Not to boast, but when I wore this dress to work, I was showered with compliments. “Love your shirtdress” became the greeting of the day. More inquisitive co-workers, though, wanted to know where I got it. “Is this one piece? Is this the dress from Derek Lam 10 Crosby?” Surprise! It’s actually two button-down shirts that I fashioned into a dress like the resourceful style-savvy MacGyver that I am.
Like its abbreviated counterpart—the button-down shirt—the shirtdress is a classic, a wardrobe staple with the power to hit you with an instant dose of polish. For this reason, it’s been reinvented and reimagined a million-and-one different ways. It’s especially true this season, with an influx of modern-day takes from both established designers like Jason Wu and Narciso Rodriguez and new labels like Monse, which debuted its first collection with plays on shirting, manipulating traditional elements in unconventional ways (sleeves as necklines, sleeves as a twisted tie-waist detail, and so on).
And so with the runway as my inspiration, I took it upon myself to DIY a shirtdress (a shirtdress, I might add, that we’ve previously featured as a work wardrobe must-have) from shirts I already own. And this how I did it.
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1. Choose the shirt you want to wear on top and button it all the way up. I wore a plain blue one from Zara (here’s a similar style).
2. Select a second shirt (stick to the same color palette or experiment with different prints—endless combinations here). Since this is your bottom, I’d recommend an oversized one, so that it’s slightly longer in length (I opted for my boyfriend’s striped J. Crew Oxford shirt, but a shorter shirtdress can work too). I also slipped on a pair of bike shorts underneath for protection against accidental wardrobe malfunctions. Better safe than sorry, right?
3. Start buttoning your second shirt from the bottom up—until you can’t button it anymore.
4. Smooth down the collar, so that it presses flat against your back. Bring the sleeves around your waist, and knot.
5. Smooth out creases along the sleeve, so that it drapes evenly on both sides.
Voilà! Expect compliments and an inflated ego.