Couture designer Diane von Furstenberg’s most famous creation, the wrap dress, continues to reign supreme as one of the most flattering fashion pieces ever If ever there was a dress for all bodies, all sizes, and all ages, this is it. The famous wrap dress is now more than 40 years old! That is a good reason to celebrate as this dress is just so perfect for so many women and particularly the more mature crossdresser.
“I wanted women to feel comfortable, sexy, and liberated,” said von Furstenberg and the wrap dress reflects her bold, confident, sultry sensibility style — and women of all ages wanted it. “The first wrap dress arrived in a wood-grain print. The dress was nothing, really – just a few yards of fabric with two sleeves and a wide wrap sash. But the V-neck wrap design fit a woman’s body like no other dress: snug around the chest and arms, tied flatteringly slim around the waist, full enough over the legs for a woman to take an unrestricted stride, yet tight enough to show off her bottom,”
The wrap dress was quite revolutionary for its time, but it has also stood the test of time. ”Enjoy this brief history of the wrap dress.
“The reason the dress works today is the same reason it worked before,” she says. “It’s the jersey! It makes women look sexy but not vulgar”. Of course the world’s most stylish icon, Kate Middleton, as you might expect, rocks the wrap dress. When she wore the ikat print “Patrice” dress on the DVF site, it sold out in eight minutes.
So why is the wrap dress such a flattering dress to wear?
A Perfect Size
Indulging in a wrap dress is like indulging in an elastic waistband. Why? Whether you gain a few pounds or lose a few pounds, the dress will still fit beautifully. Wouldn’t that be nice if all of our clothing that we invest so much money in did that? No such luck, but at least one item of clothing gives us a little wiggle room. It works for all body types.
Diane von Furstenberg’s classic wrap dresses are made of a jersey-silk fabric that drapes a woman’s body and is soft to the touch. Without clingy, simply skimming, a jersey dress helps to create a seamless silhouette (provided you are wearing your Spanx!) and is quite comfortable to wear for the entire workday
Especially when choosing a print, a wrap dress disguises so much what we want to camouflage while giving the wonderful illusion of a curvy silhouette. The V-neck line elongates our neck and somehow magically works well with both small and large bust sizes. The magic lies in the wrapping – exquisitely hugging, not squeezing a woman’s body, highlighting her clavicle, a bit of her décolletage, and displaying movement with ease.
Wear with flats, wear with heels, wear over jeans/pants, wear layered underneath a cardigan or wear with boots along with tights. A wrap dress works well with just about any style you prefer and for any occasion you may find yourself. I have worn them to work, to weddings, while walking around town and attending special events. There really are very few places a wrap dress can’t take you.
A Style for Each Season
Choose a sweater wrap dress for winter, a halter wrap dress for summer and a classic jersey wrap dress for spring. Whichever you prefer, there is a dress for your season of choice. A wrap dress is both great for the office and for the evening. Just add some fancier shoes and a clutch! And a wrap dress looks great with both flats and heels.
If You’re in Your 20s
“If you’re in your 20s, keep the look young and fresh with bold, electric colors and patterns,” says style expert Hilary Kennedy. Also, don’t be afraid to show off some skin. You can also get away with a shorter hemline and sleeves.
If You’re in Your 30s
Those in their 30s should opt for more traditional colors, such as navy, black, or white, which can be rocked day or night. Some stylists say prints can easily age you if the dress has an unflattering cut that doesn’t work with your frame. “Bold colors are still appropriate, but pair it with less jewelry,” says Kennedy. “A statement handbag is a great way to add some drama.”
If you’re in your 40s and beyond, look for wrap dresses in solid, jewel hues, such as red, wine, and sapphire. A beautiful pump and simple jewelry will let your elegance shine through. Patterns can often come across as too youthful, so pair the dress with a beautiful bag with a woven texture.”
If You’re Petite
Los Angeles-based stylist Laurie Graham believes petite ladies, in particular, should invest in a slew of figure-flattering wrap dresses to elongate their shape. She recommends looking for gowns with a v-neck cut on top, which will give the illusion of a longer, leaner neck. “I advise hemming the dress to just 1/2” above the knee for work,” she says. “I also love accessorizing with a longer beaded necklace that hits below the bra line and a great heel.”
If You’re Tall/Big-Busted
“For taller or big busted women, it’s important to find a cut that provides full bustline coverage so it’s proportionate to a larger frame,” says Graham. “This actually minimizes your silhouette, instantly slenderizing a larger frame. And a hemline that hits in the mid-knee cap is extra flattering for God given long legs.”
If You’re Plus-Sized
The classic wrap dress is one of the few fashion pieces that can easily cinch your midsection.. However, to ensure the dress complements your frame, it’s important to keep some tricks in mind. If you’re concerned about your tummy, opt for a wrap dress that cinches at the side rather than a belted wrap that can draw unwanted attention to your center. Print wraps also hide little bumps better than solids.” To show off curves stylishly, you might want to add a darker colored belt to better show off your waist. Pop on a blazer on top and people will see the illusion of a tiny waistline.
And remember, great style is an investment. If the investment is a wise one, it will last, as I still wear my first wrap dress dress and receive compliments on it eight years after I bought it.