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The Wrap Dress: The Most Figure-Flattering Piece of Clothing for Every Woman Out There

Updated on February 9, 2011

Wrap dresses: a one-piece outfit that's oh-so-easy to wear

Wrap dresses flatter slender figures by creating the illusion of curves
Wrap dresses flatter slender figures by creating the illusion of curves

Wrap dresses are versatile and timeless--you'll be wearing yours for years to come!

Plus size ladies can rock a wrap dress--the garment plays up your curves
Plus size ladies can rock a wrap dress--the garment plays up your curves
Wrap dresses can also come in crisp cotton--ruffles around the neck create the illusion of a bust and are a fun way to express a flirty personality
Wrap dresses can also come in crisp cotton--ruffles around the neck create the illusion of a bust and are a fun way to express a flirty personality
Wrap dresses are a comfortable and chic clothing option for expectant mothers
Wrap dresses are a comfortable and chic clothing option for expectant mothers

Skinny, Curvy, Busty, Flat, Even Pregnant--the Wrap Dress is Right For Every Woman

If there's one dress in your closet, let it be a wrap dress. Not only is it versatile--acceptable at work, baby showers, weddings, on dates, and at the grocery store--it's flattering on almost every body type. The wrap dress also comes in a range of fabrics, prints, and colors, and it will easily become the go-to and grab item for mornings when you're in a hurry to get out of the door.

What exactly is a wrap dress?

A wrap dress is basically like a fancy robe--you tie it closed on your right side over your hip. There is no worry about the tie being too long or too short--whether you're skinny or have more to love around the middle, you can just tie it more tightly or more loosely to achieve the desired fit. The "wrap" creates a V-neck and accentuates your curves and the smallest part of your body (the area right under your bustline), making you look more slender.

However, a faux wrap is a much better alternative to the traditional wrap dress, and most stores today will only carry faux wraps. Faux wraps are already fastened for you, and you just slip the garment over your head. Everything else is still the same--you just don't have to worry about the skirt slipping open while you walk.

Why is a wrap dress right for me?

No matter what your perceived figure flaws are (and we're always more beautiful than we think!) a wrap dress will accentuate the positive and downplay the negative. The deep V creates an illusion of height and length on petite women and can also accentuate curves, but the coverage is full enough on the sides that even very busty ladies can pull it off (though you might need a camisole underneath for work or church!). Wrap dresses are also generally made of a jersey knit fabric, a stretchy, breathable fabric that doesn't cling to problem areas and wears very well--you won't have to worry about the fabric pilling or becoming dingy. Due to the wrap dress' cut, the skirt will flow away from your stomach and hips, hiding problem areas. Wrap dresses are also a great option for pregnant women--while the dress is curve-hugging on top, it flows comfortably away from your growing baby bump.

There's also a wrap dress to fit every personality. Wrap dresses can be short-sleeved, long-sleeved, or cap-sleeved, so you can tailor your look to the season and your comfort level; they come collared, without out collars, or with cascades of ruffles; and they come in a variety of prints and hues. (Please note: if you're petite, stick with a small pattern. Big, bold patterns will overwhelm your frame.)

You can also take a wrap dress from a day at work to a dinner out at night. At work, you can layer a cardigan over or wear a camisole under the dress to keep any cleavage under wraps (pardon the pun). At night, switch out the cardi or cami for a chunky, funky necklace, throw on some killer heels, and add a clutch, and you're ready for a dinner date. The look can go from professional to sweet or sassy with just a quick change of accessories.

Finally, a wrap dress is an investment--it's just as chic and appropriate on a twenty-year-old as it is on a fifty-year-old, and it's been hot since the seventies (except for a lull in the eighties, which was a seriously dark time for flattering feminine fashion). It's not going anywhere, and you won't be looking at it in a year and wondering what you were thinking.

Who invented the wrap dress?

While it is a common misconception that Diane von Furstenberg created the wrap dress, Claire McCardell should actually get the credit for its invention. She designed the "popover" wrap dress in 1942, about 30 years before Diane von Furstenberg, marketing it as a versatile garment that could be used as a party dress, a house dress, or a robe.

However, Diane von Furstenberg undoubtedly popularized the wrap dress after introducing it into her design line in the 1970s. She's the one who first used the jersey knit fabric we all know and love today, and her design is recognized as having an immense impact on women's fashion--in fact, one of her wrap dresses is included in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Where can I find a great wrap dress?

You can find a wrap dress every season of the year. While Diane von Furstenberg's remain the gold standard, they're kind of pricy, and unless you're willing to shell out $300 or more, her line may not be for you. Luckily, other lines make equally great wrap dresses in a range of colors and patterns. Nine West and Maggie London both put out a line of wrap dresses every year, and around spring and summer you can find wrap dresses at New York & Company, Banana Republic, and even Target. For those of you who are expecting, maternity stores carry wrap dresses all year long.


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    • profile image

      angel 2 years ago

      Beautiful wrap dresses. collection fantastic

      more images wrap dresses.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 3 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      Oh, wrap can I live without you?

    • profile image

      ShalinaNicohl 4 years ago

      This is great! I have two wrap dresses and love them both. I've been on the lookout for another one. That jersey fabric is also pretty much all season.

    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks! I agree--they're my go-to piece whenever I'm rushing to get ready in the morning. I also love that jersey doesn't really wrinkle!

    • happiness coach profile image

      Karen McGibbon 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Wrap dresses are truly timeless! I've had mine for years and they never seem to get old. I always get compliments when wearing them and they're great for travel too! Good article.

    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you! I'm glad they are a staple as well--so easy to throw on in the morning and go with no fuss!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Versatile and flattering, wrap dresses are wonderful. Glad they are a staple in the wardrobe again. Diane Von Furstenberg will probably always set the standard, given how she revolutionized that style of dress. It's such a great style for every body. Easy to pack, too.

      A very interesting read.

    • livelifeworryfree profile image

      Princess Clark 4 years ago from The DMV

      I love my wrap dresses, especially in warm weather. They really have a way with flattering my figure. It's an easy fix to a "what to wear moment". Enjoyed reading the tips.

    • toddwertz profile image

      toddwertz 6 years ago

      I love the design.

    • profile image

      fabgirl21 6 years ago

      Great hub and awesome advice. Wrap dresses are great, I have 4 of them!

    • saesha profile image

      saesha 6 years ago

      thanks for the advice, this is now on my shopping list.

    • profile image

      Deviled Egg 6 years ago

      Great hub! I wish I could wear a wrap dress but I'm afraid it would look like a robe.

    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 6 years ago

      I have one wrap dress and I love it. I agree with you, it fits any shape.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      I like the wrapped dress when I was slim but when you are big, it is not flattering. Hope there is a magic formula that we can have to flatter us. Thanks for the hub.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      Those wrap dresses are perfect clothing for people like me who don't have a good body size! Fancy them all!

    • profile image

      Pat Lesaux 6 years ago

      Very pretty dresses, nice hub page Saffron

    • Susan52 profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago

      I saw some wrap dresses the other day and was happy to see that they seem to be more popular now than ever. Love the style!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Congratulations !

      I love these wrap dress. They look so good on women. Voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful !

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      I adore dresses, and i don't own a single wrap. i can see from this hub how misguided i've been. My next dress will be a wrap for sure.

      Great hub.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Love it! Thanks for an informative hub. Very pretty and fashionable. Congrats on your nomination and good luck.

    • Joesy Shmoesy profile image

      Joesy Shmoesy 6 years ago from New England

      I'm loving this Hub! Thanks for the pics of the not so slim, makes me think it might work for me! Congrats on the nomination, you deserve it!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Nice info. I like the fact that it is 'right' for all figures. Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. Welcome to the HP community.

    • ponx profile image

      Ponx 6 years ago from USA

      I love the Banana Republic wrap dresses. Neat and fashionable :).

    • whaturmissing profile image

      whaturmissing 6 years ago from Canada

      Love your hub on wrap dresses. Another bonus to wrap dresses is no matter if your weigh fluctuates, you can always wear this dress and it's still look good.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Awesome hub! I love those wrap dresses and loved this hub. Congratulations on your nomination, too!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I should think of getting one :)

      Hubnuggets News Flash! This hub is nominated on the Hubnuggets. Please check it out by following this link:

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination! I love wrap dresses..sorry I tossed mine from years back thinking it was dated. duh!

    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks mysisters! I love them--I have about ten in my closet. :P

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. I love all of the styles you have pictured here for the wrap dress. Wrap dresses are great for any body and are very figure flattering.