Shift between work and party in a shift dress!
If you aren't quite familiar with the term, let’s define it neatly. A shift dress is a short, dress that hangs from the shoulders. Popular since the 1960s, it is a completely fuss-free kind of dress whose USP is in the fact that as much as it serves as a party wear, you can even wear it to work! Short and straight with a simple line, it has side panels which hold the dress together, otherwise hanging loose from the shoulders. It can also be worn with stockings to suit the decorum of a workplace.
The shift dress has probably been named so because of two reasons. Firstly, since it is not a very body-hugging or detailed dress, it is quite comfortable to shift or move around in it; secondly, it also signifies a shift in culture- American youth culture had reached its peak when the this kind of dress gained popularity in the late 1950s. It was thus considered as a representation of the free-thinking, youthful and revolutionary attitudes that proliferated during that era. The shift dress is characterised by a simple, above-the-knee dress, whose bust is fitted with darts, and the skirt portion is either cut in a straight fashion or with a narrow A-line shape. This type of dress does not define the waist, which in fact lends it a silhouette starkly different from the cinched-waist styles that were in fashion for women. Though it is typically sleeveless, but women who harness its utility as office wear prefer the short-sleeve or long-sleeve versions for a more sedate look.
Women with a boyish shape find shift dress to be a very good option because of its narrow cut; however, those with an hourglass shape might find it difficult to fit into one, as the straightness of the dress fits tightly at the hips but loosely at the waist. Especially when the dress is made of polyester material or any such fabric that lacks elasticity, the non-tapered waist and angular cut does not fit very well on body types other than those with a thin frame. You can wear it with a belt to accentuate your waist. What’s better, while the sleeveless cotton versions are popular in summer, it can easily be transformed into winter wear as well, by wearing it with tights. Fashion stalwarts Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy were seen in sleeveless shift dresses, both on-screen and off. First lady Michelle Obama also wore a similar black one in her first official White House portrait. She has often been spotted in shift dresses paired with cardigans.
When wearing to office, layer it over a turtleneck or t-shirt and team it with knee socks. On the other hand, when you have to paint the town red, choose a contemporary one with embellishments and slight variations in cut and design that will be a breakaway from the otherwise lack of detail and generous cut that it has. They also come with different necklines, which are to be chosen keeping in mind your body shape. Patterns and colours on a shift dress can downplay the problem areas, while right accessorizing will turn it into a spectacular apparel! The versatility must never be lost sight of- this is the one dress that you can wear from office to a dinner party. Go get one and rock both the spheres- to set both your colleagues and friends in awe of your fashion sense!