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The History of Shift Dresses

Shift dresses got their start in the form of the famous flapper dresses of the 1920s. These comfortable, unrestrictive dresses became symbols of independence, freedom, and cultural change. While the flapper dress eventually fell out of fashion, the shift dress as we know it today took the fashion world by storm in the 1960s. This version was influenced by the relatively unsuccessful sack dress of the late 1950s, but was more tailored and often featured darting at the bust. The shift dress was considered a chic, modern garment that reflected the changing cultural values of the time. Designers like Christobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, and Lilly Pulitzer helped shape the design of the modern shift dress, and famous faces like Audrey Hepburn and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis helped to popularize it. Today, the shift dress retains its timeless appeal as a fashionable choice that’s appropriate for multiple settings, from dinner to the boardroom.

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