The Ambitionista

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how to wear a shift dress

A Twist on the Work-Shift

The shift dress term comes from the idea that it’s easy to “shift” in a shift-dress. It’s about ease of movement. I also suspect it’s derived from the idea that women need a comfortable dress they can move around in, in case they survive a full “shift” at work.

comfortable shift dress

Which is why I believe it’s imperative for every working woman to have a neutral shift-dress in her closet that can be her go-to outfit. In a morning rush?  Forget the hassle of matching blouse to skirt to jacket. Throw on a simple, yet elegant dress and you’re good to go.

This dress by Gerard Darel fits the bill.  Plus, the inset belt-tie adds some shape and brings the shift into the 21st century.

summer shift dress

Mix it up week to week by varying your accessories. Here, I’ve added a Prada purse and black peep-toe slingbacks as well as a Kate Spade bracelet that emphasizes the classic cut of the dress.

wearing a shift dress

I love how the dress is not only effortless, but can be worn year-round as well.  While I find it perfect for these hot summer months, I can also wear it into fall by adding tights, boots, and a great blazer.  Come to think of it, perhaps the real meaning behind the term shift-dress is that it can shift from season-to-season. Ah, ha!


Photography credit: Erica Hampton

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27 Responses

  1. Michelle Kearns

    I’ll choose a tummy-flattering shift dress if there’s any. I want to hide the bumps and bulges in front of me. My sister actually suggested wearing control pants or shapewear to also help improve the silhouette.

  2. Aren’t these clothes supposedly look like short dresses that lacks detailed shaping? I see some Hollywood actresses shifting to shift dress when attending parties. While it looks good on them, I don’t think I have the guts to wear one, given that my own body is frump and shapeless :( But it’s a good option for future events, once I shed some weight.

  3. Nope, I haven’t worn any shift dress before, but I like the one you’re wearing. I guess there’s a first time for everything, so I wouldn’t be surprised when I finally got myself a shift dress in the next coming days.

  4. Krissy

    I guess this is really the trend this days.. I been seeing a lot of ladies wearing shift dresses too. Time for me to join the wagon, I guess :)

  5. I actually like the 60’s vibe coming from wearing shift dresses, especially the ones with long sleeves. Yes! A shift dress with long sleeves is the perfect transitional piece to add to your wardrobe. They’re so cool and funky!

  6. can’t say I’ve worn a shift dress before, but I do remember owning a couple which I inherited from my mother. Shift dresses are great to wear because these can be worn whenever, wherever.

  7. Susan Armstrong

    That Gerard Darel dress you’re wearing is really nice, I like the inset belt-tie detail, it made the whole shift dress look more interesting and not boring :)

  8. Aaliyah Jane

    I’ve seen a lot of shift dresses being worn these days, even in my office. My colleagues told me it feels comfortable and hassle-free wearing that outfit.

  9. I own at least 3 different shift dresses and I’m so thankful to have bought these because not only are these easy to wear, these also give me peace of mind, not at least giving me worries as to what to pair them with..

  10. Yes, ease of movement is what I always wanted to achieve whenever I wear my clothes. And shift dress is something that helps me move with ease in my cubicle at the office.

  11. Raiza Shane

    That inset-belt tie sure does the trick! I like the shift dress you’re wearing. I guess I’ll be buying one for myself soon!

  12. Carrie Ann

    I remember my mom telling me about shift dresses being the trend during her prime and now she’s seeing a lot other women still wearing them these days. I guess that’s one thing great about shift dress, it never gets out of style.

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