Trends in Japan > Fashion > Two Styles In One
Shirt Dresses Win Favor for Their Versatility
(July 26, 2007)

Shirt dresses have become a hit this spring and summer, adding momentum to the trend in one-piece dresses that began a few seasons ago. Women from all walks of life, from the teenage girls who gather in Tokyo's Harajuku district and the "gals" of Shibuya - with their taste for tanned skin, makeup, and flashy clothes - to working women and middle-aged homemakers, are discovering the appeal of these dresses. Women like these garments because they are easy to wear, more versatile, and less expensive than dresses, though they cost slightly more than shirts.


A shirt dress with a classy look (©RIOMARU)


Shirt dresses look great with long necklaces (©RIOMARU)

A Shirt Dress for Every Occasion
Shirt dresses are essentially long shirts or blouses with a casual look that can be worn on their own or coordinated with another item. The frontrunners in this season's lineup are shirts and blouses with long hemlines and tunic-type dresses. Some are made out of cotton, denim, and other natural materials while others feature a feminine chiffon fabric with lace, frills, puffed sleeves, and ribbons. The patterns most commonly seen are stripes, flowers, polka dots, and checks.

The main reason for shirt dresses' popularity is the myriad of ways in which they can be worn. They make a great one-piece dress and can also be turned into office wear with the addition of a jacket or cardigan. They look good over leggings, skinny jeans, cropped pants, and other slim-line bottoms and enable women who are self-conscious about their legs to cover up.

Shirt dresses can be used as outerwear in place of a light coat or jacket by undoing all the front buttons. They can be coordinated with a vest or sleeveless parka for a cute, layered look. And they provide the perfect backdrop for accessories, including this season's long necklaces and belts that accent the waist.


A dot-dobby striped dress (©RIOMARU)

Hybrid Products Lead the Pack
Shirt dresses top the list of items that are a focus of attention this season. Other hits include outerwear that is a cross between a coat and jacket, sleek silhouette coat dresses that can be used as both a coat and dress, and jakka, which bring together the qualities of a jacket and blouson top. Hybrid shoes have also appeared, with open-toe "pandals" that are a blend of pumps and sandals. Women today are drawn to items like these that cross two very different items like an outer and an inner or a top and a bottom but offer the functionality of both.

When it comes to shirt dresses and other innovative items, there are no hard and fast rules on how they should be worn, and a single garment often provides the advantages of two styles. This utility and versatility seem to be just what women today are looking for.

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