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What Is a Shift Dress and Will It Suit Me?

Anupam Dabral | Nov 11, 2015, 17:03 IST
What Is a Shift Dress and Will It Suit Me?
Maria Goretti looking stunning in a shift dress
If you are looking for a perfect dress that fits you like a glove, is fuss-free and will elevate your style quotient, then a shift dress should be your thing. Reinterpreted by a number of designers on the ramp, this kind of dress is hugely versatile, whether you plan to wear it for work or a party.
Then and now
The history of the shift dress dates back to the times of Coco Chanel, when she created outfits inspired by the 1920s’ flapper dress. The idea was to free women from the corseted dresses of the time, and provide them with the luxury of freedom of movement. What made those dresses unique was their loose silhouette, easy details and simple cuts.
There are a number of references to the classic shift. Hubert Givenchy’s popular sack dress is often considered one of the inspirations behind the modern shift dress. This silhouette became an insignia of classic American fashion by the late 50s. These dresses also signified the changing attitudes of women in US; they were empowered, free and more expressive now, more than ever in the past.

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  • Model in a Bibhu Mohapatra dress2 of 4
    Model in a Bibhu Mohapatra dress
    Shift in time
    The shift dress is one of the few outfits in fashion that has gone through a dramatic metamorphosis while staying in trend. In the 1960s, Emilio Pucci came up with some stunning interpretations of the shift dress. From Marni, Miu Miu, Chanel, Oscar De La Renta to Armani, global fashion designers have treated the shift as a safe canvas to express their creativity.
     
    Indian designers too are not far behind. Designers like Ritu Kumar, Rimzim Dadu and Nimish Shah for SHIFT have also used this type of silhouette extensively. It is very well suited for the Indian landscape – one can wear it with leggings and it turns into a staid churidaar-kurta; or pair it with palazzos or even a skirt for conservative environments.
  • Model in a Hemant and Nandita dress3 of 4
    Model in a Hemant and Nandita dress
  • Kangana Ranaut channeling her inner diva in a gorgeous shift dress.4 of 4
    Kangana Ranaut channeling her inner diva in a gorgeous shift dress.
    It is not just the ramps but the red carpet as well, where the shift has been a rage. From Hollywood star Eva Langoria, to pop icon Beyonce Knowles to revered fashion designer Victoria Beckham, the shift dress has been an easy and an obvious choice for all the celebs who believe in effortless elegance.
     
     

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