No, the shirt dress doesn't mean stealing your boyfriend's and wearing it in public. It's true, the shirt dress derived from men's shirts, but not from men's nightshirts (we're not aiming for Wee Willie Winkie here ladies).
It was 1977 when women the world over found a style symbol in the suit and tie-wearing Annie Hall. The central character of Woody Allen's classic movie, made a fashion icon of Diane Keaton and shirt-obsessives out of all of us. Trousers, shirts and flat shoes became the uniform of chic modern workwear. From here, the shirt dress was just a natural evolution. Try adding a belt or a big necklace so it looks fierce and pretty all at the same time.
Periodic Table of Ladies Dresses
Welcome to the Littlewoods Ireland Periodic Table of Dresses where we will be talking about the science behind your fave pieces and getting you closer to your dream dress styles that'll flatter and flaunt, take you from desk-to-dance floor (as well as the beach) and compliment your body shape!
Click on any dress to learn more about the style and shop from our fabulous collection!
Sequin gowns are still the marmite of dresses. Some girls glitter up to channel Beyoncé's Sasha Fierce, while others steer clear, afraid of looking like Vera Duckworth's Christmas tree.
Too often, sequin dresses are just a seasonal phenomenon, seen only under the cover of darkness. They outnumber Santa hats at Christmas parties by 2 to 1. We say, don't be afraid to unleash your inner starlet with summer or daytime sequins. Shine bright like a diamond.
The pencil skirt first hit the catwalk as part of Christian Dior's AW collection in 1954, and it has been turning heads ever since. Typically knee-length, block coloured and tailored, the pencil dress flatters curves and elongates the body.
Need inspiration for how to wear it? Pick up a Mad Men box set, or watch anything with Marilyn Monroe Transform an office outfit into a party dress with a pencil dress and red lipstick. Baby Steps and a romance with Roger Sterling are optional.
Whoever invented jumper dresses wins the prize. The prize being 'the unwavering appreciation of millions of girls who just want to wear their comfiest, oversized jumper all day without looking like a hot mess'. We wouldn't want to engrave that medal.
Fashion mag Marie Claire describes the jumper dress as the hero piece of an autumn wardrobe. It doesn't have a cape, but it does have a casual silhouette that is both relaxed and feminine. It's often paired with that other winter hero, opaque tights. Kapow cold!
Jersey is not just an island you know, or where Tony Soprano parks his Escalade. A blend of wool, cotton and synthetic fabrics, jersey is the stretchy lightweight fabric you'll always find in your wardrobe so it works great in dresses and tops. Used since medieval times for draped garments, we're sure Maid Marion put it on the map.
Channel Robin Hood's leading lady in a jersey day dress during the summer or layer it underneath a cardigan when it gets cooler.
Once just a 'go-to' for hippies, the maxi dress came roaring into mainstream fashion a few years ago leaving the VW vans and daisy chains behind. In case you'd forgotten, we have Ashley Olsen and Sienna Miller to thank for bringing this casual summer saviour out of hippy obscurity and right into our wardrobes.
Never has a hem length been so all-encompassing. We went full-length for boho, lace and crochet for a Coachella-inspired look, not to forget jersey with a thigh slit for New York street style.
The same maxi will see you through your best friend's wedding, dinner by the beach, and – true to its Woodstock roots – a summer festival.
Hervé Léger didn't actually invent the bodycon when he revealed his bandage dress in the mid-noughties, but he might have perfected them.
The bodycon dress has come in many styles, most recently we saw the hem drop for midi versions.
Whatever the length, they're always a close fit. But don't assume you have to have a hot BOD (sure then only Amy Huberman could wear one?).
Let's be honest, behind most fabulous women in a bodycon is the receipt for a pair of Spanx.
Peplum style dates back to the aristocrats of the 1800s. But there's nothing dusty or old-fashioned about this gorgeous dress.
You can pull off peplum in the office, tone it down with a pair of flats and a waist belt. It's not overdressing if it's empowering!
The peplum lives for weddings, girls' nights or any big occasion. Big hair optional, but highly recommended.
"Nothing channels glamour and va-va-voom like a swing dress" a fashion journo told us recently. Think of it, then, as the Porsche of dresses; pair with red lippie and tumbling hair for fifth gear.
Take a swing today and let the world be your dancefloor. Rebellious?? Well I never.
The words "party" and "dress" mean a different thing to every woman. Flying sequins and lashings of fake tan for some, anything you can dance around your handbag in for others.
They're usually short and comfortable enough to bust a move in, but have evolved over the decades. Your vision of a party dress is probably most influenced by the pop star you dance to. Do you bop to Beyoncé? Think bright coloured, Versace-eque bodycon and very short.
Is Iggy Azalea on your Spotify? Then sing "I'M SO FANCY" in peplum, or anything with a slit.
It was the Flappers of the 1920s that were daring enough to design a dress with a loose waist – all the better to dance in apparently.
The shift dress is usually short with an A-line skirt and the silhouette of a Sixties 'It' girl.
The midi-length dress is now one of the hottest properties a girl can own. However, it can also be one of the trickiest. Midis are best worn with heels, or shoes that don't cut you off at the ankle, so a larger portion of your leg remains exposed.
If you're going for an A-line skirt, keep your top half simple and structured. Go for a bodycon midi and you can afford to add some pizzazz with a more voluminous top. Either way, keep your colours bright and young. Maybe avoid navy, grey and "sensible shoes".
Described as "the greatest invention of the century" by – weirdly – Myrtle in American Horror Story.
It was Fürstenberg in the '70s that made it famous though; any knee-length, long-sleeved jersey wrap dress will still be a homage to her. In 2014 she even published a coffee table book dedicated to the iconic design.
And why not? The wrap dress is figure flattering and draws the eye to the waist and reminds you you're looking wonderful, just like any
supportive boyfriend great dress. When was the last time you had a date night with your wrap dress?
The tunic is a great look for busy girls and mums on the run. It's the perfect go-to for girls who don't feel comfortable in a more high-maintenance dressy dress, but still want to wear something cute and girly. Wear it with leggings, skinny jeans, or depending on the length, just some tights for a relaxed daytime look that you can easily run around in.
There is nothing more quintessentially girly than the swirl of a prom dress and the flutter of (probably false) eyelashes. True prom dresses aren't necessarily the kind you see in American high-school dramas, but the original flouncy numbers with the fitted bodice and full-bodied skirt.
Prom dresses typically come in bright colours and patterns, with some sporting a lace overlay to add some texture. The dress was designed, of course, to create a sea of wonderful shapes and colours on the dance floor. Think Grease, before Sandy got all badass.
Named after the French film siren herself, the Bardot dress took off after Brigitte wore the wide-necked wonder in the 1960s. Also known as a boat neck or off-the-shoulder, Bardot dresses were seen as the romantic European style that Americans craved.
They became good enough for a princess by the '90s, when Princess Diana chose a Bardot neckline for almost all her dresses. From the black full-length she danced with John Travolta in at the White House.
A step-by-step guide for dresses on how to become a cultural phenomenon:
- Be worn by Audrey Hepburn on an iconic movie poster
- Be photographed on Coco Channel as often as possible
- Be the teeny tiny uniform of the most famous Spice Girl
There can only be one LBD, and chances are you have one already. It's the only thing in your wardrobe that you can wear to work, to the club and to a funeral without looking inappropriate. How's that for hard-working.
The history of fashion is laced with...well...lace. It's been the fabric of choice to illustrate wealth, prestige and luxury for centuries. From princesses to pop stars, Marie Antoinette to Dolce and Gabbana, there is no fashion form more elite than the lace dress.
You were christened in it, you dated in it and if you're lucky you'll be married in it. As Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton and Queen Victoria have shown, a lace dress on a bride will never go out of style.
It has, of course, evolved over the eras. We're over lace collars and sashes, thankfully, and modern lace has become so exciting with laser-cut designs and stiff mesh. You'll never beat the feeling of a vintage lace dress though, perfect for those moments in life when only feeling like royalty will do.
It was the 1930s when collarbone was the new cleavage in dress styles, which is to say it was scandalous and shocking and associated with immodesty and movie stars. What would the modern bride be wearing today if it wasn't for Rita Hayworth and her infamous black strapless gown in the movie Gilda. Never underestimate the power of an exposed collarbone.