Vintage Shift Dress Buying Guide

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Vintage Shift Dress Buying Guide

The shift dress is one of the easiest styles to wear. It fits and flatters almost everyone, comes in various fabrics, and works in numerous settings. Vintage shift dresses provide colourful options on their own and also work as long tunic tops or with jackets and cardigans for a dressy look.

 

Shapes and Dates

According to some fashion historians, the shift dress got its start with the flapper dress of the 1920s. A shift dress hangs from the shoulders and has no belt or waistband. It uses darts for minimal shaping instead of the types of seams that create the close fit of wiggle dresses from the 1950s and early 1960s and the flared fit of A-line dresses. A shift dress may have sleeves and a collar, but in its classic form, it is a sleeveless, collarless dress that allows room for movement. The 1960s shift dress, also known as the sleeveless 60s mod dress, was popularised by the era's star model, Twiggy. Patterned shifts, colour-blocked shifts, lace shifts, and plenty of other styles make it a suitable style for numerous women.

 

Sizing and Condition

A vintage shift dress has possibly experienced some damage over the years. Buyers should check for worn or torn seams, stains, sweat marks, and other kinds of fabric damage, particularly on wool and knit dresses. Zippers should work, and buttons should not be loose or missing. Standard sizing has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, so buyers should compare accurate measurements with the matching sizes in the 1950s.

 

UK Sizing: 1950s Vintage

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

Bust (inch/cm)

31/78

32/81

34/86

36/91

38/98

40/101

43/108

45/116

Waist

23/60.5

24/63

26/68

28/73

30/78

32/83

35/90

38/98

Hip

33/86

34/88

36/93

38/98

40/103

42/108

45/116

48/123

 

US Sizing: 1950s Vintage

10

12

14

16

18

20

Bust (inch)

28

30

32

34

36

38

Waist

24

25

26.5

28

30

32

Hip

31

33

35

37

39

41

 

Sizing varied somewhat from brand to brand, just as it does today. It is best to know the measurements of specific garments to check against body measurements before making purchases.

 

Fabrics and Colours

Because the shift dress came in so many variations, vintage shift dresses are available in fabrics, colours, and styles suitable for business offices, rock and roll concerts, and everything in between. Red, black, brown, and navy dresses with collars, sleeves, and matching jackets are common office choices. Colourful psychedelic and geometric patterns on metallic knits are available for after-hours fun.

 
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