Clean-cut, smart and pretty, shirt dresses have become a summer essential over the years. They are easy to wear and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. On the catwalks, female-friendly designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Diane Von Furstenberg have all embraced the trend, giving the timeless style their own twist. Ant (below) has taken a chequered shirt dress and paired it with dark skinny jeans for a more edgy look. The well-tailored shirt flatters her body shape and the button-up front looks crisp and youthful. I like the way she has added eye-popping neon accessories such as a bright pink oversized tote and lime green polka-dot socks. They add some much needed colour to her monochromatic ensemble while the lace-ups add a cool but casual vibe. Cindy (bottom), in contrast, has gone for some colour with a purple dress that she has also matched with skinny jeans. The pleating on the front of the dress, tone-on-tone embroidery and other embellishments add a playful and girly touch. The details are subtle but make her dress stand out all the more. To finish off the look, she is wearing cream sequinned flats. Shirt dresses are versatile so choose a classic piece (A-line or button-down with a belt, for example) that you can wear alone or pair with hot pants or leggings for a more fashion-forward look. I also like to add a belt to accentuate curves and up the style ante. Go for a wide patent leather style. For a cooler look, roll up the sleeves and team the shirt dress with a pair of flats. Looser styles in sheer fabrics are also useful additions to your wardrobe and can double as cover-ups for the beach. See by Chloe (shop A1, 1 Cleveland St, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 9248) has a lightweight monochrome chequered dress with a lovely waist tie that is similar to Ant's. I also saw a cool black cotton piece with cut-out sleeves by Alexander Wang (from Joyce, 16 Queen's Rd, Central, tel: 2810 1120). Taller girls should go for striped pieces such as the V-neck, drop-waist style I spotted by Humanoid (from Shine, 5-7 Cleveland St, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 8261). Petite girls should experiment with boyfriend denim shirt dresses - there are plenty at Zara that are ideal for the summer.