Wrap Dress At 40: 10 Celebrity Stylist Tips To Make It Work For You
Forget the LBD. At a youthful 40-years-old, 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.
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No outfit can easily accomplish what the wrap dress can: Its soft fabric hugs every curve, while defining a waist to show off an hourglass shape. A plunging neckline can instantly shed some pounds and with stilettos, transform into a head-turning day look for day into glammy evening style. Available in numerous colors, prints, sizes, and styles, there’s one made for for every woman.
And von Furstenberg must have known this was the perfect formula for a dress.
The Guardian reports that the wrap dress, created in 1974, unites two of von Furstenberg’s previous designs, the cotton jersey shirt dress and a ballerina-style dress. Within two years after it was released, a reported 5 million wrap dresses were sold, making von Furstenberg “the most marketable designer since Coco Chanel.” Today, one can easily find this style, whether with the DVF label or not, at nearly any retailer.
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“When a dress fits and flatters a body shape, it becomes stylish and timeless on that body,” says Los Angeles-based image consultant and personal stylist Laurie Brucker. “Therefore, it will live in your closet year after year, becoming the perfect piece to use at any given moment.”
“The wrap dress is an absolute must for every wardrobe,” Brucker says.
To discover how you can wear the dress preferred by both Hollywood stars and even one royal family, stylists weigh in with 10 tips:
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.”
Flaunt Your Curves
The classic wrap dress is one of the few fashion pieces that can easily cinch your midsection, enhancing a whittle waist. 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,” says image consultant Thea Wood. “Print wraps also hide little bumps better than solids.” To show off curves stylishly, Wood suggests adding 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,” she adds.
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," she adds.
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
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,” says Kennedy. “Patterns can often come across as too youthful, so pair the dress with a beautiful bag with a woven texture, like Bottega Veneta.”
The Dress That's Bump-Friendly
Expecting mothers can benefit from wearing the bump-friendly wrap dress as the fabric is stretchy enough for growing figures and is elegant enough to wear for any occassion. When Duchess Kate Middleton stepped out wearing a jersey Max Mara v-neck dress with a cross-over front, the frock reportedly sold out in a matter of hours. Fortunately, this frock is worth the hunt. “Wrap dresses are often a good choice for nursing mothers who have fluctuations in their bra size,” explains Kennedy. “They can often accommodate a larger bust, but can be fitted with snap closures later on when no longer nursing.”
Amp Up Your Shoe Game
Whether you choose a bold solid hue or a more colorful print, the wrap dress alone can make heads turn–but with the right footwear, your couture can instantly go from casual to chic. “At the office pair it with pumps and a blazer or if on a date, go for a face-framing statement necklace and peep toe booties,” says Brucker. “The wrap dress is the ultimate base for styling in any and every occasion. Star with a bold solid and then build your way into a medium-scale print.”
To avoid having a wrap dress overwhelm your frame, make sure the dress properly fits your shape without being too tight. When in doubt, take your dress to a tailor for a custom fit. To create a tinier waist with a looser style, simply add a belt, such as a wide corselet, to better cinch it or a slim, matching leather belt for a cleaner, minimal look.
Consider Affordable Options
An original von Furstenberg is a classic that will never go out of style, but some of her creations can cost nearly $600. Fortunately, finding a budget-friendly wrap dress is easy as most retailers will have a variation of it in several colors and styles. Stylists say stores like Old Navy, Forever 21, Zara, Macy’s, and Ralph by Ralph Lauren all provide more affordable, yet equally beautiful options. Now there’s no excuse for not having at least one in your closet!
(IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel)