Over at

Sash-Tie Shirtdress Misses or Petite $69.00

Great lines, simple and sharp, with the, oh so forgiving, a-line skirt. I love everything about this dress - except for the fact that it doesn't come in plus sizes!

Signature Ponté Knit Collection:
Shirtdress Misses $59.00, Women's $64.00

(Okay, I know the pic of the dress in cream makes it look a bit stodgy - but check out the alternate look on the site in black - and a different belt can definitely kick it up a notch!)

Belted Shirtdress, Misses $59.00, Women's $69.00

I love the flow of this dress - very forgiving for different body types. I love the print as well, which is unusual for me - I'm not a big print person!

Crinked Gauze Shirtdress, Misses $39.00

Classic and just great for summer - at work or on the weekend!

Knit Shirtdress, Misses $69.00

Now if you've been lucky enough to skip the usually obligatory 10+ pounds that seems to just lay in wait for you as you hit that 50th birthday and your bod still has it goin' on (or you have a lovely selection of Spanx in your arsenal) - you might want to take this bad girl for a spin! (Love the belt at the hip! Sigh - if only I didn't have so much hip for it to go around!)

Over at Ann Taylor Loft :

Belted Knit Shirt Dress, Misses $79.00

Actually, not a terribly distinctive dress - but it looks comfortable, would be great for work and I love the color.

At Lane Bryant:

Linen-blend shirtdress, $89.00

Button-front shirtdress, $69.50

No, not the most jazzy dresses ever. But good, solid style that will work for work. And, speaking from experience with my most of the time firmly (I use THAT word lightly) in the 18W sizes hips, it is NOT easy for a plus size woman to find a shirt dress! (As you can see from this list - 4 out of 13 dresses is NOT a great ratio!)

So it was great to see Lane Bryant, who usually skews a bit young for me, offering two good basic choices that will work well for the over 20s crowd.

J. Crew's entry:

Bette shirtdress $148.00

Frankly, I don't usually bother with J. Crew. Basically they aim their clothes at the 20s and 30s crowd and I take them at their word.

However, they came up during my search and out of the 5 offerings in shirtdresses on their site, I do think that this one could be a lovely choice for a plus 50 lady - as long as you can wear a size 14 or less!

In looking over the above, I realized that there are no designer frocks represented here. I had to remind myself that, just because I don't have designer dollars, it doesn't mean other don't (Doggone them!).

So I did a search on some of the designer shop sites (Bluefly, EDressMe, etc) and, honestly, came up empty. What I found was, to my eye at least, pretty weak - okay let's be honest, downright ugly.

So I'll leave it to you, gentle reader, to do the designer search - one man's trash is another man's treasure and all that.

You'll probably do much better, anyway, going directly to the designer's site - check out the following beauty from Anne Kline's Fall 2006 collection:

I did find a couple of nice designer bridge items over at Macy's

From the Kenneth Cole Reaction Line:

Kenneth Cole Reaction Belted Shirtdress $149.00

Kenneth Cole Reaction Tie-Front Shirtdress 149.00

Of the two above I, personally, like the red one the best - the form will work for a wider range of women.

From Jones of New York:

Jones New York Matte Jersey Belted Shirtdress

As ever, with Jones, clean and tasteful, able to do the work thing and then dinner afterwards.

Once again with all three, you have to be size 14 or less to play!

I could go on and on (oh wait, I already have) loving this particular dress style as I do. I leave it to you to decide whether or not it's a style that can work for you as a closet staple!

No comments: