The Wrap Dress

It seems that whenever a big event comes up in life, what to wear suddenly becomes an impossible decision. With a closet full of clothes, nothing seems like the right thing to wear. In these situations, it’s helpful to have a “go-to piece” that can work in numerous circumstances. A wrap dress fits the bill perfectly, moving effortlessly from an interview or office job to date night, a wedding or to the grocery store. With a timeless and universally flattering shape, often found in easy materials like silk, cotton and jersey knits, the wrap dress provides the solution to any clothing conundrum.

Diane von Furstenberg first introduced the wrap dress in 1974 and forever changed the fashion world. A garment that can be worn in almost every situation, its versatility was embraced along with the flattering shape it provided. Women around the world couldn’t get enough. By 1976, two years after the dress’s premier, von Furstenberg had sold over a million of her wrap dresses.

After ventures into different design areas, von Furstenberg re-introduced the wrap dress in 1997 after seeing a demand by chic young women who were searching out her original designs at vintage shops around the world. By this time she was far from the only designer producing this dress style. With changes in material and prints, this dress style could be found on the runway and in department stores.

It was originally intended to be an easy, stylish piece for women to wear to work, but with different styles, including sleeve lengths and patterns, it quickly moved in status to the “go-to” dress for any occasion.

As the dress became more commercialized and was produced by more brands, the faux-wrap was created to make the dress even easier. With the wrap look built right into the dress, it is worn without having to tie it up every time, and can simply slip on over the head. The faux-wrap is the hassle-free version of an already simple dress.

The allure of this dress for any body shape and size is the way that the waist of the dress tucks in at the narrowest point, with the wrapping giving the illusion of an even smaller waistline. The V-neckline that is created by the wrap elongates the body, making the wearer look taller as well. And if the neckline plunges too low for comfort, one can easily add a camisole underneath without losing the cleanness of the look. Most styles of this dress are made with a longer hemline than is typical for many of today’s dresses, generally sitting right around the knee.

Solid colored wraps are an easy basic that can be layered with statement pieces like tights, scarves and jewelry. Patterned and printed styles offer visual interest and don’t require many, if any, accessories. Since the dress is the only piece you need to create the whole outfit, the size of the pattern won’t add any visual bulkiness, so it’s hard to go wrong.

This piece can be dressed down with a pair of flats or gladiator sandals or dressed up with statement jewelry and strappy heels. To wear this dress to the office, choose a style with sleeves, a mild print or solid color and pair with low heels or flats. In any case, wearing the dress at or right below the knee keeps everything looking classy.

Whether for a Valentine’s date or a big presentation at the office, a wrap dress is an easy solution to look put-together and beautiful with ease. Von Furstenberg’s signature statement as her wrap dress gained popularity was, “Feel like a woman, wear a dress.” And there’s something about a dress that ups a girl’s feelings of femininity, and the wrap dress does this without frill and lace, providing a clean and classy look for any woman of any age, for any occasion.

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