When we think wrap dresses, we think of Diane von Furstenberg. Though she might not be a princess anymore, DVF is literally the queen of wrap dresses, having built her fashion kingdom on the flattering style.
Furstenberg popularized the style in the 1970s, opting for the style as it was easy to make. And clearly, the women of her time loved the look; DVF sold over a million dresses over the course of a decade and jumpstarted her long career in fashion.
Crediting Diane Von Furstenberg with the invention of wrap dresses is a common misconception. She perfected them, modernized them, and secured their place in contemporary fashion didn’t invent wrap dresses. The style dates back to the 1930s, with the notorious Elsa Schiaparelli.
After she met Paul Poiret in the 30s, Schiaparelli decided to try her hand in fashion, despite the fact that she “decidedly did not know anything about dressmaking,” as Meryle Secrest reported in Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography. “She felt that clothes had to be architectural: that the body must never be forgotten and it must be used as a frame in a building.” Therefore, the wrap dress was key for Schiap. All she had to do was wrap the material around the body, tie the garment at the waist et voila—the wrap dress has been born.
Though wrap dresses are a uniform style, all with a V-neck, wrapped-over bodice, and accented waist, there is actually quite a lot of versatility with wraps. The most exciting factor with orderly pieces is how each designer can revamp the look, make it entirely its own. No two wrap dresses are the same.
Wrap dresses are obviously an excellent choice for summer. For one thing, they’re so lightweight and ethereal, perfect for warm days. The accentuated waist and deep neckline give an added sense of femininity, just what you need to complement your best summer shoes. Plus, the classic, historic nature of the style provides just the right amount of sophistication to any way you wear your wrap.
The best ways to wear wrap dresses in the summer is to go all-out floral. And before you go all Miranda Priestly on us, keep in mind that floral prints truly are a well-played summer classic. And if you’re going to go classic with your style of dress, you might as well keep it classy all around.
Which of the many floral wrap dresses is the dress for you? Great question.
In The Blues
This blue floral wrap dress from Topshop is all you need for the warm weather ahead. This flattering wrap dress is all you could ever ask for in a wrap dress: a striking blue color compliments a delicate floral pattern, while its silhouette is accentuated by a playful ruffled hem. The midi length makes this dress the perfect fit for every woman, and it’s fit just seems to hug us in all the right places for a sexy yet modest look.
This is the dress you wear to stay casually playful.
The Cold Shoulder
We get it: sometimes floral wrap dresses feel a little too conservative. But, this side shoulder wrap dress from Nicholas is completely changing the game and adding a little sultriness to the classic style. This brick red mini wrap dress is dramatically contrasted with a white floral design, making it eye-catching from the minute you step in the room. It has a deep v-neck line with a single ruffled shoulder and fluted hem, showing just the right amount of skin.
This is the dress you wear when you want to let out your inner diva.
The Maxi Wrap
Nothing beats a good maxi dress blowing in the warm breeze, which is why we’re grabbing this maxi floral wrap dress from byTiMo. Not only is the length perfect for mid-day strolls around downtown, but the white base is perfectly complemented by the delicate floral motif. The ruffled sleeves add body and attitude to this femme dress, giving it just the perfect touch of cheeky attitude. This dress will effortlessly make your style bloom for the season with its fun and versatile fit.
This is the dress you wear when you want to stand out from the crowd.
Saint Laurent’s spicy little red number is a ultra-modern take on the traditional wrap. It doesn’t tie at the waist as the look typically does, but it’s still got all the original recipe: V-neck, wrapping effect at the front, cinched-in waist. And Saint Laurent thought to mix in a few added ingredients to spice up the look: sleeveless form, thigh-grazing hem, and a giant rose pattern that almost looks like kiss-marks.
This is the dress you want for summer parties and warm nights.
With flowers AND thin blue stripes, this wrap dress is a little bit summery, a little bit nautical. We love it. Totally classic in shape, yet utterly contemporary in pattern. The linear details give the flowers a slightly cartoon-like element, so teamed with the slightly flared skirt, this dress emits just the right amount of a playful attitude.
This is the dress you need for sunny summer days, paired with a tan, oversized bag.
Pretty in Pink
If you want to go all-out on the playful vibe, Etro’s poppy pink number is the dress for you. Done in the classic wrap form with pretty and peppy flowers all over, this fluted-hem dress pairs perfectly with block heels and a cute clutch.
This is the dress you wear to a daytime party, or on any day you want to flaunt your sprightly attitude.
Bold and Beautiful
And back to the queen of the wrap dresses. If you really want to wear this style right, you turn to Diane von Furstenberg. This particular wrap rendition is basically a garden party in a dress. It perfectly blends two separate, yet equally bold, color schemes, set apart by that feminine, accented waist. This dress speaks for itself. It doesn’t matter what shoes you wear or which bag you carry, this dress will always look fierce.
This is the dress you wear when you want to assert your sartorial authority.
Acne Studio’s version of the wrap dress takes the wrapping to the extreme. This floral cotton dress wraps around the body, as if the fabric is trying to give you a hug. The final product is a creative, structural piece with a jagged and pleated skirt that falls at a maxi length. The dress also has a cheeky little cutout at the back. Though this wrap doesn’t feature the usual aspects of the traditional style like the cinched waist and plunged neckline, it showcases the wrap-around make-up and exudes femininity. It pairs well with a little pair of sandals or a solid-toned set of pumps.
This is the dress you wear when you want to tap into your artistic side.
This understated little number is an elegant choice. It’s got all the makings of the classic form, even down to a tied waist. And what really makes this cunning dress stand out is its lace trim around the long, open sleeves and the pale, almost translucent nature of the white base color. The blue and pink flowers across the surface appear as an exquisite drawing over the dress. Team this piece with ankle boots and a leather jacket.
This is the dress you wear to be remembered.
There’s more to this simple wrap dress than meets the eye. Its tie-waist and plunged neckline radiate femininity, but the dress takes a surprising twist and borrows from the boys with a lapel collar. This cue from menswear adds balance to the ultra-girlish archetype, and plays nicely against the delicate white flowers over the navy silk base. We love this style with a smart pair of loafers and a leather shoulder bag.
This is the dress you wear for work AND play.
This maxi dress showcases the V-neck and accented waist of the traditional wrap style. Its floral print is rendered in a vintage-inspired aesthetic, which looks super refined over the muted pink foundation. Its elasticated waist is a contemporary twist on the classic tied waist most wrap dresses have, allowing it a subtlety most dresses of the style don’t have. We love its long, girlish skirt with a sneaky high-low effect at the bottom—a perfect way to show off your shoes. Go for booties or heels.
This is the dress that you can wear from day to night.