Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Chic Shift Dresses

Dear Belle, 

Thank you for answering reader questions. I need some advice about shift dresses.  Shifts work better for more body type than sheath dresses but it’s tough to find a shift that isn’t a mini-dress.  Please help.

Sincerely, Diana

So many head nods for this e-mail.  I love an easy, feminine shift.  The shift is the most versatile shape out there.  Choose the right one and it can go from casual to office with just a change of accessories.  But all the best ones seem to be mid-thigh length or higher, it’s maddening!


Ottoman Shift Dress ($138)

No one has more stylish shift dresses than Boden.  This Ottoman shift bridges the gap between casual and office.  It comes in several pretty jewel tones, and sizes 2-18, tall and petites.  And I like the way the pockets are styled into the dress so that they don’t stick out, though I’d still probably remove them to eliminate bulk.  Such is the curse of the pear-shaped.

If you prefer printed dresses, Eliza J has more than a few choices.  This striped dress in red and navy is perfect for spring.  I also like this solid purple dress from Eliza J in a relaxed shape.

For a simple evening choice, I like this dress from RACHEL by Rachel Roy.  It comes in black or white with a chic contrasting neckline.  For a more casual choice, this $50 Jessica Simpson dress with tonal stripes is fun.

Plus-size?  This lace Jessica Howard shift is a great party dress.  This simple Eliza J shift comes in black or kelly green.



  1. Anon says:

    THIS DRESS. It’s so amazing for work, I’ve gotten two coworkers to buy it too. It’s super comfortable, machine wash, great weight to the fabric so it skims over flaws, and flattering on everybody. It’s the kind of dress you love so much, you have to moderate yourself, otherwise you’d wear it once a week.

    It looks like they’re all sold out of their winter colors, but check back in a couple weeks for spring colors. They carry this dress year-round.

    January 12, 2015/Reply
  2. J says:

    I have that Boden Ottoman dress. I recommend it, but the material and cut are way too casual for the office (at least mine…where most guys are wearing jackets and ties). I usually wear this dress on the weekends with tights. Very comfortable and cute.

    January 12, 2015/Reply
  3. Amanda says:

    Tahari makes a great work-appropriate one in a bunch of shades — I have it in two colors. Might be a tad on the short side if you’re tall, but I’m 5’7″ and it works.

    January 14, 2015/Reply