Belt On That Shirtdress

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With relaxed fits that suit all body types, thank goodness loose shirtdresses (also known as shirtwaist or shirtmaker dresses) have enjoyed heightened popularity recently. With practical origins dating back to early 20th century nurses uniforms and subsequent design modifications made for sports in the 1920s, shirtdresses already had a solid applicability to both work and leisurely activities when life magazine featured them in a famous 1941 spread. By the 1950s, these versatile pieces became a staple of women's closets. As materials changed over subsequent decades, cuts and styles changed. Over the past few years, synthetic materials and form fitting cuts have given way to lighter materials with looser fits, something that I have to admit I had reservations about initially.

This shirtdress is my absolute favorite. It is extremely soft and comfortable owing to the fabric of the year: chambray. My love for chambray is no secret (in fact, I wrote my first ever blog on a chambray shirt. Read it here: Chambray On!) Seeing the dress hanging at White House Black Market, I was initially skeptical about whether the dress would look too frumpy or boxy. But just like my chambray shirt, this chambray shirtdress has a lot to offer. It's soft and light to the touch from a delicate crisscross weave; this weave also makes the fabric resistant to wrinkling, giving a carefree yet chic look that lasts all day. While I have yet to wear it to work, it has been great for days spent running errands, going out to dinner, and is a nice dress for vacationing when having versatile pieces can lighten your luggage load. These pictures are from a recent trip to Kansas City where the dress was perfect for a day full of walking in the summertime heat. 

I usually mention accessories in my posts, but in this post I find I need to mention the detailing of the dress included a belt made of the same material. Finding the right belt is such a difficult task that I've found myself turning away from a dress to save myself from the hassle.

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Some thoughts: 

• If you haven't tried out chambray yet, hit the stores now! The fabric of the year is on sale especially at the end of the season. It's the perfect blend of a carefree casual fabric like denim with a refined softness and delicacy of a fabric like silk.

• Wearing a relaxed fit shirtdress won't mean you will look frumpy or boxy. Most shirtdresses are best worn with a belt, an item that can be figure flattering, but can also sometimes be hard to find. Though any belt will do, I prefer one that comes with the outfit.

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