A wrap dress—sometimes called a wrap around dress or a wrap over dress—is a women’s dress that closes in the front, with one side wrapped across the other and secured with either buttons, or ties that loop around the waist. In the past several decades, the wrap dress has become ubiquitous—a truly iconic silhouette.
While designer Diane Von Furstenberg is often credited with inventing the wrap dress, the silhouette actually appeared several decades before she introduced her designs to the American market in the 1970s. Early versions of the wrap dress were introduced in the 1930s and the 1940s. But it’s Furstenberg who popularized the style with her unmistakable design—knee length, long sleeve in soft jersey. For over 40 years, the DVF wrap dress has been a wardrobe staple for women, even finding its way into Michelle Obama’s closet.
You don’t need an invitation to the White House to don this wardrobe workhorse. Your nine-to-five is the absolute perfect place to wear a wrap dress. In fact, it was designed with the office in mind, as a way to make dressing professionally effortless and feminine. The wrap dress is proof that you can look polished and sophisticated without suiting up. Wrap dresses get additional points for versatility—definitely wear them to work, but with a few accessory swaps, you can take your wrap around dresses to cocktail hour or brunch.
At the office, a wrap dress reaches the height of professionalism with heels and a structured tote. A tailored trench coat is a nice addition when the weather calls for outerwear. Away from the office, pair your wrap dress with flats or sandals. Depending on the season or occasion, look for different sleeve options, and even variations in dress length. Experiment with different wrap dress closures (even faux wrap dresses!), and how to tie your wrap dress. Note that some wrap dresses, DVF styles in particular, come in clingier jerseys and silks, so make sure to choose seamless undergarments or shape wear.