How To: The Shift Dress

Ah, the 1960’s classic – the all-time favorite shift dress. Since that time, the shift dress has endured endless facelifts – and has made its return on the runway during the 2012 Spring/Summer Collections of Cacharel and Hussein Chalayan. This coveted favorite suits all body types, shapes and sizes – so let’s take a deeper look into how we can incorporate this trend for the Fall and Winter seasons.  



Add less volume and more shape to the shift dress by cinching at the waist with a belted cardigan. Added colored opaque tights break up the monotony of the colors.

(Joe Maldives Shift Dress in China Blue, $175; Tabbisocks Tights in Every Occasion in Mustard, $15; OASIS Sienna Shirt Hem Cardigan Coat, $150; Diva Tan Suedette Platform Shoe Boots, $70; Limited Gold Drape Necklace, sold out but alternative can be found here)




Add this faux fur vest for instant glam – keep it simple with a studded bib and add edge with leaf-patterned beige tights.

(GUCCI Cape Shift Dress in Melange, $1995; Sly 010 Racoon Longo Long Cut Fur Vest, $1460; ZOHARA Leaves Beige Tights, $22; Anndra Neen Web Choker, $805)





I’m a fan of converting dresses into shirts. But it needs to be the right shift dress – make sure it’s a light enough fabric that can be tucked under boyfriend jeans, as shown above (no jacquard or brocade shifts, please!).  Pair it with an embellished women's blazer and tone it down with these raffia-pattered sandals.

(Moschino Cheap and Chic Bow Neck Satin Dress, $408; Sleeve Wave Lapel Suit Beige, $42; Lissette Loves Boyfriend Jeans Deminology; BCBG Varushka Studded Raffia Sandals; $228)




Tuck away your favorite fitted sweater under a sleeveless shift – for an office-appropriate look, this mod navy blue shift pairs well with the white fitted turtleneck. Peek out your grey knee-highs under your two-toned riding boots for a preppy vibe.

(OASIS Lip Edge Dress, $105; Alexander Wang Open Knit Double Layer Sweater, $205; Falke Striggings Cable Knit Knee High Socks, $34; Hunter Two Toned Riding Boot, $195)




Lastly, try a printed dress with colored wedges or pumps. Take caution – you want the colors of the shift dress and shoes to complement each other. Here, we’re taking a black/tan velvet chiffon shift dress and keeping the shoes one solid color – mint green. The tan in the dress complements the mint green wedges – additionally, you want to enhance this simple look with a mixture of texture, as evidenced by velvet and chiffon shift and faux suede wedges.

(Catherine Malandrino Combo Dress, $400; Lipstik Cheeky Minty Green, sold out but alternative can be found here)