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The Fashion Memo

10 of the best souped-up shirt dresses

It’s time to reconsider the humble shirt dress, as the new season sees this sartorial mainstay evolve from workwear staple to statement piece

Featuring: Joseph, By Malene Birger and Nanushka PF19

The shirt dress has always been synonymous with powerful women. It experienced its first surge in popularity during the 1940s, when the war effort first gave women a chance to enter the workforce. Since then, it’s been a sartorial byword for office-appropriate attire. But while this closet cornerstone might be hardworking, it’s rarely something we’ve given much thought to, valuing it above all for its throw-on-and-go qualities. But right now, fashion powerhouses are breathing new life into this side-lined piece, turning it into something truly special. From accentuating its fundamental simplicity to adding playful elements, this new breed is covetable without sacrificing on the utility and ease that made it a game changer in the first place. This is how to make your shirt dress work hard for you…


Make the desk-to-dinner dilemma a thing of the past by investing in a classic shirt dress with a twist. Whether you opt for Nanushka’s outsized collars and cuffs or Joseph’s outfit-elevating brights, when it’s time to clock out, simply undo a few more buttons, add some modern pearl earrings and a slick of red lipstick, then slip on a statement kitten heel for a look that will work from the office to wherever the night takes you.

  • Prada
    Pleated cotton shirt dress
  • Joseph
    Turner printed ribbed silk dress
  • Gabriela Hearst
    Mariano belted printed silk-satin twill midi dress
  • Rosetta Getty
    Apron wrap-effect cotton-poplin midi dress


A great shirt dress will have an integral place in your weekend and getaway wardrobe, too. This season, designers have offered up everything from ruffles and frills to bold prints, perfect for throwing on over a bikini and pair of sandals beachside or with slick leather slides in the city.

    Donkey checked brushed-cotton dress
  • Evi Grintela
    Victoria striped cotton maxi dress
  • ARJÉ
    Ami embroidered tulle-trimmed striped silk-poplin dress
  • Jil Sander
    Striped twill maxi dress

The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.