We often credit designer Diane Von Furstenberg for creating the wrap dress in the 1970s. While she did make it popular, designers Elsa Schiaparelli Charles James, and Clare McArdell had already created versions of the wrap silhouette as early as 1930. Almost 90 years later, we have wrap jackets, t-shirts, bodysuits, dresses, skirts and even shoes. If you haven’t already picked up one of these classic and fashion-forward pieces, here are some affordable options, as well as tips on how to wear them.
The Wrap Dress
Diane Von Furstenberg’s legacy is the wrap dress made in printed jersey. These dresses are versatile, flattering, and easy to pack for a trip. I don’t own a DVF one but have a few others from various brands that I wear repeatedly. I like to have a slip with mine so that I don’t have to worry about exposure.
For a feminine, romantic look, Anthropologie has a number of floral print, ruffle-trimmed dresses that are lovely for spring. I couldn’t pick a favorite even if I tried, so take a look at my pins for several dresses that I have my eye on.
This J. Crew chambray shirt takes a classic button-down shirt fabric and softens it with a tie closure. J.Crew also has a stripe version that is only $29.99. Both versions have a little stretch, but they don’t hug my body like a jersey fabric would, so I wear a camisole underneath. That way, I know when I move, I don’t have to worry about the wrap pulling away from my body.
Knit wrap tops are a nice alternative to a basic t-shirt, but make sure that they are a snug fit. Dress tape or a safety pin (pinned on the inside) will help prevent gaping or loosening). The latest way to wear a stretch top or wrap sweater is back-to-front (no exposure). Style a fitted top with looser bottoms. Pair a feminine piece with a tailored one.
Banana Republic’s Faux Wrap bodysuit has a built-in tank for modesty. This style runs large and was a little long for me (I’m under 5’4″). I need a petite version or additional snaps to adjust the length, but if you’re taller, it may just become one of your wardrobe staples.
Skirts and Pants
Anthropologie has an amazing selection of wrap skirts and pants in addition to their dresses. Skirts are long, or short, structured or drapey, printed or solid. Pants are ruffled and cropped. If your pant or skirt is loose or drapey, pair it with a snug knit top or a button-down shirt. J.Crew has some wonderful button-up body suits that will give you that crisp, clean look without a bulky hem.
I’d heard of wrap belts like this Free People suede one, but hadn’t seen shoes and faux wrap mules until I started researching this theme. Adorable idea, right? These shoes go with just about anything from jeans to dresses.
With the relentless snow this year, I’m still wearing the shawl collar jacket that I wrote about a month ago. If you’re in a warmer truly spring climate, there are several kimono style toppers online and in stores. I received one in one of my Box of Style orders, but I have never worn it out because it feels so much like a robe. To make sure your kimono is perfect for public viewing, find one that isn’t sheer. This embroidered kimono from Zara has some structure and beautiful details.
I’ve always had a soft spot for a wrap closure. Growing up, I desperately wanted to take ballet lessons, but when they just weren’t available, I settled on trying to dress like a dancer. As a teen, when I first started taking an interest in design, I was fascinated by the Japanese kimono. As an adult, I started taking martial arts, where wrapping and tying my gi was a daily ritual. However, I think the real reason that I have the warm fuzzies when I see a wrap shirt is that it brings back sweet memories of my kids as newborns, in those teeny, tiny wrap onsies.
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