How to Style Your Bandage Dress | The Kewl Blog

How to Style Your Bandage Dress

Last updated on : March 12 2016

how to style bandage dress

Bandage dresses are literally everything to us at The Kewl Shop. They come in varied styles, designs, and colors. Over the years bandage and bodycon dresses have become integral and indispensable parts of every woman’s wardrobe. Whether you want to wear it for a night out on the town, during a shopping spree with friends, or on a hot first date; a bandage dress is the one-size-fits-all solution for your fashionista needs.

The bandage dress is believed to be a gift to the fashion world from the 1990s. Designer Herve Leger is widely known to be the man who introduced bandage dresses to fashionistas everywhere. However, the origin of bandage dresses date back to 1986 when well-known designer Azzedine Alaia (also known as the “King of Cling”) released a collection of form fitting dresses that showed off every inch of the feminine profile. Today, this type of dress is worn by the who’s who in the entertainment industry including legends Madonna and Tina Turner alongside present-day icons like Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian.

Bandage dresses are closet staples for many of us because you do not need to have a perfect and flawless figure to pull it off. Irrespective of your body profile and age - the bandage dress is magic. A properly constructed bandage dress pulls you in and smooths you out while also being comfortable and easy to wear for long periods of time. The dresses are uniquely designed to emphasize your silhouette (just like shapewear) and the heavy duty fabric reins in your curves to give them the appearance of being seamless and flattering.

One of the major challenges of having more than one bandage dress in your closet is up-styling and restyling them for various occasions. Chances are you own a bandage dress and are possibly facing the inevitable - you love wearing it but need to give it a fresh look so you are able to wear it as often as you desire. That is where this blog post on how to style a bandage dress comes into play. As the leading provider of designer inspired bandage dresses on the web it is our responsibility to ensure you have plenty of ideas and ways to style your bandage dress without breaking the bank.

In the past we’ve covered how to style your bandage dress for work and how to pull off sexy, hot looks for Valentine’s Day and dates. In this post we cover more of a general approach to styling your bandage dress. These ideas are an inspiration from renowned stylist, photoshoots, fashion bloggers, and customers like you. Be sure to add to our list in the comments and show how your recently styled your bandage dress!

Use Shoes to Change Your Look

A bandage dress is the ultimate totem of complete body confidence. However, a conventional one piece bandage dress does require the right accessories and styling to create an all-around sexy look. As you know the right footwear is paramount to nailing the bandage dress look. The important thing to remember is that bandage dresses are a bold choice and your footwear needs to complement the dress either in form or color.

Naturally, a quality bandage dress and stiletto heels are a match made in heaven. Matching the color of your dress with your heels or opting for a closet staple pair of black or nude pumps is an obvious choice. However, to give your dress a different look consider adding contrasting shoes for change and pop. For example, pair your black bandage dress with a pair of vibrant heels featuring sparkles and glitter or a bold color such as red or whimsical blue. Patterns are alway acceptable. Pair your dress with floral and animal print heels for an unforgettable ensemble. 

Another popular shoe option, particularly for shorter bandage dresses, is heeled booties. If heels are not your cup of tea and you would rather wear something more relaxed and casual, make sure that the color of your flats or kitten heels pop and compliment your dress color and other accessories. The goal is to pair your dress with a variety of footwear to give it that new flavor you have been looking for. From stilettos to flats to heeled booties wearing various styled shoes with your dress is simple and easily achieved with a quick survey of your closet. Chances are the heels that don’t match a thing in your closet are the perfect heels for your bandage dress.

Add Texture to Your Dress with Layers

One of the easiest ways to up-style your bandage dress is to pair it with a coat, oversized vest, shrug, or blazer that is complementary and utilitarian. Adding coats and the like gives your bandage dress a bit of texture. Texture is a sure way to achieve a polished look without having to go hunting for a new necklace or clutch last minute. The key to adding layers to any look is to remain calm and don’t over think. Opt for both fluid (cashmere, silk, etc.) sweaters as well as structured (blazers, denim, etc.) layering pieces.   

styling a bandage dress

For casual events, pair your bandage dress with a denim jacket or shrug for a relaxed, edgy look. For formal events or in the office a fitted blazer is a reliable option.  If your dress is a solid color, pair it with an oversized patterned cardigan or trench coat. When it comes to outerwear, there is no limit to your options. Remember that the coat you wear is meant to add a layer of style and finesse to your dress. Poufy coats or bomber jackets may not be the best idea because they hide your dress and figure - which defeats the purpose of a bandage dress.

Belt Up for Gracious Style  

Solid colored dresses run the risk of looking monotonous. If it is too warm to wear layer or carry a shawl, adding a belt is a great way to break the monotony. If done right, adding a belt to your bandage dress serves a variety of purposes – it helps you flaunt a slim waistline, hide those extra pounds in the tummy area, and creates the illusion of curves on a straight waist.

bandage dresses and belts

Pair your bandage dress with a narrow or wide belt that cuts your dress in half and accentuates your waist. Make sure that you do not overdo this styling accessory but also entertain a few edgy style ideas. For example, don a leopard print wide belt with a solid black bandage dress or a solid colored belt with a fashion printed or jacquard bandage dress.

The width of the belt matters and is easily varied depending on the overall look you want to achieve. Choose a skinny belt if you are a woman with a straight waists or shorter torsos. Go for a wider belt if you have a longer torsos or bumps and bulges you with to hide.   

Choose Your Bling Wisely

As you know, depending on the occasion, all you need are a few statement pieces of jewelry to style your bandage dress to perfection. A good rule of thumb is to choose your jewelry based on the neckline of your dress. Dresses with a plunging neckline are best worn with long necklaces and noticeable pendants. If you intend to wear a scoop necked or strapless bandage dress that shows off your bare shoulders forgo the necklace and splurge on long chandelier earrings instead.

jewlery and bandage dresses

Understated and elegant jewelry works best for work events and formal occasions while chunky and flashy jewelry screams casual and relaxed. Alternating your jewelry is one of the more simple approaches to styling your bandage dress. Explore with a variety of jewelry. At times you may wear a necklace and matching bracelet cuff while other times you may simply opt to go bear. A variation in your jewelry is the most affordable way to keep up-style and restyle your dress regularly (aside from hairstyles of course).  

Bags and Clutches are Friends

Knowing how much or how little to accessorize your dress is half the battle won. When it comes to bodycon and bandage dresses, less is always more. Carrying the right bag serves to dress up or dress down your outfit with ease and little effort. We all have a huge selection of clutches we wore that “one time”. To upstyle and restyle your bandage dress alter between those. Chances are they fit perfectly and take minimal thought and effort to pull together.

One rule of thumb to remember is that the size of your handbag should be inversely proportional to how formal the event is. A formal evening party requires a clutch purse that is just enough to carry your bare essentials (lipstick, foundation, cellphone, etc.). For a daytime or relaxed event, opt for a trendy bag that complements your dress and mood. If your dress is to be the focal point of your ensemble, a small clutch is your fail-safe option.

Hair Styles Impact Overall Looks

Varying your hairstyle is one of the most affordable and simple ways to change the look of your bandage dress. A different hairstyle gives your look two different feels and vibes. If you have often worn your hair down and allowed it to freely flow consider pulling it up. Try half-up, half-down styles or relaxed ponytails instead. If you find that you often wear your hair up with your bandage dress consider letting your hair freely flow and adding voluminous curls to the ends. 

Altering your hair allows you to change the feel and style of your dress easily. From messy buns to braids to free flowing tresses your hairstyle impacts your overall look. Play around with a few of your favorites to pull more looks out of your dress.

Bandage Dress Style Side Notes

In order for your chosen style to work, it is important for it to fit in seamlessly with your bandage dress. A few factors to consider while styling your bandage dress is the color of the accessories, the scale, and of course, the occasion you are putting it on for.  

If you are wearing a solid colored bandage dress, and pairing it with colorful accessories, make sure that the jewelry, the outerwear, bag and shoes are in colors that complement. If they do not compliment at minimal they should match each other. In general, do not use more than three distinct colors in your whole outfit. If you are wearing a patterned bandage dress, tread very lightly when it comes to your styling. Allow the dress to be the focal point, and take the nude shoes and delicate jewelry path.

Styling your outfit with fashion accessories of mismatched scales is another faux pas. A patterned bandage dress, when paired with busy-looking accessories, creates a look that is busy, unfocused, and unkempt. If your dress has sequins and embellishments feature them and put on less jewelry and makeup.

In a nutshell - choose your look and stick to it through and through. The focus of your styling then needs to be on complementing your dress and not overpower it. Here are few other quick and complete looks: 

  • If you are gunning for an edgy style, pair your bandage dress with a choker neck piece, black leather boots or jacket, a cuff bracelet, and a studded handbag.
  • Go hobo and playful with chunky jewelry, a colored bandage dress, skinny belt, ballet flats, and a headband.
  • For work, pair your stylish bandage dress with delicate jewelry, a classy satchel bag or briefcase, kitten heeled-shoes, tailored blazer, and a stylish watch.
  • When you want to shine, complete your bandage dress with glamorous jewelry such as a bib necklace, dangly earrings, and sparkly rings. Add an embellished clutch, stiletto heels, and oversized sunglasses to tie it all together.


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About the Author

Sasithon Bella is the kewl in The Kewl Shop. Co-founder, chief buyer, bandage dress guru and a lot more. If you like what you see at The Kewl Shop it is because of Sasithon Bella. You might know her better as Sasi.



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