Since Diane von Furstenberg first released her iconic wrap dress, wrap dresses have become a staple of women's wardrobes. The wrap dress allows a woman to look polished and put together with a minimum of effort, in a style that flatters almost every body type. For those who seek both style and comfort in their dress, the wrap dress is a must-have item.
What is a wrap dress?
A wrap dress is an open-fronted dress with two large panels that overlap and are secured with ties, giving the effect of “wrapping” the wearer. This allows the dress to conform and wrap around a variety of physical dimensions. The crossed front also creates a flattering V-neck that can be high or plunging depending on the dress style. Wrap dresses come in all lengths, from mini to maxi, with sleeves or sleeveless, and they are most often found in synthetic jersey dress fabrics that cling to the body. Typically, dresses are available in vibrant prints that flatter many body sizes.
What should you look for in a wrap dress?
When considering wrap dress styles and options, the following factors should be considered:
- Fabric: Stretch fabrics will adapt to more body types, but they can also be clingy in their wrap design. If you're looking to mask your hips or waist, consider a wrap dress in a less supple material such as cotton or wool.
- Fullness: A straighter cut will create a slinky, sensuous appearance; some dresses have fuller or pleated skirts for a vintage feel.
- Prints and colors: Solid dresses will show your body while prints such as florals or geometrics will mask your curves while they wrap around them and draw the eye to your overall appearance. Choose a vibrant color to show off what you've got, or select a muted, dark color for a dress that can go from the boardroom to cocktails.
- Cleavage: The low V-neck of wrap dresses can often show a little more than is desirable. Some versions of this wrap dress have a hidden snap to keep you covered. Plus-size versions of this dress will be cut differently to allow more coverage. Check out faux wrap dresses as well; these options give you the appearance of a wrap dress but with a sewn bodice for full coverage.
- Skirt and sleeve length: Wrap dresses come sleeveless, in short and long sleeves, and in every length from mini to maxi. What length of the wrap dress you choose depends on your personal taste, but if you choose a dress with sleeves, be sure that you can move easily in the dress without opening up the front.
How do you wear a wrap dress?
To wear a women's wrap dress, simply feed the inner panel tie through the hole in the side seam, and then bring both ties behind your back and around again to the front of the dress. If you're concerned about coverage, opt for a maxi dress style and wear a camisole underneath. You can dress up or down as needed depending on the occasion.