8 of the best shirt dresses that you’ll wear over and over

The best shirt dresses are versatile, flattering and effortlessly stylish. We looked at hundreds and whittled it down to these 8...

3 of the best shirt dresses from Cos, Reiss and H&M on a background with polkadot and star decorations
(Image credit: Future)

As far as cost-per-wear goes, the best shirt dresses for women are a pretty savvy addition to your closet.

Shirt dresses are easy to dress up (add a pair of fancy flats and your best blazer), or dress down (add white trainers backpack). And with some clever layering, they endure in all seasons too. They are the ultimate solution to those frustrating “I’ve-got-a-wardrobe-full-of-clothes-but-nothing-to-wear” days. Aside from your best jeans and a trusty trench coat, few pieces have such exhaustive styling potential.

To get the most out of your new purchase, choose a color or fabric that won’t date by next season. If you have a capsule wardrobe or know what color suits you, keep that in mind when browsing. Otherwise, denim, khaki, and beige are shrewd investments, as the neutral tones will go with most accessories. The same goes for black, navy, and white. For something more playful, look to ditsy florals, deckchair-worthy stripes, and modern geometric prints. 

Where to shop for the best shirt dresses

8 of the best shirt dresses chosen by fashion editors

Cos Print Midi Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Cos)

1. Cos Print Midi Shirt Dress

RRP: $123 / £89
Sizes: US: 2-14 / UK: 6-18
Reasons to buy
+Made from a mix of renewable and biodegradable materials+Half-button design+Flattering and fun print

This updated take on the shirt dress makes it a key staple this season. The fun geometric print is perfect to wear on it's own with ankle boots or swaddled up with a teddy bear coat and a knitted vest over the top. 

H&M+ Shirt Dress

(Image credit: H&M+)

2. H&M tie-belt shirt dress

RRP: $27 / £19.99
Sizes: xl-4xl
Reasons to buy
+Purse-friendly price +Classic black wearable style+Size inclusive

You can't go wrong with a black dress, fact. Need further proof? Just take a look at this winner of a shirt dress found in the H&M+ section. The floaty fabric won't be clingy and the flattering side split is perfect for showing off your best winter boots.

Mango Striped Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Mango)

3. Mango Striped Shirt Dress

RRP: $49.99/ £36
Sizes: US 2-10 / UK 6-14
Reasons to buy
+Could double as a beach cover-up come summer+Flattering oversized shape

This cotton style will work across all seasons with some simple layering. For summer you can, of course, wear it on its own with sandals, for fall, add some thick tights, a chunky knit and stomper boots, which are one of the key shoe trends this year. 

Olive Cala Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Olive Clothing)

4. Olive Venice Shirt Dress

RRP: $109 / £79
Sizes: One Size
Reasons to buy
+Relaxed fit+Neutral shade will go with everything

A neutral tone will work effortlessly with most wardrobes. Wear with your cleanest and best white trainers and tan accessories and layer with a cosy cardigan. 

Reiss Micah Petite Dress

(Image credit: reiss)

5. Reiss Micah Petite Dress

RRP: $430 / £223
Sizes: 0-10 / 4-14
Reasons to buy
+Unique print+Available in petite and regular lengths

Proof florals can also work for fall, this monochrome shirt dress is one that'll stay in your wardrobe for years to come. The A-line style with cool cuffs is available in petite or regular lengths so you can make sure the midi style is the perfect fit. 

Oliver Bonas Corduroy Brown Mini Shirt Dress

(Image credit: oliver bonas)

6. Oliver Bonas Corduroy Brown Mini Shirt Dress

RRP: $96 / £69.50
Sizes: US 2-14 / UK 6-18
Reasons to buy
+Classic corduroy material+On-trend puff sleeves+Easy to wear across all seasons

A mini dress is a key trend this season and the easiest way to wear it is by balancing out the shorter style with long sleeves. This corduroy number will look effortless with a pair of flat riding knee-high boots and one of the best winter coats (we recommend a sleek wool car coat). 

Monsoon Floral Print Hanky Hem Shirt Dress

(Image credit: Monsoon)

7. Monsoon Floral Print Hanky Hem Shirt Dress

RRP: $141 / £99
Sizes : S-XXL
Reasons to buy
+Tapered waist style+made from sustainable materials

Stand out from the crowd in this punchy floral print. The long sleeves are flattering on the arms and the assymetric hem will be perfect draped over a pair of glossy heeled ankle boots. It'll look just as good with a pair of kicks and a blazer, too. And, it's made from sustainable materials.

Next Zipped Midi Shirt Dress

(Image credit: next)

8. Next Zipped Midi Shirt Dress

Price: $53/ £38
Sizes: US: 4-24/ UK: 6-26
Reasons to buy
+Inclusive sizing+Flattering puff sleves and belt tie+Available in regular, tall and petite

A shirt dress doesn't have to have buttons, this easy-to-wear half zip style is a fresh update. The collar still makes it a shirt dress and the puff sleeves and matching belt tie is flattering on everybody. Just as well when it's available in such an inclusive size range and petite, regular, and tall lengths. Well done, Next. 

Are shirt dresses in style?

Yes! They're a wardrobe essential, a timeless piece that never goes out of style. But if you want reassurance, Meghan Markle, who most style enthusiasts agree is a fashion icon, frequently wears them.

How to pick a flattering shirt dress

It’s not just its adaptability that makes the shirt dress one of the best dresses you can buy. They also suit every body type. If you’ve got an athletic or rectangle body shape, wear loose and floaty. Add a waist-whittling belt to draw attention to your best asset if you’ve been blessed with an hourglass shape, and layer your shirt dress unbuttoned over jeans if you’re pear-shaped. Actually, do this anyway, for a fashion-forward take. 

How to style a shirt dress

Once you have found the best shirt dress for you, it's time to think about how to wear it. Here are four styling tips:

  • To look smart: wear your sleeves long and buttoned at the cuffs for a polished look.
  • To look casual: push or roll sleeves up for a chic off-duty look.
  • When it's cold: layer a roll neck underneath
  • When it's warm: just pop on your favourite sandals and go!
Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 

She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!

Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 

The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.