From left to right: The Josephine, Kate and Eloise
In this heat it’s hard to look chic and stay cool, which is why shirtdresses are my ultimate style solution for the summer. They were also a big trend on the spring/summer catwalks with plenty of covetable styles from brands like Tod’s, Celine and Dior.
Another to add to the list is homegrown label Alex Black. Founded by British designer Alex Black, she moved to Hong Kong from New York for years ago. She noticed a gap in the market for tailored shirt dresses and decided to launch her own line after spending months researching fits, fabrics and finishes.
As we all know perfecting a wardrobe classic is a tough job but it’s the little details that make Alex’s collection stand out. A stickler for quality, all her fabrics are from the world’s largest shirting manufacturer Esquel, which also makes shirts for brands including Ralph Lauren, J.Crew and Hong Kong brand Pye. The cottons are super soft (some come with stretch) and she has also used chambray and poplin for a crisp finish.
The Laurie up close
As for the shapes, they are all relatively simple but she has made small tweaks that make wearing them that much easier. She has eliminated all the add-ons including waist hooks, button tabs on the sleeves and pockets. French seams give it a more luxe look while a double hem means that the dresses hang well on the body. There is extra space at the hips so you can move around easily and the buttons are positioned across the widest part of chest so there’s no gaping.
Right now there are three styles available including the timeless collared shirt dress, available in striped blue cotton (Eloise) or tan chambray (Tasha). The Josephine is more feminine and comes with a ruffle detail at the front and is made from stretch black cotton. My favourite is the mandarin collar style with a pleated front (think of it as a casual tuxedo dress). It comes in light blue (Laurie) or white (Kate). The Kate is cut a little bigger than other styles so it is more forgiving.
She also created a small line of accessories including a chunky gold ring and smoky quartz stud earrings plus range of supple leather belts that match the dresses perfectly.
Alex Black earrings
Prices for the dresses range from HK$1,550 to HK$1,800, which means that you can buy more than one without breaking the bank.