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Outfit Formula: The Shirt Dress

The Shirt Dress is a timeless staple that’s been regaining popularity over the past few years.

Unfortunately, many of the reimagined styles we see in stores look like oversized men’s shirts with belts.

And I don’t know about you but I don’t want to look like I forgot my pants.

But today’s key piece in our Outfit Formula is a classic, flattering cut, that shapes the shoulder, pulls the waist in and falls beautifully from the hips. 

And if all that isn’t enough, it has pockets, too.

Let’s get dressed.

Outfit Formula #23: The Shirt Dress

Black Shirt dress and pearl jacket studs with either beige block heels and a beige ruched bag or a black crossbody and black and white sneakers


Shirt Dress, $125 | Block Heel Sandal, $90 with Ruched Handbag, $67 |  Sneakers, $140  with Crossbody Bag, $128 | Pearl Ear Jacket Studs, $148 

Let’s start with the dress, a cotton blend option available in navy and black, in sizes 00 – 18.

This dress style works best for a pear, rectangle and hourglass shape. 

For the pear shape, it defines the shoulder, helping balance out the hips. And the fullness of the skirt works well with wider hips. 

For the rectangle, the pulled-in waist and full skirt create more shape to a body type that is more straight up and down (me). 

For the hourglass, the design is a dream if your shape is naturally balanced, as it will highlight your curves and smaller waist. 

Please note, I’ll update with an appropriate plus option once I find one I’m willing to recommend. Right now the options are terrible. 

What’s lovely about this kind of dress in your closet is that you can dress it up or down. 

So let’s do just that. 

First, add a sandal and a cute bag. 

I featured these Cole Haan block heel sandals a few months ago after buying them myself. I wore them a few times last week and was thrilled with the comfort factor. Sizes are limited, but if they have your size, they are worth it. 

They go with the black or navy version of the dress. 

Then this ruched hobo-style shoulder bag has been all over my social feeds, so I ordered it to see what the big deal was. Happy to report I was very impressed with the quality. I like it as an alternative to a clutch—lots of color options

To style it casually, you only need a pair of sneakers and a sporty bag. 

Here, I’m wearing black and white Veja sneakers for no other reason than I think they look fantastic. If you already bought a pair of crisp white sneakers, they would look great here. 

Then, I found this black and white crossbody bag at Madewell. Easy-peasy.

Finally, for both looks, I love these pearl earring jackets by Mejuri. I’m working on updating our post about creating a jewelry capsule, and these will be front and center. They are the perfect pearl stud done in a modern way. 

52 Outfits in 2022!

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Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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Outfit Formula: The Shirt Dress

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Teresa Billings

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Why am I not receiving the Outfit Formulas in my email? The last one I received was the last of June!

Megan Kristel

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Please be kind, as I noted in several emails we put them on pause for a few weeks mid summer to give room for the Nordstrom Sale and Amazon Prime Days so we didn't overwhelm readers. A new one will be posted tomorrow.

Leanne Johnston

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

Talbots. They usually have plus sized shirt dresses that are adorable. But sizes go fast so if you see your size grab it!

Alison Hartzler

Thursday 16th of June 2022

This dress is so beautiful and classic! I jumped on it right away and only black was available in my size ( which I’m not sad about). Looking forward to trying this dress on and styling it. Thanks for this great find!!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Thanks Alison!!! I hope you love it!


Thursday 16th of June 2022

Check out for other shirtdress options in many sizes and you can change options too. Magnificent workmanship and quick turnaround. Various fabric options too.


Thursday 16th of June 2022

@Beth, WOW! I wasn't familiar with eShakti until I saw your comment. The site looks amazing! I love how many different ways you can customize a dress. Thank you so much for mentioning eShakti!


Thursday 16th of June 2022

@Beth I loooove eShakti! I'm petite but with a larger bust, and most manufacturers seem to equate petite with tiny all over. I pretty much only buy dresses from them now. It's a flawless fit every time, if you start with accurate measurements.