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Paralegal Career Dressing: Boring Black Shirt Dress…or Not?

Paralegal Career Dressing: Boring Black Shirt Dress…or Not?

I’ve been looking for a shirt dress to thrift for a long time. The seed of desire for one was planted by Sal at Already Pretty, who always looks fabulous in hers. I know some of y’all might be thinking, “Good grief, how boring is a shirt dress?” but remember I work in a law firm.

I’ve also always loved 50s fashion, with the crisp button-front shirts, narrow waists, and wide skirts, but that look is not easy for a short skinny woman with a pencil body type to wear. I’ve tried many, many shirt dresses, and they usually have too much fabric for my petite, straight figure.

When I saw this Talbots shirt dress in a local consignment store, I almost skipped over it. First, it’s a 10P, and I’ve lost weight recently, so am even smaller than my usual 4-6 in a dress size.

It’s not real exciting on a hanger, but it has French cuffs, stretchy fabric, and POCKETS!!!!

Second, it’s black. For most of my working life, I have been a Monochrome Girl, sticking to mostly blacks and grays, with white blouses thrown in for excitement. Insert yawn here. Since actively budget career style-blogging for almost a year, I’ve had a no-black purchases rule because how many black clothes can one woman own, right?, but recently I had an epiphany.

I only wish I had more of these rhinestone stretch bracelets from Jada’s Jewels.

Black is my freakin’ favorite color to wear. I like black. Let me repeat that. I LIKE BLACK! (So in addition to the black shirt dress, I bought a black Ann Taylor skirt with a cool front kick pleat for $10. I’ll purge one of the less nice black skirts I already own to make room for it.)

Not crazy about this belt with this look. But many thanks to Carole for the vintage cuff bracelet from a yard sale!

Back to the shirt dress. It is very tailored and has only a little fullness in the softly pleated skirt. It’s a little big on me, but belts fix the waist, and I like the loose comfort of the rest of it.

You know what the women in my family are known for? The crazy eyes.

I played around with styling it on Sunday afternoon (so good to even feel like playing a little dress-up again now that The Teen is home and feeling better), but I’d love to hear your suggestions. I did try to find a longer skirt to layer underneath (heavily influenced by the lovely Sheila), but I don’t having anything not black that’s long enough.

And, oh yes, this dress will be coming to a post near you soon with one of Megan Mae’s gorgeous obi belts.

So I’ve admitted that I love black and dressing like a 50s housewife. Please feel free to share any fashion love of yours that you feel a bit sheepish about here ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: Boring Black Shirt Dress…or Not?

  1. oh i loved shirt dresses when I was a skinny binny in jr high. My Mom loved them, too. I always thought their name was odd tho. A shirt that is long enough to be a dress, with a cinched in waist. hmmm.? I have a fat waste and it is worse than ever in my near 60 years. Shirts with leggins is more me now days. But you are ROCKIN' that look. I like the one with the red accessories!

  2. You've reminded me that I need to break out my black shirt dress. I wish mine had the full skirt like yours though, but it is a piece that literally goes with anything. I think a wider, maybe stretchy, belt may work well with the dress, or maybe leave the top unbuttoned and show off a cute cami or striped tank or something.

  3. I like the last look the best – it shows the shape of the dress the best, I think. Try a wide belt (like an obi, as you're planning) with it to help exaggerate the waist and bring the overall shape to an hourglass.

    Shirtdresses are awesome, in my opinion. I would love to find a black one like this.

    Hee, giggled at your "crazy eyes."

  4. I think the dress looks incredible on you – especially with those gorgeous black boots. I think we've just had a color resurgence that black fell by the wayside. I'm eager for some dark colors again.

    There's nothing I feel sheepish about liking. What can I say, I'm a rebel!

    Btw I mailed your package today, it should get to you by Saturday according to the postman.

  5. First of all, let me co-sign on black!! Without fail, it's my favorite color to wear. I always feel good in it and I think we shouldn't apologize ๐Ÿ™‚ Secondly, I love your styling, especially the pointy-toe red pumps (!!!) and the black boots. Absolutely sexy/fab.

    So glad The Teen is better. Have a great weekend.

  6. You look very chic, Lynne – but then you always do! The shape does suit you, I like it best with the bursts of red, but then I would, wouldn't I?! I used to have LOTS of black in my wardrobe but wear far less now, and feel the need to pair it with patterned tights or something bright.
    No need to be shamefaced about what you like, you look beautiful! I have got past the point of feeling the need to apologise for my preferences, no guilty pleasures here, just pleasures! xxx

  7. Shirt dresses are so versatile and when accessorized well they go from boring to FABULOUS! I like all the looks you've created but think it looks especially awesome with those black boots.

  8. Aw, it's totally okay to like black! I sure preferred it, at times exclusively, for many, many years. I love the cuffs of your dress, the length and volume suit you, and a wider belt or taking in the sides of the torso a bit might bump it up a notch, only if you think it needs it. I especially like the look with the boots, but my heart belongs to your red pumps.

    I confess that I like low-rise flared jeans, which have no business working on my body but somehow … do.

    P.S. Your crazy eyes are my favourite! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I really like pashminas. People seem to be sniffy about them, but I like the rainbow of colours, the nice way they drape and the little tassels. And i am always ready for a wedding….

  10. what a fabulous find, french cuffs and pockets
    sad that we can't see all the detail in the photos
    as Nina Garcia would say…it's just not very editorial
    that's ok, i can imagine how cute it is in real life
    hope you are having a fabulous weekend

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workersโ€™ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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