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9 Wrap Dress Styles (by Neckline and Sleeve Style)

Woman wearing a red wrap dress

The wrap dress is well known as one of the most flattering dress styles. It looks universally good on all body types because it enhances the bust, minimizes the waist (is a slimming dress) and looks great for all occasions. The wrap dress can go anywhere and you can style it to be casual to formal. But within the basic design of the wrap dress, there are many different styles you can wear.

A. History of the Wrap Dress

The wrap dress was created by Diane von Furstenberg in 1972. She wanted a professional garment that women could wear to work. The dress became a symbol of women’s liberation and professionalism. The trend faded briefly but re-surged on the fashion scene in the late 1990s. Today, it is a staple. Hollywood’s hottest celebs and fashionistas the world over have donned various types of wrap dresses. It has become a crucial part of women’s wardrobes.

B. Different Types of Wrap Dresses

The classic wrap dress is made with a three-panel design that is made of the inner panel, the outer panel and a belt or snaps that brings the dress together. Typically, the dress is tied or snapped together over one hip. The dress is somewhat contouring to the body but still forgiving enough to hide problem areas, particularly around the rear end and hips. The tie waist is the most common style of wrap dress.

Because of the wrap design, the wrap dress is extremely forgiving and often fits even when you gain weight or lose weight since the fit is made to form to you rather than you forcing your body to fit into it.

C. Wrap Dress Necklines

Wrap dresses are all made with the same basic design but little variations make a big difference in the way the dress looks. Necklines can change the look of a dress dramatically.

Boat neck

Alice + Olivia Women's Virgil Boat Neck Wrap Dress, Black, 8

The boat neck style is a high-cut neckline that is wide across the neck. This neckline leaves the collarbone exposed but keeps both shoulders covered.


R.Vivimos Women's Summer Short Sleeve Floral Print Bohemian Beach Waist Tie Wrap Long Flowy Dress with Slit (Small, Green)

Is a plunging neckline the secret to a perfect wrap dress? This is a popular style of wrap dress that offers up some cleavage and a little peek of skin. Wrap dresses tend to be a more conservative style, so choosing this neckline can be a way to display a little sexy style in an unexpected way.


Floral Print Dress,Ethnic Scoop Neck Wrap Maxi Dress with Slit

The wide scoop neckline is very wide and low, exposing the collar bone, neck and upper chest. This neckline is usually low enough to display a little cleavage, too.


Women Above Knee Length Lantern Long Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress Sweetheart Neckline Ruffle Hem A Line Dress Wine L

The distinct sweetheart neckline has a heart-shaped design that adds a touch of whimsy to any dress. This is a good neckline for women who want to enhance their bustline and emphasize the chest to make breasts look a little larger.

V neck

Not to be confused with the plunging neckline, a V neckline comes to a point and looks like the letter V. It can be low or high and may or may not display cleavage.

D. Wrap Dress Sleeve Styles

Different sleeve lengths and types have a big effect on how your dress looks. Varying length sleeves and styles will make or break your overall outfit.

Cap sleeves

Amazon Essentials Women's Cap-Sleeve Faux-Wrap Dress, Burgundy, X-Large

Short cap sleeves cover just the shoulder and leave the arm totally bare. If you’re not comfortable displaying your entire arm, this short sleeve length is not for you.

Long sleeves

SheIn Women's Surplice Wrap Long Sleeve Pearls Beaded Solid Mini Pencil Dress with Belt Plain Black Medium

There are lots of different long sleeve styles that are paired with wrap dress styles. Bell sleeves, standard long sleeves, wide sleeves, there are lots of options out there. Long sleeves may end with cuffs, ruffles, elastic hems or wide openings.

Quarter length sleeves

Star Vixen Women's Three-Quarter-Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress, Navy, X-Large

Quarter length sleeves end below the elbow but before the wrist. These sleeves may e loose and wide at the bottom or fit close to the skin.


SheIn Women's V Neck Spaghetti Straps Sleeveless Sexy Backless Wrap Flare Dress Large Black#1

Some wrap dress styles have straps instead of sleeves, which exposes almost all of your neck, shoulders and arms. This is great for a summer look and puts a sort of beachy twist on the classic wrap dress silhouette. Wrap skirt styles are a good go-to if you’ve got a cute blouse you want to wear but you like the wrap look.


The wrap dress probably isn’t as straightforward as you thought. There’s a lot going on with this supposedly simple garment. You may still have lots of questions about this dress style. We’ve got the answers to all the most frequently asked questions about the wrap dress.

Are wrap dresses in style?

Wrap dresses have become a classic and many women consider them to be a wardrobe staple. Wrap dresses can be styled to be casual, semi-formal or even formal. They’re incredibly versatile and very flattering for all body types. That means that wrap dresses are truly timeless. These dresses will always be in style and always look fashionable.

How can you create good wrap dress looks?

There are lots of ways to style a wrap dress. To create a cute casual wrap dress look, professional outfit or semi-formal look n spring or summer, try a floral wrap dress. Style it with a purse and shoes in a neutral color, such as a light beige, so that the dress is the star. Wear very little jewelry so that the dress will shine. Earrings and a watch or bracelet should be fine.

Mix and match solid colors to style your wrap dress. Wear a wrap dress in one solid color and match it shoes and a purse in a different contrasting color. This will make your entire outfit pop.  You can also wear a wrap dress and match your shoes and purse to it to wear a single color. Add a little contrast with statement jewelry that will stand out, such as earrings or a necklace. Always be sparing with jewelry so as not to overwhelm your outfit.

What is a faux wrap dress?

A faux wrap dress actually doesn’t open up and wrap around you. It’s made as a single piece that you put on over your head or pull up onto your body from your feet. It’s already closed, rather than being able to perfectly conform to your existing shape. Faux wrap dress styles made to have the criss cross V shape of the classic style of a wrap dress but they’re actually closed and sewn and not actually wrap dresses.

Can a wrap dress be altered?

Because the wrap dress is a pretty simple garment, there are many ways it can be altered. If your dress plunges too much in the V shaped neckline, if the shoulders don’t fit properly or if it is too long in the sleeves or hem, these alterations can be made simply. If the dress is too small, however, it may not be possible to alter the garment so that it will fit better. Because wrap dresses are so flattering and generally easy to alter, they’re a favorite choice for bridesmaids attire. Long wrap dress styles are just as versatile and flattering as short wrap dress styles, which is why this is considered to be such a perfect dress type and an all-around closet staple.

Why are wrap dresses so flattering?

What about the wrap dress makes it look so good on so many body types? There are a few reasons why the wrap dress will look good on you, too. First, the wrap dress fits around the waist and adds definition to this area. This helps create the illusion of a more hourglass shape, or helps to enhance the hourglass shape you already have, to make you look curvy.

Wrap dresses also create a V-shape silhouette on the bustline. This defines and enhances the bustline, which again helps to emphasize your natural curves. And because the skirt often flares out, even if just a little, this helps showcase your hips even as it creates less definition around the rear end and thighs. The skirt fits loosely in these areas, which helps to hide any problem areas you don’t want to show off too much. In other words, this is a beautiful dress that will look good, whether you’re wearing it in cotton fabric or wool, whether you choose a black wrap dress or you buy everything in floral prints.

Wrap dresses can have any hem length. They can be made in everything from mini dress to midi dress to maxi dress lengths. They can also be styled in many different ways, though the outfit will probably look better if you opt for something more like strappy sandals over your favorite sneakers to pair it with.

What do you wear under a wrap dress?

Because the wrap dress provides so much coverage, a standard bra and panties should be fine to wear under most wrap dress styles. However, you may need to make some adjustments for certain types of wrap dresses. A dress with straps or no sleeves, for example, will require a strapless bra. For the most part, you can wear whatever underwear you like. The wrap dress lends itself nicely to various types of shapewear as well when you want to get a more perfect fit.

How to choose the perfect wrap dress?

Since the wrap dress style is so universally flattering, t’s hard to go wrong. However, there are some things you should consider if you want to find the perfect wrap dress for you. First, touch the fabric. Make sure this is a fabric that you want to feel against your skin all day It will rub and move against your skin. Uncomfortable fabric will make you feel itchy and make you hate what you’re wearing.

Make sure you like the way the colors of the dress look on your skin. Always choose the right colors based on your own natural coloring. Match a warm natural color palette to warm colors like brown, red, pink and orange. If you have a cool tone, style yourself in pastels and bold, vibrant jewel tones in shades of green and blue.

Though wrap dresses are designed to fit well and flatter any body, you still want to make sure you like the way a wrap dress looks on you before you buy it. Slip it on and get a look at yourself before you make any dress buying decisions. Soon, wrap dresses may become your go-to wardrobe staple.

How do you wear a wrap dress in winter?

Wrap dresses can be worn in any season as long as you style them correctly. First, choose a long sleeve wrap dress to wear n colder weather. You should also choose a wrap dress made in a thicker fabric. A knit or wool blend will provide insulation against the cold. You also want to wear tights that provide coverage for the legs to keep them warm as well. Top off your outfit with a long coat and a thick scarf you can wrap around your neck to provide warmth here.


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