I’ve been helping many clients prep for vacations over the past few weeks, and they all face the same challenges:
- Figuring out what works best for the destination, weather and activities
- Picking items that they’ll feel great in, and committing to them before the trip even begins
- Making versatile choices, so that everything we pick can be worn twice or three times during the trip – to maximize use and minimize bag size.
Luckily, I have a lot of packing experience, especially with maximizing versatility – after all, versatility is the basis of a great wardrobe! So of course, we select pieces that can be worn many times during the trip – the perfect white jeans that go with a multitude of tops, or the amazing shirt that works with both shorts and summer skirts. But what I love most are items that do true double or triple duty – styles that you can wear different ways during the trip for the ultimate in functionality.
One of my perennial favorite styles for the season is a lightweight shirtdress, and there’s no time that it shows its multi-functionality more than on vacation. How many different ways can you wear a shirtdress on one summer trip? At least three!
Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom, to see some of my favorite shirtdresses, currently in stores.
AS A DRESS
The most obvious way to wear a shirtdress is as a straightforward dress. It’s one of those classic pieces that never goes out of style, and the great news this year is that it’s totally on trend – so there are a myriad of choices in stores. For ultimate vacation versatility, remember a few things:
- A dress that buttons all the way from collar to hem is the most multi-purpose (especially for the other two ways you’ll wear it below).
- If your dress comes with those pesky loops and a matching belt – lose the loops. Then you can wear the belt at YOUR waist and at the height that works for YOUR figure, and not where the designer says your waist should be.
- If your dress comes with those pesky loops and a matching belt – ditch the belt. Replacing the belt with a streamlined leather option or fun summer choice not only adds some style, but it makes the dress look more expensive.
AS A POOL COVER-UP
Pool cover-ups are a much needed warm-weather vacation item, because who wants to be the woman strolling through the hotel lobby in a bikini?? The nice thing is that there are many different items in your closet that can function as a cover to your swimsuit – a long button-down shirt, a knit sundress, or a t-shirt and shorts. So you don’t necessarily need to buy or bring something that’s just made for coverage at the beach or pool – you can use something that’s already in your wardrobe and suitcase.
One of the reasons I love a shirtdress as a cover up is that you can show as much (or as little) skin as you like. Leave it mostly unbuttoned when you’re lounging on the deck, or button it up when you’re heading to the run a midday errand – it’s good either way.
AS A LIGHTWEIGHT JACKET
Most of my clients are surprised when I bring up wearing a shirtdress as a lightweight jacket – but once they see it, they love it. It’s unexpected, but definitely comes in handy when you’re trying to squeeze a week’s worth of clothes into a carry on.
The shirtdress-as-jacket idea works best with:
- Dresses that are a straight silhouette, as opposed to fit and flare.
- Dresses that unbutton all the way down. But you can definitely wear a shirtdress that pulls over your head as a tunic top, as well.
- Dresses with an undefined waist or drawstring waist ones.
And the outfit is pretty straightforward – start with a slim-fitting top or tank, add slim pants, and throw on the shirtdress as your third piece. It works with sleeved or sleeveless styles, and in addition to versatility, it also adds length to your frame.
Check out my favorite shirtdresses below (click to shop), and click here to see how I showed a client to wear her basic black shirtdress from April through September!