Wardrobe Essentials: The Wrap Dress

Diane Von Furstenburg Wrap Dress

The wrap dress, introduced by Diane Von Furstenberg (love her!) in 1972, epitomizes the liberty women were embracing in the 70s and was a beautiful marriage of practicality and sensuality. Designed with a woman’s natural curves in mind, the wrap dress flatters every figure and comes in a variety of shades and patterns.

Wrap dresses have made a serious comeback since the late 90s. Remember how Kate Middleton‘s simple navy wrap dress instantly became one of the most famous dresses of the 21st century?

Kate Middleton's Issa Wrap Dress

Christina Applegate even sports one in ‘Anchorman‘:

Christina Applegate in Anchorman

Wrap dresses can transform any body (especially curvier bodies) with their belted waist creating a feminine hourglass shape. These dresses transition beautifully from day to evening and are incredibly comfortable not matter how long you wear them for (not to mention you’ll feel like a million bucks).

What to look for when buying a wrap dress

1. Fit. Be sure to find the right wrap dress for your body. Try it on before buying and critically examine how you look from all angles: does the wrap front sit alright along your bust? Is the hem straight? Is the wrap located at the smallest part of your waist? Wrap dresses are meant to be fitted but not be Saran wrap so make sure you have some wiggle-room.

Ruffle-Trim Wrap Dress from Forever 21

2. Variety. Wrap dresses add spice and color to any wardrobe. They come in hundreds of patterns (thank you Diane Von Furstenburg) and styles for every season. Use this wardrobe essential as an excuse to liven up your closet and live more colorfully. Many wrap dresses come with fun and interesting details such as ruffles and asymmetrical hem lines.

Karoo Spruce Cashmere Wrap Dress

3. Fabric. Cotton is the most traditional and versatile wrap dress fabric but silk can be a gorgeous evening alternative (if you’re willing to have it dry-cleaned). Wool or cashmere make wonderful winter fabric choices. Just be sure to choose something wrinkle-free (a wrinkle-free wrap dress is a perfect vacation staple).

4. Length (both dress-length and sleeve-length). Knee-length is the most traditional but I have seen some fantastic wrap maxi dresses recently. For sleeves long and 3/4 length are the classic lengths but for summer opt for a shorter-sleeve.

5. Color. Steer clear of having too many wrap dresses in neutrals. Wrap dresses are the easiest way to color your wardrobe – they come in almost every hue imaginable and are so versatile. A red wrap-dress would be perfect for the holidays and a pastel one would be perfect for spring and summer.

How to Wear a Wrap Dress

If you choose the right fit and fabric for your body, a wrap dress is the ultimate confidence booster (prepare to unconsciously stand straighter and smile more). Because they come in a vast array of colors, patterns and fabrics you can find one to suit almost every occasion – even Sunday afternoon grocery shopping. One easy way to take a wrap dress from day-to-night is by pairing it with a blazer during the day and then a shawl at night.


P.s. The wrap dress silhouette translates well into other clothing staples such as sleek tops and coats so look for unique wrap details when investing in other wardrobe essentials. I found this fabulous wrap coat by DeNovo Style on Etsy:

DeNovo Style Wrap Coat

6 thoughts on “Wardrobe Essentials: The Wrap Dress

  1. I absolutely love this post. I have two wrap dresses, purple and navy, and I break them out whenever I’m invited somewhere “business casual” last minute. Pair with tights and boots in the fall and top off with a scarf for a simple outfit! Also – I am now inspired to look for a printed dress!

  2. Pingback: The 5 Piece French Wardrobe Method (5PFWM) | Lifevesting

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