Shift Happens

Growing up, my favorite pal on Saturday night was Nick. Nick introduced me to Samantha Stevens and Jeannie. I loved watching these two women use their superpowers with good intentions, albeit sometimes to spite the men in their lives. Although I did not know it at the time, those shows probably influenced my passion for vintage today.

I admit that the 1960s is not one of my favorite decades of dress, but it has been growing on me as of late. My aunt recently did some spring-cleaning and offered me her vintage shift dresses from this era. I couldn’t turn down such a groovy offer.

The 1960s were characterized by a general shift in culture, as well a growing youth generation. During this time, shift dresses became very popular, and is perhaps the reason why they are named exactly that, the “shift.” Icons such as Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick epitomized this style of dress. An interesting fact is that these frocks actually originate from the 1920s, only this time without the fringe, feathers, and beads.

How to spot a shift dress? They generally have a simple boxy silhouette that might hang straight or slightly A-line from the shoulders with the hemline above the knee. For these reasons, this dress is versatile and can be worn by many body types, especially if you have a boyish figure like myself.

My favorite details of this dress are the elegant princess seams that transition smoothly into hidden pockets at the hips. The petal collar also adds a bit of whimsy and “flower power” to the outfit. The weave of the wool is quite psychedelic; I like to describe it as herringbone on LSD. To avoid feeling like a 12-year-old boy, I wore a pair of hidden platform pumps with a very high heel to balance out the straight and conservative silhouette of the dress, and finished with a few simple gold accessories to keep the true 60s vibe alive.

Be prepared to see me in more swinging 60s ‘cause I am up shift creek without a paddle. Groovy baby!