The DVF wrap dress at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The one, the only: the DVF wrap dress. Iconic since the day Diane von Furstenberg debuted it in 1972, this dress has been a staple in women’s wardrobes for the last thirty-eight years as the go-to option for work and play. A knee-length jersey dress with a v-neck and a sash tie at the waist, the wrap dress compliments most body types and is comfortable enough to wear all day.
The dress’ practicality and flattering cut alone would have made it a must-have item, but its arrival on the American fashion scene coincided with a strong, nationwide upswing in awareness and support of the Women’s Movement, contributing to its instant popularity. As explained by Style.com, the wrap dress became a symbol of the redefinition of women’s roles in American society: women were fighting to compete for power in a man’s world while also preserving their femininity. The wrap dress, with its simple yet striking design and flexible fabric, was an empowering wardrobe choice for women in the working world.
In addition to the dress’ mass appeal and timely symbolism, DVF is a career woman who wanted to preserve her individualism and support herself, all despite being married to a prince. Her message of confidence and success resonated with her female audience, and today she continues to be an inspiring and prominent female leader in both business and fashion. In a March 2008 interview with Diane Sawyer, DVF said: “I have yet to meet a woman who is not strong. They don’t exist.”
Photo Credit: Huffington Post
I’m a personal fan of the wrap dress, even if I haven’t yet had the funds to purchase a real DVF dress. I’ve found that the cut of wrap dresses can vary widely, so it is important to try it on first so you know it hits your curves the right way. Be sure to pay attention to: the plunge of the neckline, the length of the dress and how it clings to the hips. When shopping for the office, you want to watch out that you aren’t buying Forever21’s sexy nightclub wrap dress. For the adorable dress that doesn’t quite fulfill the three criteria, don’t forget that a camisole or slip can save the day.
If you’re a purist and prefer to go for the real thing, check out dvf.com’s wrap dress collection. The dresses go for about $345 and are similar to the one below.
DVF Justin Wrap Dress, $325 at Saks.com
For a more palatable price tag, vintage or consignment DVF dresses are a great option. The typical price range, $120 to $150, allows you to own a true DVF design with a dash of pre-worn love. You can find some options on Etsy:
1stlove, $62 (a real steal!)
If the DVF label isn’t something you require, here are some other ideas:
Kaja wrap dress, $119 at Shopbop.com
Colleen Dress, $117.99 at ModCloth.com
Tie-waist dress, $130 at Banana Republic
Classic wrap, $89.99 (sale) at Banana Republic
Linen wrap, $67.64 at Asos.com
Flutter-Sleeve Dress, $69.98 at Macys.com
For the moment, the only wrap dress I own is one I bought ages ago at the Freeport, ME Banana Republic Outlet. It has held up quite well through several years of heavy use, well enough to be worn to my current office. I like to wear it with a camisole and cardigan (to protect against the AC when indoors).
I leave you with a reminder of why DVF is so awesome. In an interview with Amanda Christine Miller for the Huffington Post in 2008, she commented about forming one’s identity:
“You make sure that what you do, how you present yourself, from your voice to your hairdo to what you wear, all fits with who you are. Because the more natural you are, the more comfortable you will be in your skin and the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more beautiful you are and the more successful you are.”