Those familiar stick figures adorning public restrooms are perhaps one of the best affirmations that the dress is truly a feminine icon. There she stands with her triangle dress designating the way to the ladies’ room. Ever wonder what a fashion designer might do to that triangular icon representing the dress? Take a look at all the types of dresses available today, and you may keep wondering.


The Shirt Dress

The shirt dress has a button-down bodice and features a shirt collar and sleeves. The bodice attaches to the skirt and often includes a self-belt or some way to separate the bodice from the skirt. In the 1950s, shirt dresses were quite popular and featured full knee-length or slightly below-the-knee-length skirts. Today’s shirt dresses are similar (minus the crinoline) and are ideal for career wear or church attire. Wear pearls or a scarf with a shirt dress to emphasize its classic appeal.


The Sheath Dress

The simple sheath dress is usually sleeveless or strapless. It’s form-fitting and usually falls just above the knee. One of the most versatile of dresses, the sheath is ideal for both daytime and evening events. Audrey Hepburn wore a black sheath dress in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” adding even more to the sheath’s popularity. Want proof? Vintage clothing experts at Vintage Textile say that Audrey’s sheath sold for $800,000 at a recent auction. To get Audrey’s look, add oversized pearls and elbow-length gloves.


The Sundress

Little girls are adorable in their playtime sundresses, but come summer, grown-up girls like to wear these, too. Sundresses usually come in summer-weight cotton, bright colors and floral patterns. Thin, spaghetti-style straps or halter tops are common identifiers. Wear your sundress downtown for lunch and shopping, then to the beach. Keep accessories minimal to emphasize the playful and carefree nature of the sundress.


The Wrap Dress

The wrap dress flatters virtually every figure. Similar to the shirt dress, the wrap dress has a skirt attached to a wrap-style top. The wrap is usually an attached sash extending from the inside of the dress. Pull the sash through a hole in the side of the dress, wrap around your waist like a belt, and tie toward the center of your torso or your side. The result is an elegant, figure-flattering bodice with a sash that minimizes the size of your waist. Mock wrap dresses are quite popular in matte jersey and look great at the office.


The Maxi Dress

The maxi dress made its debut in the late 1960s with its heyday in the 1970s. The top usually resembles a sundress with spaghetti straps or a halter top. Often, maxi dresses gather just below the bust and then sweep to the floor. The length of the maxi dress is its hallmark. Many maxi dresses also feature ruffles at the bottom for a true 1970s look. Maxi dresses are more casual and look great for everyday wear.