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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Wear a Shift Dress Without It Looking Like a Sack

Reader Rosa asked how to wear a shift dress when you have broad shoulders without it just hanging like a bag. Shift Dress Bag Syndrome is a common problem for women of all builds. While you can get away with practically any style right now, most styles still emphasize the waist. So how do you wear a waistless dress?

Shifts come in a few different shapes. They can range from a boxy to billowy. Some fabrics cling and others are structured. You may need to try on several types of dresses to find what suits you, but don't give up just because one dress looked terrible. There is a shift out there for everyone. Shifts have to be tried on.

The number one tip to prevent Shift Dress Bag Syndrome is to look for darts -- those little seams that allow for curves -- at the breasts. The idea of a shift is that it looks like it goes straight from the armpit to the bottom hem, skimming the hips and skipping the waist. That's the look, but that doesn't have to be the construction. Darts will highlight your figure while still presenting the shift shape.
 red school girl shift, Mod Cloth $115
burgundy shift with split front, ASOS $80
blue and white shift, ASOS $47
emerald green shift with zippers, J. C. Penney $40 (sale)

Do keep in mind that your shift dress doesn't have to look like someone else's shift dress. Let most women, I swoon for the neat, trim shifts of the 1960s, but I know those won't fit my wide hips. I have to look for something that will let my body create the shape. On the rack or on a more-symmetrical-than-me model, these styles can look boxy or fit and flare.I just have to know my fabrics and try it on.
black and white print dress, Ruche $49
yellow button doodle dress, Mod Cloth $75
mint pleat shift, Mod Cloth $78

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