According to Wikipedia the shirt dress first became fashionable in the late 40’s, early 50’s, which makes sense I guess as this was a time when a women needed a practical uniform, both at work and at home. But I think the style was prevalent way before that – for instance nurse uniforms comes to mind.
This dress is a pattern from Burdastyle magazine 06/2013 and I think the design definitely has both utilitarian and uniformish qualities to it. The fabric is a cotton seersucker that I bought when I was fabric shopping in London with Melissa six years ago. As for how the pattern performs you can read my review over at Patternreview. The short version is that the pattern is a great wardrobe builder and really flattering and comfortable, but bit too tight around the hips for my liking. As always I couldn’t keep myself from modifying the pattern a bit and replaced the button down front with a placket. Also I skipped the collar and just made it with a collar stand. All in all I am very happy with the end result and wear this dress a lot!