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How to Wear a Wrap Dress: Styles, Tips, and Tricks

Wrap dresses have been a staple in the fashion world since the 1930s, and we have not fallen out of love with them yet. From true wraps to faux wraps, convertible wraps, and more, the fact that they can continually be adapted to changing styles means they are a great piece to add to your wardrobe. 

How to Wear a Wrap Dress_ Styles, Tips, and Tricks fb

Wrap dresses are designed to flatter a wide range of body types, thanks to their adjustable ties. They’re versatile enough to wear for both casual and formal occasions. Additionally, they offer comfort and practicality. What’s not to love about all of that? 

So, let’s have a look at the diverse styles that continue to make these dresses a wardrobe essential and some ideas on how to spice up your wrap dress styling.

Different Types of Wrap Dresses

The first thing to wrap (get it!?) your head around with wrap dresses is that there are quite a few different types. Of course there are the true wraps, but there are also faux wraps, convertible wraps, sarongs, magic wraps, and more. Let’s have a look at the features of a few of these.

True Wrap Dress

A true wrap dress has two separate panels that come around the body and overlap in the front or at the side. They are secured with a tie, button or buckle  which allows for adjustable sizing and a custom fit. The true wrap dress is very versatile and can be both quite a casual look as well as something stylish and elegant.

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

Faux Wrap Dress

A faux wrap dress mimics the appearance of a true wrap dress, but it doesn’t actually have the two panels and is instead sewn closed. This means it can’t be adjusted but will always fit and fall in the same way. So a faux wrap dress can provide the same stylish look without any need for adjustment.

oten Women V Neck Ruched Wrap Dress Knee Length Work Business Sheath Party Dresses with Ruffle Sleeves Dark Green Small
Oten Faux Wrap Dress

How to Wear a Wrap Dress with Different Body Types

There are so many beautiful body types in this world. And no matter which one you are, wrap dresses can work for you. There just may be certain styles that are going to fit better and that are going to better complement the features that you love the most in yourself. 

Wrap dresses can be played around with in order to draw attention to, or away from, different aspects of our bodies. So, let’s look at some ideas for styling your specific body type. 

Slim and Lean

If you have more of a slender body type with long limbs and a narrow frame, wrap dresses can look really elegant on you. To add the illusion of curves, try out wrap dresses with additional elements like ruffles or draped layers. Bold patterns can also look really nice and add visual interest to your slim frame. When thinking about how to fit the dress on your body, aim for a wrap that hits right at your waist to give it more definition and to add curves.

Athletic and Muscular

If you have well defined muscles with broader shoulders and a narrower waist, you could aim to highlight those features by going for a wrap dress with spaghetti straps. If you prefer not to accentuate them, try instead a wrap dress with a deep neckline which would take visual focus away from your shoulders and arms. Another option is flutter sleeves which tend to soften the look of bulkier muscles.

Curvier or Fuller Figure

With a softer or rounder body shape, a wrap dress can do really lovely things to enhance your fuller figure. Darker shades tend to have a more slimming effect if that’s important to you. But you can also embrace your natural shape by using a wrap dress to accentuate it. You might do this by finding one with an embellished tie or belt. Or go for a wrap dress that has a fuller skirt that will flow beautifully over your curves.

Occasions to Wear a Wrap Dress

Wrap dresses are truly so versatile. Depending on the pattern, style, and the way you accessorize them they can go from laid-back gatherings to sophisticated affairs and everywhere in between. Here are a few options and ideas. 

Casual Weekend Outing

There’s a flowyness to a typical wrap dress that makes them perfect for a casual outing. Go for a comfortable jersey fabric if you’re going to be busy running different errands. If you’re headed out to brunch with girlfriends, a vibrant color or a playful print can make this simple outfit look very polished and put together (and no one needs to know how little effort it really was!). Pair your wrap dress with sandals or sneakers to round out an effortlessly chic yet casual look.

Office or Professional Setting

Opting for the comfort of a wrap dress doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice anything in terms of polished professionalism. A modest neckline and a knee-length hem makes any dress office appropriate. Choose a solid color or a subtle pattern to round out the professional appearance. Go for small heels and minimal, classic accessories for a look that you’ll be totally comfortable in.

Cocktail Party or Evening Event

If you’re going to an evening event, opt for a gown-length version, or opt for something that hits above the knee if you have a cocktail party to attend. For these more formal events go for a luxurious fabric like silk or chiffon. Depending on which style you choose, you may or may not have a lot of space for accessories. But if you do, go for statement jewelry and heels to round out the elegant outfit.

Ever-Pretty Women's Front Wrap Long Sleeve V-Neck Evening Dress Formal Dresses for Women Wedding Guest Burgundy US8
Ever-Pretty Wrap Evening Dress

Tips for Wearing a Wrap Dress

There may be this little voice in the back of your head saying ‘wait! I don’t know how to wear a wrap dress without flashing everyone!’ And, yes, that’s a totally legitimate concern. But there are some things you can do to seriously minimize that risk. You can also play around so much with the styling of these dresses, that’s the fun of it all!

Select the Right Dress 

Choose a wrap dress that is not too low-cut and has a hemline that falls at or below the knee. A modest neckline will ensure you’re covered, while a longer hemline will keep the dress appropriate for various settings, including the workplace.

Ensure a Secure Fit

Make sure your wrap dress fits nice and snug around your waist. That being said, you also don’t want it to be too tight that your stomach will constantly be pushing at it all day. 

Certain fabrics can be a bit trickier to keep in place, and a tip for how to wear a silk wrap dress for example is to tie your knot extra tight. Slippery fabrics like satin or silk are more likely to come loose or totally undone over a few hours. If you can, make a double (or even a triple) knot to avoid that slow loosening.

PRETTYGARDEN Women's Maxi Satin Dress Puff Sleeve Wrap V Neck Ruched Belted Long Formal Cocktail Dresses (Blue,Small)
PRETTY GARDEN Satin Dress Wrap

Mind the Neckline

Again, the great thing about wrap dresses is their adaptability. If you want that plunging neckline, it’s an option – if you don’t, that’s also an option. Whichever one you’ve opted for, if you have any concerns on how to wear a deep cut wrap dress without flashing anyone, consider using small strips of double sided fashion tape to keep everything in place. Thinner pieces will be better to stay more hidden, however what works best will depend a lot too on your body type. Try different products out at home before you decide to trust them out in public! 

Fearless Tape - Double Sided Tape for Fashion, Clothing and Body (50 Strip Pack) | All Day Strength Tape Adhesive and Gentle on Skin and Fabrics | Transparent Clear Color for All Skin Shades
Fearless Tape – Double Sided Tape


If the neckline is too low or the wrap front seems insecure, wear a camisole, a tank top, or bandeau underneath the dress. It can provide coverage if the neckline dips too low. Choose a color that coordinates with the dress for a seamless look. This will ensure that if the dress shifts, you won’t be exposed. Also, you can wear tall, waist-shaping shorts for added security and modesty.

Attach a Modesty Panel 

You can use a detachable panel, also known as a “modesty panel” or “chemisette,” that clips onto your bra straps and fills in the low neckline without the need for layering.

A modesty panel is a garment worn to fill in the front and neckline of any garment to create the appearance of a blouse or shirt underneath. It is a versatile accessory that can be used to provide modesty or add a decorative element to an outfit. 

A modesty panel typically consists of a thin piece of fabric that covers the chest and ties or fastens at bra straps. It can be made from various fabrics to match or contrast with the outfit it’s intended to complement.

Recently, I created a tutorial on how to sew a modesty panel, which guides you through the process of making one from scratch. This can be particularly handy if you’re looking to ensure a perfect match with your outfit.

How to Sew a Modesty Panel Cleavage Cover Step-by-Step Tutorial fb

I also made a wrap dress from a pattern I selected, and I have a detailed tutorial about sewing that dress How to Sew a Dress Using a Pattern: A Step-by-Step Guide. During the process of creating images for that tutorial, I noticed the dress revealed more cleavage than I was comfortable with.

wrap dress I made

To address this, I made a modesty panel from the same fabric as the wrap dress. Although I didn’t create a tutorial for this specific panel, I have included images of me wearing it with the dress to give you an idea of the finished look. The panel provides a cohesive and modest appearance, perfectly complementing the wrap dress.

Blue wrap dress I made with a modesty panel

Sew in a Snap or Hook and Eye 

For a more permanent solution, you can sew a snap or a hook and eye to the inside of the dress where the neckline crosses. This will hold the fabric together without altering the look of the dress from the outside. 

Use Safety Pins 

If the dress tends to gape open, you can discreetly use safety pins to keep the wrap dress closed. Pin the top of the dress or the inner flap to your undergarments or the opposite side of the dress to ensure it stays in place.

✅ Related article: Safety Pins: Types, Sizes, and How to Use Them

Accessorize Wisely 

Choose accessories that complement the modest nature of your outfit. For example, a scarf can add an extra layer of coverage around the neckline if needed. Drape it in a way that complements the dress and provides the coverage you need.

A large or chunky necklace can sometimes cover enough of your chest to obscure a plunging neckline. This won’t provide full coverage, but it can draw the eye away from the low cut of the dress.

Choose the Right Bra 

Consider wearing a bra that is designed to be less visible under low necklines, such as a plunge bra or one with a lace detail that looks intentional if it peeks out.

Experiment with Knot Styles

Depending on the closure on your wrap dress you may have a lot of space to play around with different knot styles, or even to add accessories like a belt or a scarf. Try out a classic bow knot, a side knot, or tie the fabric at the back of your dress and allow its tails to hang down loose. Get creative with the knots, there are no rules here.

Check out even more tips from this video on different ways to tie a wrap dress:

How to Style a Wrap Dress

Like with any piece in your wardrobe, accessorizing a wrap dress can elevate your outfit and add interest to your entire look. Here are some pieces you might consider. 


A statement belt can not only add a really nice additional level of interest to your outfit, but it can also be super functional. The belt can add definition to the shape of your wrap dress, and it can also help make sure you don’t have any undoing throughout the day! 

In terms of picking out the right belt, you might go for a contrasting color for some visual interest or a metallic finish for a bit of a more glamorous look. 

Some wrap dresses come with a matching belt, don’t be afraid to give that one the boot and replace it with something more interesting! 

The only thing you’ll probably want to avoid is wearing a belt over a wrap dress that already has a substantial amount of fabric in place for tying as this can add unnecessary bulk.

Statement Necklace

A V-neck creates the perfect canvas for a statement necklace. If you’re wearing something with a bold pattern you’ll probably want to opt for a simpler, single-toned necklace. On the other hand, if your dress is quite simple, use something a bit flashier to liven it up.


Depending on its length, a silk scarf can behave fairly similarly to a necklace. You could wrap it snug around your neck like a choker, which is a great option for a higher neckline. Or simply drape a scarf of any material around your neck and let the ends hang loose — this can work really well with a wrap dress that has a collar, so you can tuck the scarf under the collar. Alternatively, you could use a silk scarf as a belt by tying it around your waist, creating a chic and coordinated ensemble.

Layering Options

Another question when wearing your wrap dress is how best to layer it. And for that you definitely have a lot of options. You could drape a tailored jacket or blazer over your shoulders for a polished look. A cardigan or sweater over the top is a casual choice perfect for cozy days. You could also think about what to wear under a wrap dress by layering a button down or other sleek, simple piece.

For those interested in making their own wrap dress, I have a detailed sewing tutorial that includes how to create an easy pattern. This tutorial is designed to help you from start to finish, ensuring you can make a beautiful wrap dress that fits you perfectly. 

how to sew a wrap dress

Choosing the Right Shoes to Wear with Wrap Dresses

From top to toe make sure to think about your entire look when sporting your wrap dress. How it’s wrapped, how to accessorize it, and of course, the shoes! Here are a few ways to mix and match different shoe styles. 

Strappy Sandals

The breezy, feminine look of a wrap dress goes beautifully with the laid back vibe of strappy sandals. This is such an ideal beach look, especially if you want one with slight elegance, like for dinner on the sand. If you do have a very light dress, don’t overdo it with chunky sandals that will take away from the subtle beauty of it all.


Wrap dresses can transition your wardrobe through seasons really nicely. But if you’re not sure how to wear a wrap dress in the fall, try pairing it with some boots. Opt for sleek, heeled boots for a dressier look, or flat boots for a more casual vibe. Overly embellished boots though may clash with the soft and feminine aesthetic of the dress.

Classic Pumps

A very classic look is to combine a pair of pumps with your wrap dress. This is a versatile pairing which can go from day to night; office to party. Pumps can also be the answer to how to wear a wrap dress for date night as they add some sophistication. They can also elongate the legs — which, combined with the right angles on the dress, can create amazing long lines and a killer look. Consider pointed-toe pumps for a modern look, but overly ornate or chunky heels are best avoided as they might distract from the dress’s elegance.

Nmoder Women's Casual Wrap Flared Midi Dress Wedding Guest Cocktail Tea Dresses A-Line Swing V-Neck 3/4 Sleeve Rose Red M
Nmoder Casual Wrap Midi Dress

Hopefully you’re excited to revisit the wrap dresses in your closet with some new ideas. Or maybe you’re ready to pick up a brand new one and experiment with where and how to wear it. Either way, enjoy the versatility wrap dresses can bring to your life. And keep it stylish!

Did you find this guide on how to wear a wrap dress useful? If you’re nodding yes, why not save this pin to your Pinterest board? That way, you can easily return to the article whenever you need a refresher on wrap dress styles. And for an ongoing stream of handy tips, tutorials, and all sorts of creative inspiration, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. Happy pinning and styling!

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