Wrap & Faux-Wrap Dresses, Unwrapped

Why is the wrap dress so darn flattering?

It adds shape and minimizes problem areas with the simple swish of a skirt.

Wrap dresses work for women of all shapes and sizes.

Women wrap dresses around themselves like battle armor. Spanning all sizes and all shapes, on every continent, in every town and city: in wrap dresses women conquer the world.

Designer Diane Von Furstenberg reinvented the wrap dress in the 1970’s by adding a V-neckline and belt to accentuate the female form.

Wrap dresses flatter every body shape

They create a feminine silhouette, skim over the lumps and bumps, and add dimension in the right places.

Wrap dresses BOTH make thin, “rectangle-shaped” women look curvy, and have a slimming effect on plus sizes. Nothing else does that. No other single piece of clothing can accomplish both those things. It’s optical magic.

And this, in short, is why the wrap dress is just about the most flattering style of dress for most women, period.


If wrap dresses were a blood type, they’d be O-, the Universal Donor.

This particular wrap dress by Kiyonna is perfect for Apples – it draws the eye away from the belly with the hem, collar, and sleeve embellishments.

Apple shaped women LOVE wrap dresses because the V-line draws attention up to our bust.

Wrap dresses with belts and ties that lie above the belly-button are best, because we want to emphasize the smaller part of our midsection. For most apples, that is closer to the bust than to the waist itself.

Wrap dress skirts that flare work to minimize issues with our lower belly. The line of the “wrapped” part of the dress distracts from the roundness of our belly.

By “line”, I mean the extra flap of material from the part of the dress that wraps over and overlaps on the front. It’s an automatic, built-in way to make torsos more elongated.

So, we’ve established that wrap dresses are optical magic, providing shape where needed and length where needed. What else?

Wrap dresses are comfortable as can be. I like to think of them as the classy, fitted bathrobes we’re allowed to wear outside the house. In wrap dresses, women can feel simultaneously cozy, sexy, an confident 🙂

Faux Wrap Dresses

Maybe it’s a windy day, and you don’t want your wrap dress blowing all over kingdom come. Maybe it’s hot out. Or maybe you’re shopping, and discover a really adorable faux wrap dress and wonder if it would still work for your apple shape?

That’s a completely fair question. In fact, these days, it’s probably more common to find faux-wraps than actual wrap dresses when you’re out in the store.

The answer is YES. Apple shapes also look good in faux-wraps.

But what’s the difference between a wrap dress and a faux wrap dress?

Faux wrap dresses are all one piece. They don’t have the “extra” panel of fabric that a wrap dress has across the front.

Because of this, for apples, it’s best if the faux wrap dress is made from a material with a print or pattern that camouflages the tummy, like the dress on the model in the image above right.

If the faux wrap dress is one solid color, look for style touches like rouching or draping at the place on your side where the faux wrap gathers. Mini-apples (as well as rectangle shapes) will automatically be given more of a waistline in this style of dress.

That’s a Wrap!

(Sorry, I can never resist an opportunity to make a stupid pun.)

In previous posts I have evangelized about the importance of wrap dresses for apple shaped women, and encouraged my fellow apples to own several of them.

I hope this article has helped to show why they are such a good choice, and the benefits (and ease!) of having several in your closet arsenal.

As always, please reach out with any ideas, comments, or questions, or just reach out to gush about how much you love wrap dresses.

PS: because I go a little insane when I think about and research dresses, and I bookmark everything under the sun, I started a Pinterest to showcase all the things I love for apple shaped women.

Take a look, and feel free to follow (I always follow back!)

I look forward to hearing from you!


13 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I had no idea that wraps were SO popular, but you’ve gone and cleared that up for me! I chuckled at your “That’s a Wrap!” headline, lol. But I definitely agree with you, these would be a great addition to ANY women’s arsenal of clothing.

    I have a question for you, Penelope. Since these work so well, does that mean celebrities and other famous people would use them to always look their best? You know, since they have HD cameras on them ALL the time. It will be good to know what your thoughts are on this.


    1. Haha, thanks Brandon. Always glad to educate on the intricacies of women’s fashion. Keep in mind that you could probably pick out a wrap dress for your wife or girlfriend (or mom or whoever), without knowing much more than the size she takes, and it would probably be a hit.
      I like your insight about about celebrities having it as a go-to. For fun I did a google image search and saw a ton of “candid”/like out on the town, not red carpet shots of celebrities in wraps and faux wraps. So the answer is YES, apparently. 🙂

  2. Interesting idea about the wrapping of dress. I’m contemplating on what to give for my girlfriend’s upcoming birthday. It’s just so lucky that I’ve come across this webpage and that this kinda inspired me to buy her a wrap dress and I wonder what kind of wrap dresses would fit her?

    1. Hi! I’m glad you’re inspired. Let me give you some ideas – look at the tags of a couple pieces of her clothing to see what size she wears. Then, pick out a wrap dress in her favorite color, or in a pattern that has her favorite color. It can be short or long sleeved, long or knee length…just go by what she likes. I’ve linked to a lot of cute ones but the sky’s basically the limit! Happy shopping!

  3. I am simply in love with wrap dresses, I own several really nice ones. A nice stylish wrap dress flatters my body, bringing forward the curves, while at the same time they hide my ugly ties and also forgive if I am a little bloated on some days. Perfect for the office use!

  4. Great article! I loved how true it is that wrap dresses help thin bodies look curvy – definitely an optical illusion but a very helpful one.

    I am not quite a mini-apple but I do find that wrap dresses help to add more curves and a waistline when paired with belts. Somehow, it just works. 🙂

  5. Love this article! Wrap dressed are great indeed, it flatters every body type and I own some myself. Really had a laugh at the ‘that’s a wrap’ part, hahaha!

    Do you own any wrap dresses yourself? And what do you prefer, the faux type or the normal wrapped? Just curious what you like the most 🙂


    1. Thanks for the great comment, glad my cheesy humor landed well 🙂

      And YES, I own SEVERAL wrap dresses. I’m wearing one right now, actually – a flowery one by Lane Bryant. And I prefer the full wrap just because I like the extra visual illusion over my tummy, but there are so many cute faux wraps out there, esp the red/blue one from IGIGI that I link to…it’s tempting to branch out further.

  6. Great article. I never knew of or heard of wrap dresses. These look extremely comfortable, as though wearing a bathrobe like you mentioned. What I find interesting, is how the wrap dresses are great for any shape or size and very universal. Spring is coming and I might have to try out one of these wrap dresses. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy wearing something comfortable and the bonus would be it’s stylish too. Thanks for the lesson on these dresses.

    1. Hi Laurie! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the review and that you are considering wrap dresses this spring. once you go wrap, you never go back, I swear it! 🙂

  7. Hi Penelope,
    I really liked your post. I am familiar with wrap dresses. I know friends that are shapes and sizes and they compliment their body perfectly. Also a couple friends that are pregnant wear them. Very comfortable. Lots of information.

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