Part shirt, part dress, and all style! A shirt dress can do not just double duty, but quadruple duty in your wardrobe. So if you’re thinking about how to wear a shirtdress, it’s actually hard to think of a shirt dress outfit you couldn’t wear.
You can wear a shirt dress alone as a dress, obviously. But you can also wear it over trousers, or open as a duster coat. Or you can even wear it as a cover-up at the beach.
In this article, you will find lots of inspiration on how to wear a shirtdress as well as some of the best ways to put together a shirt dress outfit for any occasion.
You’ll also find my favorite shirt dresses in stores now.
Melinda (above) wears a very classic shirt dress with statement jewelry.
Check out this similar navy shirtdress, woven straw bag and sandals to steal her look.
How to wear a shirt dress
I can think of few other items that are so versatile that you can wear them to the office, for a casual weekend, for a day at the beach, or for a swish evening out.
But a shirt dress ticks all of those boxes.
1. Wear your shirtdress on its own
It goes without saying that you can simply wear your shirtdress on its own.
Sandra (above) opts for a stylish monochrome look, and adds a touch of color with her red lipstick.
Recreate her look with this similar sleeveless shirtdress, sandals, crossbody bag and necklace.
Lucky Brand daisy print shirtdress – Earth sandal – Treasure & Bond woven straw tote – Akola drop earrings
2. Wear over your wide-leg pants
While it can be easier to think about wearing your shirtdress over narrow-leg pants or jeans, wide-leg styles can also look stunning.
Alice (above) adds a retro feel to her outfit with her platform pumps.
Here is a floral shirtdress you can try from Tory Burch that you can pair with these similar wide leg pants, Gucci pumps and shoulder bag.
Club Monaco stripe shirtdress – Nobody Denim wide leg jeans – Jeffrey Campbell zip bootie – Antik Kraft convertible clutch – Sterling Forever earrings
For more inspiration, read our article on how to wear tunics or dresses with pants.
3. Wear over your leggings
You may prefer to cover up your legs, either because you feel your shirtdress is shorter than you are comfortable with, or because the weather is still a little chilly.
Anita (above) wears her striped midi dress with a warm underlayer. You could get the same look with opaque tights or leggings.
Check out these printed shirt dresses from 1901 and Court & Rowe and match with these similar leggings and booties.
Sam Edelman abstract shirt dress – Zella leggings – Fly London sandal – Antik Kraft convertible clutch – Sterling Forever earrings
Read our complete guide on how to wear leggings for women over 40.
4. Wear over your jeans
There are few items of clothing that you can’t wear with your jeans, and a shirt dress is no exception.
Georgette (above) opts for a shirtdress worn open as a duster jacket.
Get her look with this similar shirtdress, jeans, tank top, rattan bag and sandals.
Rails leopard print shirtdress – Made in Blue skinny jeans – Jeffrey Campbell zip bootie – Treasure & Bond woven straw tote – Akola earrings
5. Wear over narrow leg pants
An outfit which is easy to put together, stylish and universally-flattering is a shirt dress worn over narrow or straight-leg pants.
Dayle (above) chooses a fun style giving a pop of blue and yellow.
Get her look with this similar white shirtdress and pants, and wear with a pair of Fly London sandals.
1901 tie waist shirtdress – Halogen tie waist twill pants – Louise et Cie sandal – Nordstrom hobo bag – Sterling Forever earrings
6. Wear for evening
Versatile enough to wear for day or night, a shirt dress is also a stunning option to wear for a night out.
Carole (above) chooses animal print and adds allure with the side split.
Check out these zebra printed shirt dresses from Nanushka and City Chic and this similar pair of ankle strap sandals to steal her look.
You could also choose a dress with asymmetry or a high-low style.
Mark + James by Badgley Mischka high/low shirtdress – Nordstrom shimmer wrap – Nina open toe pump – Nordstrom studded clutch – Sterling Forever earrings
7. Wear for summer
Easy, breezy and stylish, a shirt dress is a great option to pack if you are heading off on vacation.
You can wear for sightseeing, or pop over your swimsuit after a day at the beach.
Rachel (above) chooses an all-neutral outfit worn with woven accessories.
She is wearing a sold-out shirtdress from Marks & Spencer. You can check out these other shirtdress options from the brand like this floral printed shirtdress or this tiered shirtdress which are both perfect to wear during summer.
Complete her look with this similar straw tote and strappy sandals.
Court & Rowe tie waist sleeveless shirtdress – Anne Klein slim fit pants – Vince flat sandal – Urban Originals straw tote – Brixton felt fedora – Akola earrings
8. Wear as a beach cover-up
Another summer idea for you. If you’ve had a day at the beach or by the pool and want to pop a cover-up on to go to the bar or for lunch, a shirt dress is ideal.
Lizzi (above) looks beautiful in her white dress and summer accessories.
Check out this similar shirtdress, straw hat, tote and flip flops.
Dolan shirtdress – Miraclesuit one-piece swimsuit – Tory Burch flip flop – Urban Originals straw tote – Akola drop earrings
See are our top picks of the best one piece bathing suits for women over 40.
9. For a daytime event or wedding
Heading to the office, for lunch with friends or for a summer event? A shirt dress can work wonderfully for absolutely any occasion.
Kim (above) chooses beige worn with animal print.
She is wearing a shirtdress from Modern Citizen that also comes in two other colors. Complete recreating her look with this similar Gucci tote, ankle strap sandals and earrings.
Also, take a look at this article, which asks can you wear beige without looking boring?
Vince silk dress – Louise et Cie sandal – Antik Kraft convertible clutch – ADORNIA y-necklace – Akola earrings
You might also like to read our articles on how to dress for weddings in winter and summer.
The best shirt dresses in stores now
If you’ve been inspired, below you will find some of the most stylish shirt dresses you could add to your closet.
1. White shirt dress
Crisp, clean and classic, a white shirt dress will go with pretty much everything else in your closet.
Anne Klein corduroy belted shirtdress
2. Denim shirt dress
While most of you will have denim in your closet in some form, perhaps because you wear jeans or a denim jacket, how about a denim shirtdress?
Karen (above) wears hers in a simple, stylish way with nude sandals and sunglasses.
Steal her look with this similar denim shirtdress and nude sandals.
3. Linen shirt dress
If, like me, you prefer to wear natural fabrics, a linen shirt dress is an ideal travel option.
Also look at this article on stylish travel clothes.
4. Long shirt dress
You may usually think about a shirt dress as being a knee-length style, but you could also choose a midi or maxi dress option.
Tanasha (above) chooses polka dots and tie sandals.
Check out this similar polka dot shirtdress and lace-up sandals.
Topshop paisley print shirtdress
5. Satin shirt dress
For a luxe look, opt for a fabric such as satin or silk, which could easily be worn for a daytime event such as a wedding or for evening.
6. Black shirt dress
There are so many perfect black dress options, and a shirtdress style is one of them.
Deborah (above) chooses an all-black look with red lipstick.
Get her look with this similar shirtdress, pants and booties.
7. Floral shirt dress
Florals are a popular print for any style or dress. But the print on this H&M dress goes even further by featuring a whole landscape.
8. Long sleeve shirt dress
Many women over the age of 40, or any age for that matter, prefer to cover up their upper arms.
Psyche (above) shows off a stylish long-sleeved shirt dress option.
Get her look with this similar dress below, leather boots, stockings and a Gucci mini bag that she used as a belt bag.
Also look at the best dresses with sleeves.
7 For All Mankind maxi shirtdress
9. Check shirt dress
Plaid is always an on-trend print. A check shirt dress would look good over jeans.
10. Maxi shirt dress
You could choose a floor-skimming maxi like Liv (above). Don’t forget to accessorize with a cute dog!
Recreate her look with the similar shirtdress below, turtleneck top, skinnies, belt and booties.
11. Green shirt dress
Animal print is a perennial trend. Snake or reptile print has been on-trend for a number of seasons and isn’t going anywhere for spring/summer 2020.
H&M snakeskin-patterned shirtdress
Below are the shirtdress outfits from above together in a capsule wardrobe. You could easily mix and match the different dresses, bottoms and accessories to create dozens of looks.
- How To Wear Tunics Or Short Dresses With Pants
- The Best Dresses With Sleeves For Women Over 40
- The Midi Dress Is Back And We Show You The Best Midi Dresses For Women Over 40
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Feature image by Kim
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I must comment here. How do I wear a shirt dress if I am a pear-shape? With no bust to speak of and wider hips, a shirt dress invariably makes me look like I’m wearing a potato sack, especially if I belt it. If I wear it loose with no tie at the waste it is still unflattering.
Why not just skip the shirt dress then and choose another dress that makes you feel more fabulous?
Hey there! Try wearing a flared shirt dress. It’s so flattering on beautiful pear shaped bodies, and don’t forget to belt it