Fashion

Why the wrap dress is still the most wearable style – and the best versions to buy now

Posted by
Grace Cook
Published

They’re chic, they’re flattering and they’re appropriate for every occasion. It’s no wonder we’re still in love with the wrap dress. 

The wrap dress is one of those styles that has seemingly been around forever. Or half a century, at least. Diane von Furstenberg built an entire career after founding it in 1974 — a knitted wrap style dress, crafted from jersey, that went on to define both her brand and her life for its universally flattering silhouette. So important to the history of fashion is it, in fact, that a DVF wrap dress resides in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Today, its influence shows no signs of waning. The wrap dress is a modern icon — a classic style made new by designers every season, in the same way fashion loves to play with the proportions of a blazer, or the silhouette of a pair of jeans. It’s beloved primarily for the fact that it’s super wearable — depending on the fabric, a wrap dress can be dressed up with heels for weddings and parties, or dressed down, worn with flat sandals and mules. 

It’s also one of the styles that more often than not comes with a full sleeve — sleeves on a dress are often incredibly hard to come by, especially in summer, when fashion favours slinky spaghetti straps that reveal a summer tan. It’s also almost always in midi length, while the waist is snugly fitted and the skirt skims the thighs. It’s elegant, but flattering, and ideal for days when we aren’t feeling our most body confident. 

There are a wealth of options to choose from right now. So whether you’re just in need of a new everyday dress or something to pack for the beach, the wrap dress silhouette is an ideal choice. Here are our pick of the best styles to buy now. 

Sleeper

Sleeper linen wrap dress

The little black dress just got a summery update from Ukrainian brand Sleeper. This linen wrap dress in a midi length, with an oversized belt finished with a bamboo buckle, is perfect for both the office or the beach — simply style with flat leather sandals and a woven tote bag. 

Belted linen robe, £185, Sleeper

Topshop Boutique

Topshop Boutique wrap dress

In a tangerine orange hue, this wrap dress by Topshop Boutique is crafted in the UK from a buttery silk that gives off a delicate sheen. With a contrast ribbon tie that wraps around the waist, and an asymmetrical hemline, this dress is the perfect choice for a summer wedding, worn with a nude strappy sandal. 

Orange wrap dress, £95, Topshop Boutique

Kitri

Kitri lime wrap dress at Selfridges

We know we can always rely on cult London brand Kitri for an endless supply of party-appropriate dresses, and this apple green wrap dress is no exception. Crafted from a slinky satin flocked with a delicate rose pattern, this wrap dress is finished with a ribbon-tied waist to perfectly accentuate the silhouette. Pair with minimal accessories for weddings. 

Satin wrap dress, £145, Kitri at Selfridges

Sandro

Sandro striped wrap dress at Selfridges

The classic dress gets a vacation-worthy update this season at Sandro. In a contrasting stripe in a minted toothpaste hue and crafted from crisp cotton, this flouncy dress reminds us of endless days spent by the Italian Riviera or in the South of France, basket bag in tow. Pair with wedge espadrilles for a picnic-appropriate look. 

Cotton wrap dress, £260, Sandro at Selfridges

Reserved

Reserved linen wrap dress

Ideal for beach afternoons that turn into cocktails at sunset, this wrap dress by Reserved is a chic yet easy-wearing choice for throwing on over a bikini — the slinky fabric will look luxe even on the most carefree days. With a ribbon-tied waist and ruched sleeves that add interest, this full skirted dress looks cool worn with flat tan sandals. It also comes in cream linen, for an everyday alternative. 

Wrap dress, £64.99, Reserved

Yolke

Yolke floral wrap dress

Sleepwear brand Yolke has expanded into dresses, and we couldn’t be happier. This leaf-print dress, in a shocking pink hue, has all the elegance of eveningwear and the comfort of a pair of pyjamas. We love the flamenco frill and asymmetrical hemline, while the frill trim on the bodice adds unexpected detail to this usually minimalist style. Ideal for formal occasions this summer. 

Satin wrap dress, £325, Yolke 

COS

COS cotton wrap dress

This cotton dress from COS is an everyday summer hero. The loose-cut silhouette modernises the traditional cinched-waist, while the oversized puffed sleeves and tiered frilled skirt are simultaneously maximalist and minimalist. Pair with chunky black sandals and a simple crossbody bag during the heatwave — the billowing shape will keep you cool as the temperature soars. 

Gathered A-line dress, £79, COS

Main image: Getty Images