July 17, 2024


Inspired By Shop

How to style a shirt dress + Quince washable silk shirt dress review

9 min read
How to style a shirt dress + Quince washable silk shirt dress review

Happy Tuesday!

Today we are talking about a classic staple that I think has a place in every wardrobe: the shirt dress! Plus, a review of my latest favorite t-shirt dress from Quince, other shirt dress options to suit your personal style and preferences–and some outfit ideas on how to style them!

First thing’s first, let’s talk about different types of shirt dresses, including this washable silk t-shirt dress from Quince. This was a VERY popular request by you guys when I asked you all about the brand on Instagram stories. The short version of the story is–I think it’s absolutely a great buy! Let’s talk more details below.

Is the Quince washable silk shirt dress worth the hype? In my opinion, I think it’s a fantastic buy, especially for the $59 price tag! It feels like WHIPPED BUTTER on your skin–it’s very lightweight but so silky and soft. It’s easy to dress up or down–wear from the office to a vacation or trip!

I also love that it’s shorter but not TOO short to wear to work (I’m 5’6 for height reference) and it’s a relaxed fit but not TOO loose and shapeless to where you feel like you’re wearing a paper bag if you wear it without a belt. It’s slightly tapered to be longer in the back than the front for added coverage.

The best part? It’s WASHABLE. No dry-cleaning necessary! Wash inside out, on cold, with dark colors, and hang to dry. Many of you own this and can verify that it has held up very well over many washes! 🙌🏼

Another option if you’re looking for a more traditional tie-waist, button-front style is the Quince washable silk tie-waist shirt dress! It also has really amazing reviews!

Sizing: TTS, I ordered both small and XS and prefer the small.

A note on sweat: A popular question I received is “does the silk show sweat stains?” the answer is yes. All silk shows sweat stains. Silk is not an absorbent material like cotton. If you sweat a lot, you may want to opt for cotton as silk will show sweat more easily than cotton will!

A couple alternative options if you love wearing silk but deal with sweat stains: you can use garment guards that absorb any sweat to keep it from bleeding through! (I haven’t used these personally so can’t comment, but they seem to have decent reviews!) Another option I’ve seen are these sweat-guard under-tops that have really great reviews!

Shop all colorways of the washable silk t-shirt dress here:

Shop the tie-waist washable silk shirtdress:

t-shirt dress / chambray dress / tie-waist shirt dress / white shirt dress / linen shirt dress /

flowy shirt dress

Types of shirt dresses:

The term “shirt dress” isn’t actually as simple as it sounds. There are LOTS of different types of shirt dresses (and I own several of them and can attest that they are different things!) Here are some popular variations of shirt dress:

T-shirt dress: Like the one I’m styling here, the washable silk t-shirt dress from Quince. (More on that above). This truly feels like a nightgown its so whispy, lightweight and comfortable. There are also lots of great cotton options out there–I love Everlane’s cotton t-shirt dress and have owned one for many years. I find both of these brands to be fairly TTS.

Chambray shirt dress: Another staple shirt dress in any wardrobe is the chambray shirt dress. I love this one from Faherty which is like a chambray/linen and it’s so cute! Again, polished like any shirt dress, but the denim makes it more casual while still being breezy enough to wear on vacation for a day of exploring, or even thrown over a swimsuit!

Tie-waist shirt dress: I think a tie-waist shirt dress is one of the most universally flattering cuts of dress due to the waist definition it provides. I think these styles tend to be slightly more elevated than a t-shirt dress as well, if that’s what you’re looking for! Quince makes a washable silk tie-waist version that looks very pretty and has amazing reviews.

White shirt dress: I love a classic white shirt dress like this one from H&M or this one from Old Navy. Everlane also makes a polished short-sleeve version. It’s a throw-on option that looks instantly elevated, polished, from vacation to the office, and it NEVER goes out of style. The one in my wardrobe is at least 7 years old and is still going strong as a go-to!

Linen shirt dress: A linen shirt dress is a great staple for summer or any warm-weather occasion no matter what time of year it is. This puff sleeve maxi version from Anthro is so pretty, or if you want a more classic short-sleeve fit, this one from J.Crew! This version is also a similar look but gauze, which tends to be softer if you are sensitive to linen fabrics!

Personally, I bought this linen button-down shirt dress from Quince but I’m waiting to see if the linen softens before giving it my stamp of approval–stay tuned! (Many of you said it was worth the “break-in” period but again, I’ll let you know my thoughts soon!)

Flowy shirt dress: I love the look of an oversized or flowy shirt dress–perfect for that ethereal “perfectly undone” vibe. H&M has a really pretty oversized shirt dress!

How to style a shirt dress:

Some tips, if you’re not sure where to start:

Dress up or down with accessories. 

When you go to style a shirt dress, all you need to do is consider the occasion and accessorize accordingly. Formal? Professional? Beachy? Edgy? Preppy? Comfy? Polished? Look for accessories that fit the kind of look you’re trying to achieve–you just need the right pieces layered together and it will work for all of the above. Don’t box in your shirt dress–be adventurous with styling it for different occasions!

Define your waist

Of course, everyone has a different preference and body type–so if you find you aren’t feeling the shapeless look of your shirt dress, or something just feels “meh” and you aren’t sure what it is–you may try to cinch in your waistline to highlight your waist and define your curves!

You can do this through a waist belt or tie. (Some dresses even come with a tie or a little elastic around the waist to do the work for you–but in this case, I’ve used belts! You could even use a silk scarf if you wanted–get creative!)

A defined waist will polish up the dress and give you a flattering silhouette. However, don’t feel like you HAVE to do this–it’s just a helpful starting point! Rest assured, it’s just as stylish and on-trend to keep it shapeless and loose around the waist and hips.

Balance the loose structure

If you have loose flowy fabric, you can contrast it with something more structured. Do this with a heel, a handbag (a belt bag can also define your waist!) or a boxy jacket. If you go with a jacket, choose a shorter/cut-off length that highlights your waist. You can also go with a longer cardigan or jacket paired with a shorter shirt dress (like I did below). Remember the juxtaposition rule? This comes into play here: use contrasting styles, cuts, and proportions to your advantage to make your outfit more interesting!

Wear a coat or tights to add warmth

There is no reason you can’t style a shirt dress for winter and fall. (Or you know, a freezing spring day if you live here in Chicago?) I love contrasting a shorter length dress with a long coat (the contrasting lengths is chic and dramatic!) You can even layer a jacket underneath a spring coat for more warmth without the bulk. You can layer on an army jacket for a utilitarian vibe. Cover up bare legs with tights (love these opaque faux sheer tights for extra warmth!) or tall or over-the-knee boots. 

Use it as a swimsuit cover up. 

Think out of the box with the occasions and ways and occasions you style your shirt dress! One of my favorite ways to do this is to wear it over a suit. If you love to hit the beach, lake-front, river-front, the pool–wherever–a shirt dress can work great as a swimsuit cover up! (Another reason I think they’re excellent for travel–you can wear them for so many things!)

They’re thin enough to roll and pack in your bag and you can throw them over your suit and look instantly put together for lunch even if you’re dripping wet!

5 Shirt Dress Outfit Ideas

Not sure where to begin styling your shirt dress? Here are some ideas to copy! You’ll notice that all it takes is a change of accessories to completely change the outfit. Note, these ideas will totally work no matter what kind of shirt dress you’re wearing.

Quince shirt dress (TTS, wearing small–comes in tons of colors!), Quince boyfriend cashmere cardigan (reviewed here!), Freda Salvador Eda sneakers (reviewed here!)

Whether you’re working from home, heading into a casual office, running out for a coffee meeting, or just heading to the grocery store–this is an easy, pulled together look that is casual and comfortable! Just throw on an oversized cardigan (reviewed here, also quince!) and some sneakers and you’re good to go. Some flat sandals would also totally work here too–these gold buckle Birkenstocks are one of my favorite go-to’s.

Quince shirt dress (TTS, wearing small–comes in tons of colors!), Quince boyfriend cashmere cardigan (reviewed here!), similar cap toe heels, J.Crew belt

Same dress, same cardigan, totally different look! Dress it up for a meeting by swapping casual flat shoes for some polished cap-toe’s. Adding a belt to cinch the waist takes it from looking casual to professional.

Quince shirt dress (TTS, wearing small–comes in tons of colors!), One Third jacket (I think it runs a bit small, I like to size up to M), similar cap toe heels

Need to dress it up even more? Swap the more casual oversized sweater for a structured jacket. (I love this jacket from One Third, my friend Anna’s company! Major Chanel vibes!) I removed the belt here to show that a cropped jacket specifically can be used in place of a belt to define the waist to make your outfit more polished.

Quince shirt dress (TTS, wearing small–comes in tons of colors!), ABLE Bailey jean jacket (I like to size up to medium for extra room–use code JESSKEYS15 for 15% off!), Freda Salvador Eda sneakers (reviewed here!), Similar neck scarf here, Ray Ban sunnies

The perfect outfit for a European vacation or even a day of mom life! Basically my trip uniform: a jean jacket (reviewed here!), a neck scarf, and comfy white sneakers. An easy outfit you can wear all day, log lots of miles in, and wear straight to dinner without needing to go back to the hotel to change!

Quince shirt dress (TTS, wearing small–comes in tons of colors!), Amazon strappy sandals, Sezane Artemis belt, ABLE Maha leather jacket (use JESSKEYS15 for 15% off) but I also love Quince’s Moto jacket! (Both are TTS and I like to size up to medium for both for a bit of extra room)

Last but not least, you can even dress it up for a night out! A great trick for zshushing up any shirt dress for a night out–use a belt to make the hemline shorter! Just pull the material up and out a bit (like you would after tucking in a shirt) and it can make it several inches shorter! Play around with it, add a pair of heels, and BOOM–feminine, a little sexy, and perfect for a dinner date. Add a leather jacket so you have some long sleeves just in case it gets chilly at night!

Hope this gave you some great style inspo for how to wear your favorite shirt dress no matter what time of year it is!

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