Appropriately named the “shift dress”, this never aging look shifts itself through decades of fashion maintaining glamour, style and function. That’s my definition, which personally I like more than the two real ones:

The dress easily moves, or “shifts”, when dancing. 2- The dress symbolizes the “shift” in culture during the 1960s, embodying the free spirit and revolution of the time.

Shift dress vintage (2)

The simple silhouette originally broke onto the scene in the 1920s with dancing flappers. It defied social norms with short length (relatively speaking), flashy embellishments, and a baggy structure. However, it was during the 1960s when the dress revived itself with a casual, and even shorter, aesthetic. Sadly, its counterpart accessory, the sequin feather headband, did not make it.

Shift dress vintage (2)

Some say the shift was the invention of American designer, Lilly Pulitzer, who created the dress using colourful fabric to disguise stains on her clothing from a job at an orange juice stand. After receiving loads of positive feedback, she ditched her job juicing to popularize the dress. While this is a nice “happily ever after”, others would argue the design is actually a compromise of the Givenchy sack dress and the at-the-time popular 1950’s sheath dress. Either way, short and shapeless soon contaminated the fashion world.

Leading ladies, Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn glamorized the 60’s style. British icons, Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton looked fabulous flaunting lean arms and legs in the loose mini dress. The shift is now well-known as a distinct style associated with the mod-era.

Lilly Pulitzer, shift dress

Celebrities That Wear Shift Dresses

Fast forward through the years and you’ll see plenty of style icons and runway models continuing to strut the shift dress. Most recently British designers Victoria Beckham and Christopher Kane featured versions of the vintage design into their Spring/Summer way back in 2012 collections.

Modern-day fashion royalty, Kate Middleton, also elegantly wears the classic.

kate Middleton Shift dress

The straight shape hides the curvy feminine physique, but provides balance and narrows the body. Shifting focus to highlight limbs, the dress shows a different kind of sexy, flattering most body shapes. Aside from the chic aesthetic, it is also an easy outfit choice. The original appeal of versatility and comfort in the ’60s didn’t fade over time. Women still adapt the practical style from season to season; day to night; an occasion to occasion. Business meetings, holiday parties, a walk in the park, you name it.

Dress it up or down; you’ll still vibe flirty and playful. Pair tights and a tailored blazer when it’s cold then ditch the layers to bare all with sandals when it’s warm. If you must show the bod’, add a belt for definition.

shift dress kate middleton with stockings

Vintage Shift Dresses To Buy

If you’re looking for an authentic shift dress from the ’60s, browse neighborhood vintage shops like Pop BoutiqueOne of a Kind, or Rellik.

Try any high street brands or order a shift dres for a more current design.

The shift dress is a wardrobe staple, uniting chic, and versatility into one perfect little dress. Revert to a mod or stay modern; the shift dress is a vintage classic that can be worn by anyone for any occasion.

Make sure your invisible zip is robust for often wearability.