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June 24, 2011  | by: LaDawn Penigar-Mitchell

James Perse Linen Shirt Dress

If you’re looking for a casual, effortless summer look, the classic shirt dress will prove to be a worthwhile addition to your closet. It’s essential for a girl’s summer wardrobe because it can look sophisticated and sexy but comfortable and simple. A shirt dress is designed to be worn loose so that you can move around in the summer heat with maximum comfort, but it’s tailored to highlight your feminine physique. The classic shirt dress is still here, but the revamped look, which is sexier, more colorful, and made in a variety of new materials, is a breath of fresh air.

French Connection Belted Waist Dress

This summer trend began during the spring runway season with designers such as Phillip Lim, Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang featuring shirt dresses in their collections. Other designers like Prada, Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg have shirt dresses in their ready to wear lines that can be purchased at high-end retailers.

The utilitarian shirt dress is traditionally made of cotton twill or lightweight denim material because it’s practical, cool and comfortable for the summer, but now these dresses come in everything from linen to silk. You can buy a shirt dress in khaki, crisp white or denim, or be bold with a daring summery pattern in bright colors. Chambray is a great material to search for in shirt dresses because it has that breezy, light feel that’s casually chic but still manages to look crisp and fresh. Denim shirt dresses always look trendy and sleek with leather belts and simple sandals.

J.Crew Chambray Shirt Dress

The shirt dress is unarguably a fashion staple that can be worn year-round. The concept of the shirt dress is feminine simplicity and it can naturally transition from season to season.

Not only is it a great transitional piece for low-maintenance wear throughout the year, but it also has dual functionality that makes it appropriate for work and a night out. Furthermore, the shirt dress is a fashionable option for women with all different body types.

In the summer, it’s all about bare legs, so show them off with platform wedges or strappy sandals. For the fall, add tights or leggings with your favorite pair of flats and a sweater cardigan to cover your arms.

Lilly Pulitzer Essie Shirt Dress

Because the shirt dress is such a simple, easy to wear clothing piece, mix and match accessories for a more detailed look. Wear casual jewelry, light scarves or a hip crossbody bag for an added twist, or a contrasting belt for a more pronounced shape.

Whether you prefer the classic cinched shape in neutral tones, something silky, loose and flowy, or loud and bright, the versatile shirt dress can easily be transformed from simple to sophisticated. It’s a stylish yet comfortable look that can be dressed up or down and made to look effortlessly chic. No matter how you decide to rock this relaxed summer trend, the shirt dress is the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe.

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