Most of us think of something pretty specific when we think of a shirt dress for women, such as a denim garment or a plain white piece that's suitable for the office. We're here to tell you that shirt dresses can be so much more than that, with many options combining functionality and flair to take you from brunch to an evening dinner date.
We've done what we do best, scouring the internet for the most fabulous finds to put together this guide on the top 10 most stylish shirt dresses in the UK. Our recommendations include flowy maxi dresses in pretty patterns, relaxed midi options with a belt, and long-sleeved mini dresses for plus-sized ladies. With cool and breezy pieces available for every budget at John Lewis and ASOS, you might just become a shirt dress convert!
Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes. With 10 years industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling, to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more.
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Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes. With 10 years of industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling, to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more.
Find out more about Melissa via her Instagram or head over to her website where you can see all the expert consultation services she offers - from simply organising your wardrobe space to sourcing those hard to find 'New Season' pieces!
First things first, there are a few crucial things to consider before shopping for a shirt dress. In this section, we'll touch upon the different choices of length, cut, print and materials, to help you find a garment that's chic and easy to take care of.
Deciding whether you'd prefer a mini, midi or maxi-length shirt dress is a good starting point. Mini shirt dresses with long sleeves make for a flirty look that isn't too revealing, while those with a pleated or cinched waist create a flattering shape.
For something demure and relaxed, a knee-length or midi shirt dress looks great for everyday wear, work or even a garden party. If you like to feel a little more covered though — or perhaps you want a bit of a statement piece — there's nothing quite like maxi-length shirt dress to take your look to a new, sophisticated level!
Choosing the length of a shirt dress can also differ depending on your height. Someone more petite should go for a mini to elongate the legs, whereas someone taller might choose to go for a midi or maxi and pair it with trainers for a more casual look. A midi can work for everyone as it gives a more sophisticated look and can be dressed up or down more easily by a change of shoes.
Now we've considered length, it's time to think about the cut — there are a few different choices in the world of shirt dresses. Shirt dresses traditionally have a regular or straight cut, which is similar to that of a regular shirt. In terms of sleeves, they can have long, three-quarter length or short ones.
An oversized or relaxed cut creates a very contemporary shape that suits any body size or shape, making a comfy yet chic outfit. There are also some gorgeous shirt dresses with a more structured cut, some of which are accentuated with a tie-belt for a sleek silhouette that would suit both a beach holiday and a client meeting at work!
Boxy shirt dresses with little shape are great for those bloated days - we all get them! It's always great to have pieces in your wardrobe for days when you have little time to get ready but want to look and feel amazing. A boxy cut or oversized shirt dress is great for this, with little thought or effort but maximum impact.
Structured shirt dresses with waist detailing are perfect for the office or daytime events, again with little effort but a belt tie or just the structure of a dress can cinch in the waist and make you feel amazing.
Let's run through the key prints that you're likely to find online right now, such as stripes, checks, and floral patterns. For an easygoing seaside look, straight candy stripes or nautical navy and white lines are cool choices.
Gingham or a large vintage check can be worn all year round and both patterns have a truly timeless appeal, with the latter being ideal for ladies who love the grunge aesthetic. Pair with Converse or Doc Martens for an outfit with attitude!
Big, bold floral prints are always in too, but if the full-on flower power look is too much there are plenty of shirt dresses with delicate, subtle florals which you may feel more feminine in.
Prints can change the look and feel of a shirt dress - I personally love the gingham print right now with a cowboy boot. Printed floral shirt dresses are really popular right now too and are great for weddings, brunches or fancy events paired with a strappy sandal to dress it up.
Printed shirt dresses are also great for work, they look super cute with a trainer for your commute, throw on a smart flat for the office and a pair of heels for your after-work drinks. So easy to switch up just by changing the accessory.
Looking for a laidback, lightweight piece that's easy to wear? There are endless shirt dress options made from natural materials like cotton and linen. Cotton is breathable, hypoallergenic, and is a great fabric to wear all year round — either by itself or as a layer. Chambray, which is made from plain-weave cotton, is another cool option that looks like denim but feels much softer.
Linen provides a look that's simultaneously rustic and luxe, invoking images of evening walks along the shore and wine on the piazza with friends. Not only is linen rather chic, but it's highly durable, eco-friendly and has moisture-wicking properties too.
Unfortunately though, natural materials — especially linen — can be expensive and don't always provide as much variation in thickness and texture as synthetic fabrics. A blend of synthetics like polyester, viscose and elastane can hence be a good choice if you're on a budget but still seeking a stylish shirt dress that drapes well.
Cotton and linen are really great options for summer, breathable and sustainable! Buying natural fabrics means that you're being kinder to the environment - which is super important. Lots of high street brands are now even using recycled natural fabrics which is even better.
A lot of brands do still use synthetic fabrics and as mentioned above can't be avoided when it comes to certain textures and prints. However, high street brands are also now using recycled synthetics!
Shirt dresses are pretty easygoing garments compared to other types of clothing and while searching the web, we've managed to find ten dresses that are all machine-washable (you're welcome!) and simple to take care of.
When shopping for a shirt dress, it's still best to always check the label for specific care instructions from the brand. Many items require washing at a low temperature such as 30°C and air-drying rather than tumble-drying — this will ensure that they always look their best, even after years of wear!
Caring for your clothes in the correct way according to the care label is vital in keeping them in your wardrobe for as long as possible - sometimes even forever!
If you care, wash it correctly and store it in the right way you will have that loved piece for a long time to come. If something is dry clean only, for example, silks, then make sure you do get it dry cleaned to ensure it stays looking its best.
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Adoni Cotton Poplin Shirt Dress
A Utilitarian Look in Cool Sand
Denim Shirt Dress
An Oversized, Contemporary Take On the Shirt Dress
Linen Midi Shirt Dress
Easy, Free and Breezy In 100% Linen
Evie Striped Linen Shirt Dress
Featuring Classic Candy Stripes for a Nautical Touch
Claudine Floral Print Chiffon Shirt Dress
A Pure Ray of Sunshine in Chartreuse
Collar Detail Shirt Dress
Stay Cool In Blue Cotton Stripes
Shirred Button Through Shirt Dress
Textured Woven Fabric With a Summery Feel
Tall Cotton Mini Shirt Dress
A Classic Fit Made From Organic Cotton
Denim Smock Shirt Dress
Made From Light, Stretchy Chambray
Full Maxi Shirt Dress in Vintage Check
Feel Like a One of a Kind in This Structured Shirt Dress
We love an original take on the shirt dress, and French Connection's Adoni poplin shirt dress hits the nail right on the head. Made from 100% cotton in a soft sand shade, it's a superb addition to any wardrobe — so we just had to put it at the top spot!
It's all about the details with this one, including a cinched waist with adjustable tie, wide three-quarter length sleeves and a loose fit. Neutrals are bang on trend right now (as always), making this utilitarian-style shirt dress an investment piece that you'll be able to wear any time, anywhere!
If you like clothing that's oversized but still has structure, Kin's denim shirt dress is a wardrobe staple that you'll want to wear again and again. With wide three-quarter length sleeves and dropped shoulders, it feels relaxed yet sharp. Plus, it can be worn as a dress or layered with trousers and a chunky knit cardy for year-round wear.
The above-knee length, curved hem and straight style create a flattering shape that looks fantastic on any figure. The dark blue denim material is quite thick too, making it perfect for cooler summer evenings as well as the winter months!
Mango has really come through with a lot of shirt dress options for you to choose from this season, and this lilac linen offering is our favourite! Fitting like a long, straight shirt, it can be worn open over jeans or trousers or by itself with the waist belt tied.
The ultimate in smart casual, this garment is suitable for work, brunch, and relaxed days spent outside in the sun. The two front pockets make it a practical choice too, providing somewhere to stash your purse or phone.
Few things feel more nautical than candy stripes on breezy linen, and Boden's Evie shirt dress will add some coastal chic to your wardrobe. The open V-neck, slightly longer mini length and tie-waist create a stunning silhouette that's incredibly easy to wear.
As it's made from 100% linen, this garment is breathable and lightweight so it's ideal for relaxing in at home or wearing at the beach. It's also simple to care for — just wash at 30°C and air dry to keep the material looking its best.
When you think of a standard shirt dress, utilitarian denim may be what springs to mind. For something a bit more feminine and floaty, the Claudine shirt dress is a fab choice. Hobbs is known for their premium womenswear pieces, and even Kate Middleton herself is a fan of the brand!
Featuring a floral pattern, neat collar and long sleeves, this sunshine yellow dress is perfect for summery days at the beach as well as slightly more formal events. The mini-length inner and maxi chiffon outer layers combine for a look that's sheer elegance from head to toe!
The emergence of cottagecore has once again brought the puritan collar back into style, and this gorgeous dress by New Look features all the current style elements that you've probably seen on your Instagram feed! The blue and white striped cotton material will bring a touch of nautical cool to your wardrobe.
A button-up style front, three-quarter length balloon sleeves and a mini skirt make for an adorable summer look that you'll want to wear every day. Made from a soft, strong, and breathable material, this shirt dress comes in at a truly bargainous price!
One for fans of the babydoll dress who like to keep things casual, this shirred, button-through shirt dress by ASOS DESIGN has the best of both worlds — it's super cute and also feels really comfy.
A shirred, stretch bodice, a high-cut waist and a mini-length skirt create a dreamy, beach-ready outfit, while long balloon sleeves will keep you feeling covered. Despite being made from synthetic materials, this is a light and airy option that'll have you feeling like Brigitte Bardot!
Love a little black number? This cotton mini shirt dress makes a great staple for taller ladies and it's made from organic cotton for a more environmentally-friendly choice that's lightweight too.
The regular cut is combined with long sleeves and a mini-length skirt for a dress that's suitable for the office, lunch dates and strolling around the city. Some shoppers may find the design a bit plain, but we love it — it's simple, wearable and chic!
If you're looking for a shirt dress with inclusive sizing, ASOS is always a great shout! This denim smock number by Simply Be is our favourite plus size option, as the light blue, stretchy chambray is perfect for easygoing day-to-day wear to feel good in.
The smock style feels comfy and relaxed, while soft pleats around the waist create a flattering shape. The skirt is a little short but other than that, this is a great go-to piece that you'll get loads of wear out of — because chambray's always in style!
The most unique and unusual option on our list, this maxi shirt dress in vintage check is a bit of a wildcard. Taking the idea of a shirt dress and pushing it to its limits, Lost Ink has created a structured piece that can be accessorised in various ways depending on the occasion.
Long sleeves combined with a large collar and a front split make this piece a real style statement. However, its bold pattern and structured cut make it one of those dresses that you'll probably have to try on to see if it works, as it won't suit everyone!
"Shirt dresses as I mentioned above are so easy to throw on and I believe everyone should own at least one. By changing the accessories you can completely change the look and wear it for any occasion, if you choose your dress wisely, it can work for the office and the dancefloor!"
Thinking about making a few updates to your wardrobe? Browse our related articles for more ideas and recommendations for key pieces that will help to complete your look, whatever the season!
So, we've reached the end of our guide to the best shirt dresses out there — we hope you've found inspiration amongst our clean, chic and contemporary recommendations. Don't let this classic style pass you by!
Author: Melanie McPhail
No. 1: French Connection｜Adoni Cotton Poplin Shirt Dress
No. 2: Kin｜Denim Shirt Dress
No. 3: Mango｜Linen Midi Shirt Dress
No. 4: Boden｜Evie Striped Linen Shirt Dress
No. 5: Hobbs｜Claudine Floral Print Chiffon Shirt Dress
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