Summer to Fall: The White Shirtdress

With the right layering pieces, a summer shirtdress can transition into your fall wardrobe.

Every season has its “it” staple — that one piece that surfaces on every magazine model, style blogger and mall mannequin. This summer, it was the white shirtdress. I’m still unclear what sparked the shirtdress renaissance. (Ralph Lauren and Lacoste have been churning them out for years.) I resisted the trend for months — I was sure I’d resemble a deranged schoolgirl or candy striper.

Don't kid yourself: These dresses are basically the same. Left: Ja'mie: Private School Girl | Right: $325 Burberry Shirtdress
Don’t kid yourself: These dresses are basically the same. Left: HBO’s Ja’mie: Private School Girl | Right: $325 Burberry Shirtdress

But by the end of the summer, I hitched a ride on the bandwagon. I made a few adjustments, of course — most shirtdresses are sheer and very short, so I ordered a size up and always wear a slip.

Two ways I wore a shirtdress this summer. Shirtdress: 10 Crosby-Derek Lam | Platforms: Missoni (Consignment) | Belt on Right: YSL (Consignment)
Two ways I wore a shirtdress this summer. Shirtdress: 10 Crosby-Derek Lam | Platforms: Missoni (Consignment) | Belt on Right: YSL (Consignment)
But my most important tweak to the style? Layers, and lots of them. (Interestingly, multidimensional layers are the new “it” staple for fall.)

Today’s look nixes traditional proportions and adds intricacy — without any fussiness.

White Shirtdress: 10-Crosby Derek Lam | Cropped Sweater: Topshop | Leather Jacket: Zara (circa 2003) | Handbag: Kenneth Cole (circa 2000) | Loafers: Isabel Marant (Barneys)
White Shirtdress: 10-Crosby Derek Lam (Les Nouvelles) | Cropped Sweater: Topshop | Leather Jacket: Zara (circa 2003) | Handbag: Kenneth Cole (circa 2000) | Loafers: Isabel Marant (Barneys)

As the temperature drops, cropped sweaters are quickly becoming my closet MVPs. The sweater’s abbreviated proportions lend themselves well to extending the shelf-life of any high-wasted dress or skirt you’ve got squirreled away in your closet.

I’ve worn this affordable Topshop version three times in the last two weeks — which means more colors and fabrics will likely end up in my closet by season’s end. And one more bonus? It may stave off the necessity for the dreaded “garbage bag jacket” until 2015. (Fingers crossed.)

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