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 when she invented the iconic wrap dress.

Created as an alternative to the masculine Dress for success suit, the wrap dress is still a worldwide fashion favorite today. Here are the top ten things you need to know about how to wear a wrap dress with style!

1. Why are Wrap Dresses so Popular?

Wrap dresses are feminine, professional, and universally figure-flattering. This iconic style defines the waist, lifts the bust, and gives every woman a fantastic hourglass figure.

It’s pretty but powerful – a symbol of the modern woman. I call the wrap dress my go-to Dress because I can wear it anywhere, anytime, and look stylish and appropriate. 


blue wrap dress

dress | shoes | bag |earrings

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2. How To Wear a Wrap Dress?

A wrap dress has an interesting construction; It’s basically a big piece of fabric with sleeves and a small hole cut into the waist. You have to wrap or tie it together to wear it. To wear a wrap dress, follow these steps:

  • Slip on the Dress like a robe, and wrap the left side of the Dress across your body.
  • Find the small hole on the right-hand side of the dress seam and thread the long tie through the hole inside the dress.
  • As your wrap 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 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 snugly to keep the top part of your Dress in place. 


3. 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 perfect 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 also likeSpanx Encore Open Bust Mid Thigh Shaper Bodysuit. This has straps and an open bra area. I find the bodysuit more comfortable than shaping shorts.

dress | shoes | bag | earrings

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4. 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 into place, then pinning it near your waist where the Dress crisscrosses. You will see the Dress pull if you try to pin it at the top of the Dress by your cleavage.

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, which is appropriate for work.

Amazon Essentials makes a few different wrap dress styles (see me in three of them in this post.) From my experience, they are the best  I’ve found for staying put at the bust.



5. How to Style a Wrap Dress

Wrap Dresses have stood the test of time because they are extremely versatile and can be styled up or down. For example:

For Everyday – Wear a wrap dress on its own with some pretty jewelry and a pair of pumps or strappy sandals in the summer.  You can also wear flats if the dress is on the short side. If you want a modern edge, you can always throw on a leather jacket.


dress | shoes | wallet | jacket | chain bracelet | bangle | earrings

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At work – Wear a wrap dress to the office with closed-toe pumps and conservative jewelry such as a single or layered necklace and gold studs. A long cardigan over a wrap dress creates a cozy, chic work look. A structured jacket adds polish and authority. For a change or are in a more creative work environment, you can slip an oversized sweater over top of your wrap dress to make it look like a skirt. Slip the bottom of the sweater into the belt, lightly pull it, and let it drape over the waistline.

After hours – If you are going out for dinner or planning a date night, wear a push-up bra with your wrap dress. You’ll also look more alluring if you switch to long, dangly earrings, high heels, or sexy boots/booties. Bolder makeup and more bling also add to the sexy vibe; opt for a velvet, sparkly, or sequin wrap dress for parties and special evening events. 

There are a few variations on the classic wrap dress, all in style and all popular, but here are a few trending right now.


Midi Wrap Dresses

Midi-length dresses are the latest, which goes for wrap dresses. Florals never go out of style, and graphic prints look modern, too. Vertical prints, like stripes, elongate the body and make you look taller. Animal prints have an alluring look.


Ruffled Wrap Dresses: Wrap dresses with ruffles at the neckline or hem create a romantic look and flatter this style of dress. Most times, the wrap dress will also have puffy sleeves to match the flowy look.


purple cashmere wrap dress

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Knit Wrap Dresses: Wrap-style sweater dresses are elegant and chic. I just bought a gorgeous DVF cashmere wrap dress that is soft and streamlined.

Faux Wrap Dresses: Faux wrap dresses are permanently stitched down at the waist and neckline to prevent anything from peeking out. You can usually slip it over your head, or there will be a zipper in the back or side. These are great if you are big-busted and concerned about “the girls” falling out.



7. 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 or silk-blend wrap dresses in cold weather. You can 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.

Wear everyday wrap dresses with semi-opaque or opaque hose and winter footwear. Dressier styles that you might wear to cocktail parties call for lighter, sheerer hose.

Red and Black Floral Wrap Dress

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8. 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 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.

9. 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 black leggings and then layer your wrap dress over the top, leaving the v-neckline open to expose the turtleneck. Finish off the look with booties. This is a  funky, more fashion-forward look. It takes skill and confidence to pull it off.

You can take this a little further and leave your wrap dress open like a duster, exposing the black column. You must tie the belt at the back of the dress to hold the Dress open at the front. 

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, and, of course, Amazon and Zappos.


Inspiration -Wrap Dress Outfits to Copy

Here are some wrap-dress dresses you can wear no matter where you go.

Shop more Wrap Dresses


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 the 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 studs are more conservative than dangly ( so save dangly for fun time)


So you see, I am a fan of wrap dresses! I own three, and 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 is a girl’s best friend!

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

  1. I bought two wrap dresses at Banana Republic a year ago to wear to church. They both work great in XSP & with the double-sided sticky tape, you suggested at the crossover part. The only thing is the ties are forever long. I mean, you could wrap a lot with them. I don’t want that much bulk, so sometimes I wrap one around twice before I tie it. Is there a reason for long ties to be connected differently, or do you do your best? Every time I wear them, I can’t remember what I did before and spend too much time playing with the ties. Thanks for your help!!!

  2. I have tried Wrap Dresses. I am busty, so it draws attention to my bust area and makes me look bigger than I am. It wasn’t perfect. I wore mine to a wake. I was in a hurry 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 look good in my shape.

  3. I love how wrap dresses look, but they are always too low-cut for me. It pulls if I pin it at the v part, 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! ????

  4. Great article! I love love love a wrap dress! So perfect for every occasion and easy to dress up or down as needed. ????

  5. Well, that was a fun post & you 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!

  6. I love this post. So classy and informative. I 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.

  7. 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, should I 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 if you wear a tunic or long top to cover your bottom and crotch. It sounds like you may want to wear a top that hits mid-thigh. A long asymmetrical top can be nice too. As for stockings – in winter, wear opaque socks with dresses so long as the dresses are not too delicate, and tall boots are fantastic. Then there are long skirts, summer which can look very nice as long as you remember the proportion rule. Wear a fitted top, like a neck tee or fitted sweater, if you are wearing wide on the bottom. Finally, what about a jumpsuit? They are really in style and will quickly solve your problem.
      I hope that gives you a few ideas. Cheers, Deb

  8. Thank you for this fab website. Look eagerly to receiving your newsletters, etc.

    I am a young 62 yr. Ld (lol), who needs to know how to dress for a wedding in the tropics? Am also unable 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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