How to Wear a Wrap Dress – Top 10 Questions Answered!

Feel like a woman, wear a dress!  Those were the words of designer Diane Von Furstenberg in 1974, the inventor of the iconic wrap dress. Created as an alternative to the masculine dress for success suit, the wrap dress is still a worldwide fashion favorite to this day.

What makes it so popular?

A wrap dress defines the waist, lifts the bust, and gives every woman a fantastic hourglass figure. It’s feminine but powerful – a symbol of the modern woman. Here are the top ten things you need to know about wearing a wrap dress with style!


1. How To Wear a Wrap Dress?

A wrap dress is one giant piece of fabric with a hole cut into the waist. To wear a wrap dress, follow these steps:

  • slip on the dress like a robe, wrap the left side of the dress across your body.
  • find the small hole on the right-hand side of the dress seam,
  • thread the long tie through the hole on the inside of the dress.
  • As the dress cinches up adjust the neckline so it feels snug.
  • Then, pull the longer tie around your back and back and in front again until it meets the other tie.
  • Tie the two at the left side of your dress, creating either a knot or bow and let the remainder of the ties hang down.
  • Make sure your tie is tied snug to keep the top part of your dress in place. 


2. What Do You Wear Under a Wrap Dress?

Wrap dresses are designed to skim your body and highlight your curves. But since they are usually made from silk, jersey, and other soft, stretchy fabrics, they tend to show lumps and bumps. Shapewear is the perfect thing to wear under a wrap dress to create a smooth, even silhouette.

Look for shapewear with a firm tummy panel and a high waist.  I like Spanx High Power mId-Thigh Shaping Short, which goes right up, just under your bust. If you wear shapewear panties that end at the waist, you can often see the waistband outline under the dress because the shapewear doesn’t come up high enough to meet the tie waistband.

I’m also a fan of Spanx Encore Open Bust Mid Thigh Shaper Bodysuit. This has straps and an open bra area. I find the bodysuit more comfortable than shaping shorts.


3. How Do you Wear a Wrap Dress without Flashing?

Wrap dresses tend to come open where the dress crisscrosses at the bust. Some women sew a hook and eye or a snap into the V-neckline to prevent showing too much cleavage. I find that two-sided dressing tape at the point of the crisscross works best. It’s the least noticeable.

You can also try pulling the neckline in place, then pinning it near your waist where the dress crisscrosses. If you try to pin at the top of the dress by your cleavage, you will see the dress pull.

Another easy fix when you’re worried about how to keep a wrap dress from flying open?  Layer it!  Wear it with a  stretchy camisole or tank top worn underneath. It’s perfectly fine to see something like this covering your cleavage, and it’s very appropriate for work.

4. How do You Wear a Wrap Dress in Winter?

The great thing about wrap dresses is they are fashionable year-round.  Light cotton and linen wrap dresses are best for warmer climates, but you can still wear your jersey, silk-blend wrap dresses in cold weather. Wear them as is or with a long cardigan or jacket. Knit wrap dresses are trendy in the winter every day. Velvet and sequin wrap dresses often surface at Christmastime.

Everyday wrap dresses can be worn with a semi-opaque or opaque hose and winter footwear. Dressier styles that you might wear to cocktail party calls for a lighter sheerer hose.


5. Can you Wear Boots with a Wrap Dress?

Absolutely! Tall boots look fabulous with wrap dresses. Or you can wear booties with a high shaft – about 4″. Make sure the booties taper in a bit as the shaft rises and as the taller narrower leg is more flattering when you are wearing a dress.

If you wear booties in the same color as your stockings, your legs will appear longer—i.e., red and black wrap dress, black semi-opaque stockings, and black suede booties.

6. How Do You Wear Leggings with a Wrap Dress?

Some women like to wear leggings with a wrap dress in winter.  The best way to do that is to create a column of color under your wrap dress. For example, in winter, wear a black turtleneck with Ponte Wblack leggings and then layer your wrap dress over the top, leaving the v neckline quite open to expose the turtleneck. Finish off the look with booties. This is a  funky more fashion-forward look.

You can even take this a little further and leave your wrap dress open like a duster, exposing the black column. You will need to tie the belt at the back of the dress to hold the dress open at the front. Here an example of a blogger who got creative to show you what I mean. 


7. How Do You Style a Wrap Dress?

Wrap Dresses have lasted so long because they are super versatile and can be styled up or down.

For Everyday – Wear them as is with some pretty jewelry and feminine sandals or heels. You can wear flats if the dress is on the short side. To give your pretty dress an edge, you can always throw on a leather jacket.

At work – Wear a wrap dress with closed-toe pumps and conservative jewelry such as a single or layered necklace and gold studs.  A long cardigan worn over a wrap dress creates a cozy, chic work look. A structured jacket adds polish and authority, especially at work.  If you want to change things up some days or are in a more creative work environment, you can also try wearing an oversize sweater over top of your wrap dress to make your dress look like a skirt.

After hours – If you are going out for dinner or date night, wear a push-up bra, switch to long dangly earrings, high heels or sexy boots/booties, bolder makeup, and add more bling.


Left | Middle | Right

Midi-length dresses are popular in general this spring, and that goes for Wrap dresses too. Also, wrap dresses in the latest mix of Pantone spring colors are in. Florals never go out of style and graphic prints look modern too. Vertical prints, like stripes, elongate the body and make you look taller.

Faux wrap dresses are another version of wrap dresses with a permanent closure at the front to prevent anything from peeking out. You slip this type of dress over your head to unzip it to get into it. These are great if you are big-busted and concerned about “the girls” falling out.


One of my favorite wrap dresses – I’ve had it for years!

9. Wrap Dress Outfits – Inspiration, Please!

Here are some wrap dress outfits to inspire you no matter where you are going.  For easy styling, these tips:

  • a solid dark color is most conservative if you have a traditional workplace or attend a conservative function.
  • When wearing a print wrap dress, pick up on the colors in print by adding accessories in the same color.
  • Shoes and bags don’t have to match but should relate to the dress.
  • Structured accessories like boxy bags are more formal than soft ones.
  • Small earrings and stud earrings are more conservative than dangly ( so save dangly for fun time).
Mother of the Graduate Navy Print Dress
green floral wrap dress
Wrap Dresses - Black and White BLOG
Wrap Dress - Orange BLOG

10. Where Do You Buy Wrap Dresses?

Wrap dresses are always in style and regularly stocked by many stores. I always find a good selection at Nordstrom and Macy’s. Banana Republic and Ann Taylor often have them too, and of course Amazon and Zappos.

So you see, I really am a fan of wrap dresses! I own three, and I think a wrap is a perfect dress for any occasion. You can wear it casually, to work, on a date, or for a special occasion, and it travels like a dream. Sexy, versatile, and effortless, a wrap dress really is a girl’s best friend!

Here are some more wrap dresses to shop at Amazon:

Plus-size wrap dresses:

Join the Conversation

10 thoughts on “How to Wear a Wrap Dress – Top 10 Questions Answered!

  1. I have tried Wrap Dresses. I am busty so it draws attention to my bust area and makes me look bigger than I really am. It was awful. I wore mine to a wake I was in a hurray that evening. I checked in the mirror as I was going out and was too late to change. I thought Yikes! I was self conscience all evening. I love the look but no more. I struggle to find dresses that really look good on my shape.

  2. I love the way wrap dresses look but they are always too low cut for me. If I pin it at the v part it pulls but I never thought to pin it at the waist where it crisscrosses! Thanks for that tip – now I’ll have to try one again! 😊

  3. Great article! I absolutely love love love a wrap dress! So perfect for every occasion and so easy to dress up or down as needed. 😃

  4. Well, that was a fun post & you definitely look stunning in those wrap dresses. I’ve never bought one because I have larger hips than you do & a thicker waist & felt like they made me look fat. But I’ll try some on for Easter! And I love the St. Paddy’s Day wear – one of my fav holidays!

  5. Love this post. So classy and informative. I to love the kitten heel. These dresses are so easy to wear and as the weather gets hotter they are great for work and church not to mention weddings, graduation and much more Thank you so much for posting

  6. These are lovely dresses. But I also have a question. I have unattractive legs, so shorter dresses and skirts, even those that hit below the knees, show too much leg. I am told that leggings and pantyhose are a fashion faux pas these days… So, I guess I should stick to pants? I am in my early sixties, and slim. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Cyndi, If you don’t like your legs you don’t have to resign yourself to pants. Leggings are great so long as you wear a tunic or long top to cover your bottom and crotch. It sounds like you may want a to wear a top that hits mid-thigh. A long asymmetrical top can be nice too. As for stockings – in winter wear opaque stockings with dresses so long as the dresses are not too fine and tall boots are fantastic.Then there’s long skirts,summer which can look very nice as long as you remember the proportion rule. If you are wearing wide on the bottom, wear a fitted top, like a ve neck tee or fitted sweater. Finally, what about a jumpsuit? They are really in style at the moment and will easily solve your problem.
      I hope that gives you a few ideas. Cheers, Deb

  7. Thank you for this fab website. I look eagerly to receiving your newsletters, etc.

    I am a young 62 yr. old (lol) who needs to know how to dress for a wedding in the tropics? I am also not able to find dressy shoes with kitten heels that could fit my orthotics, any suggestions.

    Keep up the great job, much appreciated.

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