At any one time, there are a few wardrobe items I am obsessed with finding. One of them is the perfect shirtdress. I saw my ideal probably six or seven years ago on a woman downtown: a narrow fit, a solid color, and minimal adornment—no epaulets or breast pockets to distract from the silhouette. Sadly, I have never seen its equal in a store. But a girl can hope.
The perfect shirtdress is made of natural fabric and is tailored enough to go to the office with a belt and heels, but can also be thrown on over a bathing suit. James Perse seems to come out with a version that meets this criteria every year (linen shirtdress, at left, $175 at jamesperse.com).
Land's End is not exactly known for chic clothing, but you can't go too wrong with simplicity. Paper poplin fabric sounds so fresh and cool for summer, too ($85 at landsend.com
If you do want some embellishment, subtle embroidery on the shoulders looks pretty without adding bulk (Vanessa Bruno Athe shirtdress, $148 at theoutnet.com
American Apparel has an almost perfect version, but unsurprisingly it's a wee bit short, and the belt looks a bit high. Still, it could work for some. In the meantime, I'll keep looking. The thrill is in the hunt, after all.