Why The Shirtdress Is Your Spring Secret Weapon

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Forget everything you know about the shirtdress. This season, the once-prim staple is getting a chic makeover—while still staying true to its preppy, menswear-inspired roots. “A shirtdress is about the contrast between masculine and feminine,” says No. 21 creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who showed luxe, bejeweled versions for spring. “For my designs, I used cotton typically associated with men’s shirting but added Swarovski crystal embellishments to give each garment a touch of sensuality.” In addition to Dell’Acqua’s creations, the runways also brought us silky, cape-backed, bibbed variations at Balenciaga, crisp blue oxfords with asymmetrical buttons at Dior and blousy, full-skirted interpretations in clean white at Nina Ricci.

But while the piece may have been reimagined this season, its versatility remains intact. “You can basically wear a shirtdress everywhere,” says stylist Stella Greenspan, who chose the short-sleeved, pleated iteration shown on the previous page. “It transitions from work to weekend effortlessly and pairs well with pretty much any accessory. You always look perfectly put together.” In short, there’s nothing easier to pull off.

Try a lightweight shirtdress with pumps and a blazer for the office. Wear one with canvas sneakers and a bucket bag on the weekends, or with a sleek envelope clutch and bejeweled statement necklace for drinks. And keep it in mind as the weather warms up and invites to the beach start filling your in-box. “It’s easy, it’s flattering—and it takes up no room in your suitcase,” says Greenspan. “It’s the perfect piece to travel with.”

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