Photos: Dvora @fashionistable

I’ve worn this shirt dress to a meeting, to a cocktail party and to travel in. It’s a go-anywhere, do-everything style that is both wafty and smart and doesn’t wilt in a heatwave. Result. The DKNY cotton poplin shirt dress cost more than I would normally spend on a frock but it’s incredibly versatile, the longer hemline at the back covers my varicose veins and this style works equally well with sandals. In fact, I was wearing mine with flat sandals to travel in and received a lovely compliment from a reader who spotted me in Athens airport. I just hope that this was before Mr TNMA realised he’d left his reading glasses in the front pocket of an EasyJet plane and we legged it through the airport in a mad panic. Still waiting to hear…In a topsy-turvy twist, it was so hot when we left London the heat on the tarmac before boarding at Heathrow was hotter than when we disembarked in Athens. Fancy that.


The white leather lace-ups are an old pair from Hobbs and my immediate thought on seeing this photo was that they’re practically the same colour as my legs. Should’ve bought some Legology

Clarks has a white leather brogue (HERE) and I’m a big fan of Grenson shoes  – there’s a lovely pair HERE and this pair are pale blue but they’d do the job or try the Grenson website.


Oh and I’ve received a couple of messages about problems with my RSS feed sending blog posts as a digested list, this is something I’m looking into. Thanks for letting me know.


31 thoughts on “What to wear right now: a shirt dress

  1. I’ve always had a shirt dress or two in my closet, but they never got worn much. Until I finally realized I could wear them as a jacket too!!

  2. How chic you look – in my humble more than any of those images I saw on the DT site from Ladies Day at Ascot (I was spitting feathers, even showed them to my husband I was so cross with lack of style, elegance, fun and outrageous amounts of money spent….)

    I recently met a Russian girl at a fair last week wearing THE most gorgeous blue and white shirt dress – voluminous beautiful cotton –
    I am so kicking myself for not asking her where it was from

  3. The background setting is phenomenal and so is your outfit. I don’t want to analyze it too much. The dress is divine but I love it more with the white shoes. Is it because your hair is a light tone? Anyway, it suits you very well, elegant and easy.

  4. Lovely dress Alyson. In my opinion you cannot beat a Samantha Sung Audrey dress in terms of getting a huge bang for your buck. Also if you want some amazing pradaesque white brogues the M&S Collection white brogue at £59 is the one. I get asked where they are from EVERY time I wear mine….and they are super comfy too.

  5. I like them and I love wearing over some fitted or comfy trousers with the same color so to help my curvy body.

  6. I really love a good shirt dress. Actually bought one this week from Irish designer Helen Mcalinden. Georgeous orange with a wide tie-belt at the waist. Poplin cotton, fully lined. Rather expensive, but on sale. Can’t wait to wear it!

  7. I must be learning from you Alyson, the Clarks white brogues arrived two days ago, I shall be teaming them with my black cropped flares, bought after one of your earlier posts. Having followed your blog for sometime now, I find myself thinking, would Alyson wear that…?

  8. You look lovely, Alyson. Your hair is stunning, and the dress/shoes complete the look. Love the slouchiness! Unfortunately if I wore that outfit, with my short, round, shape, I’d look like a bag lady! I need la slimmer line, and have worked out that shirt dresses without the belt and just touching the knee, can look like a chic shift. I am experimenting with flatter shoes and indeed bought a pair of M&S brogues…in gold!

  9. You do look amazing in the photos and the shirt dress is lovely and so are the shoes; both of which I would wear in a heartbeat! BUT your hair is the winner in this post! I have a theory about going grey…it’s like when a woman is pregnant (I know that’s quite a leap but come along I’ll get there!) When a woman is pregnant she has this glow that comes over her and my theory is that when one lets her
    hair go to it’s natural colour the said woman has that same glow…her hair and her skin match in a way that hair dye has trouble replicating. So there you have it. This is the most grey I’ve seen on you and it looks amazing! Sayonara blonde bits. xo a fan from across the pond in Canada

    1. Couldn’t agree more with your ‘grey theory’, Alison. Suddenly you match yourself where hair dye needs constant tweaking and still looks out of kilter. Perhaps nature really does know best?

  10. The dress is great on you, and I love it with the white oxfords and your hair pulled back. A lovely neat and casual look.

  11. I love the dress, and the shoes are lovely . You always look great I too have varicose veins so know where you’re coming from !! , enjoy your holiday , I’m visiting London from Melbourne late August and will definitely be looking out for those shoes . Safe travels

  12. Beautiful photos Alyson, adore your hair up & the dress is simple chic at it’s best. Agree with Catherine about Samantha Sung, I have one of her classic dresses & it never dates. Still, you just can’t beat a well contructed shirt dress imo.

  13. I have just bought a shirt dress, but being not very slim around the middle, tied the belt around the back, so giving some shape with out emphasising the middle. Have had loads of compliments

  14. Looks brilliant, if like me you are what’s politely referred to as an apple shape (otherwise known as a bit tubby round the middle) Whistles produce a great compromise the Lola dress which they have had for several seasons now. It has a shirt dress neckline but a tunic shape. I wear it over trousers most of the year or on it’s own if it’s really hot like last week.

  15. I love the thought of shirt dresses – just like I love the thought of shirts – but I have narrow shoulders and I have never found a shirt/dress that sits properly. Most are cut for wider, or even very wide shouldered women and if you have narrow shoulders the neck never sits right. Actually I find this one of the most annoying things about buying clothes. Anything tailored, especially coats and jackets, won’t fit around the shoulders (or if I size down, it doesn’t fit anywhere else). It’s really annoying, and I’ve never seen it picked up as a problem, though it must affect quite a few people.

  16. This looks great. I always think that the British really struggle with summer clothing…with deleterious results. Whilst browsing around the shops yesterday I noticed a few shops that were obviously aimed at older women and the overwhelming motif was: cover up. So many baggy layers. It looked exhausting. But this is really simple and elegant, which is what we are really after, surely?

  17. Enjoy your holiday Alyson. Weather cooling here after being so hot true summer dresses and sandals were the only thing to wear. I agree with some of the comments here. If one has a bosom and thicker waist than one used to wearing a baggy dress tied in the middle is not flattering. I have several shirt dresses and they are the perfect thing to throw on. And dress up or down. I used to put a belt loosely around hips with a celadon linen one. When I saw a photo of myself on holiday feeling good but looking too bulky I had it taken in. Darts at the back waist only so it lies flat at front. Far more flattering shape now with a modest alteration. No belt. Another dress is a wonderful burnt orange poplin long with a slim silhouette and self ties at waist level. This is more flattering and doesn’t need tying too tightly. It’s a question of trial and error until one feels comfortable and not self conscious.
    With regards sandals a good source is Shoon. They stock all comfy attractive brands. I wear fit flops, Birkenstock, Think, Ecco and Arche. All good for colour, style and comfort.

  18. You look lovely! Had to laugh re temperature in London…we were there last week (I’m American & live in Texas, which is normally very hot). Hate to complain, because we were happy that it didn’t rain, but were struggling a bit with non-air-conditioned stores. My daughters & I wanted to go to Debenhams on Oxford Street, but they have no A/C! By the time we got up to the third floor, we were so hot we turned around & went out! Being from Texas, we can handle it being hot outside, but being in a stuffy hot store is miserable. We went to see the Princess Diana dress exhibit at Kensington Palace too, which was lovely, but no A/C there either! They did have lots of fans though.

  19. How wonderful to see varicose veins mentioned in a fashion blog! They, along with spider veins (which I have), are something I know many older women deal with, but no one talks about how to dress to hide them. (Except you just did.) I haven’t worn shorts, dresses or skirts in years because I am self-conscious about my veiny legs. I know tights and dark hose hide them in fall and winter, but what to do in spring and summer?

    1. The Spider Vein phrase!! I have to wear variations of trousers all summer because of these damn spider veins (mine are morphing into tarantula veins plus, as mentioned before, UGLY fungal toe infection. So it is trousers and closed shoes for me all summer. Do I feel sorry for myelf – resounding YES!

Leave a Reply

Thank you for commenting but please be respectful and considerate.
If you want to be in my gang, play nice.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *