Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Style Essentials 4: The Wrap Dress

DVF Classic
According to herself, Diane von Fürstenberg (the surname belongs to her first husband, a German prince... apparently, those still exist) arrived in New York in 1970 with a suitcase full of jersey dresses. Very much like Mme Chanel, she is responsible for creating in 1974 an iconic piece, the wrap dress, in a comfortable fabric. By 1976 she had sold over a million of her signature dresses and landed on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.
Her wrap jersey silk dresses are just beautiful. I saw my first one while having a picnic in Central Park, near Columbus Circle in New York, on a girl out for lunch. I thought the dress was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and have coveted one ever since. In the meanwhile, I make do with my silk jersey L.K. Bennett one (no collar or cuffs) and my several great viscose Hobbs ones (with collar and cuffs), all bought on eBay.
The Essentials
  1. Good stitching: not crooked and not becoming undone in places.
  2. A straight hem hitting just below the knee will always be fashionable.
  3. Look for ssophisticated construction details like a collar and cuffs. 
  4. Self-tie belt.
  5. Choose a great material: avoid clingy jerseys in cotton, modal or viscose or artificial fibres and go for wool, silk or similar-quality materials, like a thick viscose.

Style Essentials 4: Wrap Dress

Style Essentials 4: The Wrap Dress by Caroline Grant. This is a DVF (as her brand is more commonly known) Jeanne dress: silk jersey, A-line cut with collar and cuffs. The Julian wrap is another iconic model, more straight and less A-line, and with no collar. Sizing is American in her dresses (US 6 is UK10, US8 is UK12).

DVF Jeanne Wrap Dress / Armani Jeans Wool Mix Blazer / Milina Imrichova Design Pillbox Hat / Dooney & Burke Tall Double Handle Handbag / Nine West Just Right Boots / Kendra Scott Allison Earrings / Tom Ford Lipstick and Nail lacquer in Black Orchid.

Styling tips for wrap dresses
These dresses are the epitome of demure sexy. Be careful not to overdo it. Unless you want to.
  • A print size that is right for your size and height (tall ladies should avoid minute prints, and petites gigantic ones... you get my drift).
  • A solid in a flattering colour. Go for your best neutral if this is your first (or only) expensive wrap dress. That means black, gray, brown or blue for most people.
  • The right underpinnings: even good quality jerseys can reveal everything underneath. Your bra straps should not be visible from any angle and your underwear should not dig in. High waisted tights can come handy here. If modesty is an issue, go for a camisole.
  • In general, go for closed-toe shoes, (sandals look weird with long sleeves: reserve them for short-sleeved dresses). Flats are difficult to wear with dresses unless you are tall and slender so, if comfort is not your priority (or a necessity) go for kitten to high-heeled shoes. Boots should reach the hem of the dress if your legs are not your strong point or if you mean to achieve a long unbroken line.
Follow the label Style Essentials for more pieces every woman should wear.
Click on Dresses for more styling tips for dresses, obviously.

Diane von Fürstenberg at Voguepedia.
At her website, a timeline for the dress and the celebration of its 40th anniversary, Wrap40,.

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