Classic Hits – More Shift Dress Love

You didn’t really think I could do only one post on the classic hit shift dress did you?

I just love them too much to leave it at one, but then for those of you who do know me…you expected as much!

First, let’s start with some photos of shift dresses, both vintage and modern.

Now the information:

The shift dress really has become a classic hit. It can be dressed up or dressed down and with a bit of creativity can be worn in any season.

The Classic – A shift dress is a simple, short, above-the-knee dress. Typically the skirt is cut straight or with a narrow A-line. The neckline is usually a fairly high scoop neck or boat-neck. Often sleeveless, the shift dress can be found in both short-sleeve and long-sleeve versions.

In the Beginning – Flappers in the 1920s were the first to wear the shift dress style as a means of defying social norms. The classic flapper dress was a short shift dress, often decorated with fringe or other types of embellishment. It became popular because it was comfortable and easy to dance in. At the time, the silhouette was a breakaway from cinched-waist styles that had been in vogue for women.

The shift dress silhouette experienced a revival in the 1960s.

Why you need it now – Skimming rather than hugging the body, it slims every shape and size and takes you from an early morning meeting to cocktail hour with ease. For special occasions or professional purposes, hems to the knee are most appropriate. In a more casual sense, around the barbecue or by the sea, a shorter version is fun.

Petite shapes should capitalise on the simple line of the shift dress. Choose a gemstone colour such as purple, red or green that pops on you. Wear with jewel-encrusted sandals and shimmer through those summer nights.


Pear shapes, look for a cut that is slightly A-line to give you some volume over the leg. Black with a sheen or summer white with bows or bands at the neck and hem are so smart and versatile.


Busty shapes are tricky in this cut. Seek subtle darting at the waist to avoid a tent-like drop straight from your ample bust. A scoop neck suits best and simple sleeves will create a straight silhouette.


Larger frames, play with colours in patterns that have a vertical bent accentuating a straight silhouette, or go with the old-world elegance of brocade. Elbow-length sleeves flatter the form on you. Match with a block-colour cardigan for a super-stylish look.


Tall and lean shapes should go breezy with lightweight silk, linen or layered sheers. Wear with simple flats and your favourite jewellery to look forever chic.

Famous Shift Dress FansJackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Lilly Pulitzer, Twiggy and Michelle Obama (who likes to pair a shift dress with a cardigan).

All of this should easily qualify the Shift Dress for the Classic Hits Hall of Fame! I may have to dedicate a whole week to this classic!

How many of these classic hits do you have in your wardrobe? What’s you’re favourite way to wear it?



About astimegoesbuy

Just a middle-aged woman with a love of fashion trying to have a purchasing fast. Spending 90 days dressing out of what is already in the wardrobe.If I can't shop for clothes, I may as well write about clothes! View all posts by astimegoesbuy

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