history of the shift dressThe shift dress. What an iconic staple in every woman’s wardrobe! We all know they rose to fame in the sixties, but how? In this week’s edition of our Throwback Thursday, we are going to discuss shift dresses, their iconic structure, and how/when to incorporate them into your personal collections.

Shifted Origins

There are a few different “origins” for the Shift Dress. The most widely accepted is the “Lilly Dress” created originally for Lilly Pulitzer in the early 1960s. Owning several fruit groves, Lilly decided to begin making and selling fruit juices to tourists from a stand on the side of the road. Her stand brought her quite a following in the town of Palm Beach, Florida. It was through this tourist attraction that led her to contact a dressmaker. Requesting a simple dress with a busy enough print to distract from the fruit stains. The dress became an American woman’s dream design when old classmate, Jacqueline Kennedy began sporting one of Lilly’s designs.

Another “origin story” of the shift dress comes from the designer Hubert de Givenchy. Every woman idolized Audrey Hepburn, however, after the release of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, every woman wanted to be Holly Golightly, including her iconic LBD.

All in the Design

The beauty of the shift dress is in the simple design. Defined as a “straight-lined basic dress of 1960s” The design hangs away from the body with a bust dart seam; giving the dress a more fitted upper torso, leaving the dress straight or with a subtle A-line from the waist to just above or below the knee.

Shift Dress Alternative

Understanding the definition of the shift dress is our first step to making this rather simple design into our own. This can be achieved by adding sleeves, an original print, lengthening or shortening the hem, adding embroidery, experimenting with fabrics, color-blocking, you name it! The possibilities are endless. A timeless design also means that this staple can be incorporated season after season, year after year. The retro-inspired shift dress is a must-see in Spring/Summer 2015 collections, however, change the colorway from neon pink to black and we have ourselves a Holly Golightly approved design! A design to transcend time.

Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest for more Shift Dress Inspiration!

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