The History Of The Shift Dress

A shift dress is a timeless and classic look that offers the freedom to move (and dance!) freely. Flattering to all body shapes, it can be styled in different ways and is perfect in its simplicity.

Shift dresses have been a popular silhouette throughout the years, and remains an iconic style in the fashion world today. What many do not know is that there is a rich history behind the shift dress - it defines a cultural change in the fashion world and symbolises women’s independence and freedom from traditionally restricting dresses. We have looked back through the decades at the shift dress that continues to influence to influence today's style.


What is a Shift Dress?

A shift dress is defined by a straight silhouette that falls from the shoulders and hangs straight down. They are simple in their shape with clean lines and a looser fit, making it a dress that is perfect for every body shape and any occasion! Traditionally, a shift dress began as a sleeveless dress that is shorter in length and ends at the knee. But as a popular style since the 1920’s, it has been redesigned and repurposed with sleeves, or even with an off-the-shoulder neckline


The Beginning

In the 1920’s, the shift dress was known as the flapper dress for its dramatically different shape and silhouette. Its loose fit and straight cut was a stark contrast to the fitted waist and large flared skirts that were prevalent at the time. The shift dress was at the forefront of changing fashion trends, where women defied social conventions through their style. As the Roaring Twenties were coming into full swing, women were able to socialise more, so the freedom of the shift dress was perfect for the nightlife scene. Fashion trends were spreading more quickly as women had more spending power and ultimately this dress became a symbol of independence, prioritising comfort over conventional standards of fashion. 

Shift Dress Pinterest

The Comeback

The shift dress made a strong comeback by the 1960’s and defined the modern woman with a dress to match. It was a simple, versatile style that ensured comfort was the priority for women’s clothing. The 1960’s style was darted at the bust with little shaping at the waist for a chic look. The legacy of the shift dress remained popular in mainstream fashion throughout the sixties thanks to icons like Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and was part of the famous mod fashion movement. 

Kennedy Shift Dress

The Shift Today

A shift dress is an essential for your transeasonal wardrobe, and can be worn from day-to-dinner, making it the perfect versatile dress. A shift dress suits body shapes as it balances out curves, draws attention to other parts of your body and is not restrictive or too tight. Pair your favourite shift dress with a structured bolero for a balanced silhouette. The shift dress remains a go-to easy way to bring together a chic outfit, and creates a classic and comfortable look for your next occasion.

You will always look your best in Montique! For more fashion tips or information on our dresses and products, contact us at to be in touch with our customer service team, or shop our new arrivals now!

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