A shift dress is a dress that hangs loose at the shoulders with a straight cut and doesn't cinch the waist or hug a woman's figure, instead it is designed to be simple yet sophisticated and wearable by women of different body types. Shift dresses can have short sleeves or long sleeves and can be of various lengths but they are typically plain with no detailing other than side panels and breast darts. They have entered the fashion scene frequently over the decades due to their versatility in wear under or over garments-known as layering.
Shift dresses became popular in the 1960s and became an iconic fashion style as they were adored by public figures Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy who were renown for their sleeveless, knee-length shifts with high collars. During the 1990s, shift dresses were commonly worn over turtle necks or t-shirts for business wear, before they were revived in their original form without the layering a few years ago. Michelle Obama wore a shift in the family's first official portrait at the White House.
The shift dress is most flattering on slender petite women with apple, hourglass or rectangle body shapes because pear-shaped women find the fitting restrictive around the hip region. The boxy cut and short hemlines may not appeal to older women so shift dresses are notoriously worn by younger women. Every petite woman needs a single coloured shift dress in her wardrobe as they are timeless wardrobe staples worth hanging on to because they will certainly come back into fashion as quick as they go out. They can be worn throughout the year; with sandals in the summer, boots and a coat in winter, with a cardigan or turtle-neck in autumn and a shirt or scarf with heels in spring. A shift dress moves easily from day to night and is appropriate for wear on any occasion, which is why you'll find petite Victoria Beckham in a shift on numerous occasions
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