About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Cheap V Chic - The Wrap dress - a wardrobe staple

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Known as one of the staples every woman should have in her wardrobe, the wrap dress is not a new addition for Spring Summer 2010. It's a piece that's been around forever but is no less fashionable now that it was 20 years ago. The question is, can you tell the difference between a high quality, expensive wrap dress and one from the high street costing much less?

Ever since Diane Von Furstenburg made it relevant in the 70s, wrap dresses have been so since!

AnnMarie O'Connor-Stylist & fashion blogger:

According to her website -

"I've been a style writer for more years than is fashionable to mention. Suffice to say I have worked with the likes of The Irish Examiner, RTE, Dazed and Confused, Elle, Trace, Image, IF, The Dubliner, The Irish Independent, Prudence, and interviewing designers, chasing trends, styling, profiling and lying about my spiralling shoe habit. My mantra-burn the tracksuit honey and learn to walk in a pair of damn heels. Life's too short not to look tall and fabulous. Mwah! Lovin' your work. Xxx"
Annmarie is a freelance fashion writer, blogger and personal stylist. Her credits include The Irish Examiner, Elle, Dazed and Confused, Image, Trace, IF, The Irish Independent, and

Over the past 8 years she has interviewed the likes of Terry de Havilland, Zandra Rhodes and Ben de Lisi, and has gained a cult following with her blog: I Blog Fashion which is being made into a book. She is also the organiser of the monthly Fashion Bloggers' Brunch events in Dublin

Models:- Faith, Louise, Libby

According to fashion website Suite 101:

"The most timeless dress style in a woman's wardrobe has to be the wrap. Waist-whittling, bust-enhancing and hip-reducing, women the world over are still wearing it."

"Ever since Diane von Furstenberg (DvF) introduced the wrap dress as a high fashion item in 1972, it was quickly adopted by such celebrities as Princess Diana and Jerry Hall.
The demure wrap then fell out of favor during the '80s power-dressing trend. It was to re-emerge in 1997 with DvF's more modern signature dresses, whose style appealed to a new, younger generation, including the likes of Kate Middleton (Princess in waiting?), Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton and Jemima Khan.

Much of the longevity of the wrap dress is due to its flexibility and versatility:

The Pros
. For middle-aged, curvy women the wrap-dress is the perfect solution. Curvy figures look great in a wrap-style, which is one area where they score head and shoulders above the size zero-somethings of the fashion world.
. Due to its design the wrap cleverly separates and lifts the bust and creates a more hour-glass figure. This is just as true for tops and cardigans as it is for dresses. It is particularly kind to big-busted women. According to the website of TV fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah, in "The Rules", the wrap "pulls tits forward, separates the bust...and highlights the waist".
. Rather than hiding a baby bump under a maternity smock, the wrap is also a perfect outfit for pregnant women, comfortable yet stylish and unapologetically sexy.
. Given its flexibility, the wrap dress is one of the most versatile outfits for work and play! In the office it can be worn with sophisticated pumps and a classy bag ,or teemed with leggings for a fun-everyday look.

The Cons
. According to the Daily Mail's Liz Jones, in her article "RIP the Wrap" of 12 December 2007, "a flimsy, synthetic fabric won't hang as well, revealing every lump and bump." She adds that "now that cheaper high-street versions are available on the market, the quality has fallen a bit." Many dresses are now manufactured in the Far East rather than Europe or the US. When buying a DvF, Jones recommends "the best option is to hunt down a '70s original in a vintage store and look for a Made in Italy label."
. Many wrap dresses feature checks, florals and diagonal or horizontal stripes. Be very careful in your choice of print. The wrong pattern can ruin your image by making you appear frumpy and aging, resembling something akin to your grandmother. Kate Middleton, a staunch supporter of the wrap and high-street fashion, came in for criticism in the Daily Mail's, "The Year of the Rip-Off," 16 December 2007 when she was caught, according to Jones, wearing a "far too frumpy wrap dress from Top Shop."
. The wrap can be cruel to those with small breasts and no curves, giving the you the impression that you have left the house in your dressing gown."

REF: Suite101: The Wrap Dress and How to Wear It!: Pros and Cons of One of the World's Most Ageless Fashion Styles


Outfit 1:- Libby
Necklace, €20, M&S
Wrap dress ???
Clutch, €42, Accessorize
Court shoes, €85, Monsoon

Outfit 2: - Louise
Gold necklace, €20, M&S
Wrap dress ???
Missoni clutch, €TBC, Arnotts
Ring, €14, Topshop
Court shoes, €99, Topshop

Outfit 3 :- Faith
Wrap dress ???
Belt, €45, Ted Baker
Mischa clutch, €TBC, Arnotts
Ring, €10, Topshop
Wedges, €119, Fran and Jane

The Reveal

. Wrap dress, €169, Fran & Jane
. Wrap dress, €35, Dunnes
. Jaeger wrap dress, €230, Arnotts