Bodycon Dress vs. Bandage Dress: What is the real difference?

Last updated on : February 02 2023

bodycon v bandage dress

Quick Answer

Bodycon dresses are tight-fitting dresses that hug the body and accentuate curves. On the other hand, bandage dresses are made of multiple interwoven bands of material, often thick, designed to create a smooth, sculpted appearance and provide support.

While both dress types aim to flatter the figure, bodycon is all about fit, while bandage focuses more on structure, shaping, and support.

Read the article below to get more detailed differences.


We stumble upon gossip columns that claim Kim Kardashian looked stunning in her bandage dress. We skim articles that express appreciation for how Taylor Swift rocked a sassy bodycon style. However, identifying the difference between a bandage dress and a bodycon dress is not straightforward. Both dress styles show off the feminine profile highlighting sexy hips, booty curves, and alluring bust lines.

If you do not know the difference between a bodycon dress and a bandage dress, it is easy to get fooled by the latest news. The Internet helps you understand the difference between these two styles but the information is often limited and vague. You find lookbooks and fashion blogs that claim to show off fabulous bandage dresses, but what they are displaying are bodycon dresses.

So what exactly is a bandage dress, and how does it differ from the regular bodycon dresses that are up for sale? The clue lies in understanding the fabric and fit of the dress. Here’s a detailed guide to help you recognize a bandage dress and how to find one that works for your body. 

what is a bodycon dress infographic

What is a bandage dress?

Knowing the definition of an article of clothing is the first step to recognizing it and investing your money in the right thing. Manufacturers make authentic bandage dresses from composite heavy bandage fabric. The material supports your curves and controls bulges. A quality bandage dress should tuck you in and double as shapewear.

Bandage dresses are tight, sturdy, and durable. They are designed to fit like a glove or second skin and hug your curves to smooth and shapely perfection. They offer the iconic bodycon silhouette but are different from standard bodycon dresses—which brings us to the question.

red cherry bandage dress

What is a bodycon dress?

A bodycon dress or body contouring dress a close-fitting garment that does not shape your curves. Instead of hugging you like a glove, a bodycon dress is designed to trace your silhouette. Think of a well-tailored suit or sexy tailored jeans.

Usually worn in warmer weather because of their relaxed fit and lighter fabrics bodycon dresses provide no support for your shape. 

Women come in all sizes, and in truth, bodycon dresses can be unforgiving to many of us. These dresses are not options if you are self-conscious about your body because they are designed to trace rather than shape and provide your body no support.

If you have jiggles, bulges, or other worrisome areas a bodycon dress is not going to do you justice and will likely fail to meet your style expectations. Bodycon dresses do not have fabric strength and so do not work like shapewear as a bandage dress does.

Similar dresses are sheath dresses and shift dresses. Sheath dresses are a straight fit with similar dimensions at the bust, waist, and hemline. Shift dresses, are usually short, and fall straight from the shoulders but have some contouring around the bust area, usually darts.

Both these dress types are made from a similar fabric to bodycon dresses but do not contour the body as closely in their fit.   

amber sequin bodycon dress

When to Wear One or the Other? 

The choice between a bandage and bodycon dress often depends on personal preference and the occasion.

Bandage dresses are made from stretchy, bandage-style fabric and provide a more structured, sculpted look. They are typically more suitable for dressier events, such as cocktail parties or red-carpet events.

On the other hand, bodycon dresses are a more stretchy, form-fitting fabric that hugs the body closely. They tend to be more casual and are better suited for a night out or a less formal occasion.

Ultimately, the choice between a bandage and bodycon dress depends on the event and the desired formality and style.

Fit and Fabric

Bodycon Dress Fabric

A well-made bodycon dress boasts a cut that is designed to fit close to your body. They tend to have little to no stretch and will display slack in specific areas, often visible when walking or standing.  

The fabric blend of bodycon dresses can vary greatly too. Worthy bodycon dresses use quality polyester blends with some weight and lining.  

Bandage Dress Fabric

As long as you are not wearing a bandage dress that is a couple of sizes too big, you are unlikely to experience any slack at all - these dresses shape and protect your feminine profile well.

The bandage dress fabric is a stretchy material that resists snagging or tears. It is soft to the touch and breathable so that you can wear it for extended periods. Good quality bandage dresses use a blend of rayon, spandex, and nylon in their construction. 


what is a bodycon dress v bandage dress

Rayon offers silk-like qualities and a trademark luster that provides shine to the dress. Real bandage dresses will always have a noticeable silk-like sheen or shimmer to them. Nylon offers exceptional durability and strength and spandex flexibility, stretch, and figure-hugging characteristics. This mix results in a blended fabric that is durable, strong, and sexy. A proper bandage dress will smooth, shape, and define your curves and will also last a long time. 

You will almost certainly come across lower quality bandage dresses made from polyester blends. Polyester is a soft and pliable fabric that is not strong enough to support and shape. It isn't durable and won't display a silk-like sheen. These dresses do not have the characteristics you would expect of a high-quality bandage dress. Avoid them!

Who wears bandage dresses?

Red carpet celebrities wear bandage dresses because they are fabulous tools to shape hips and thigh areas while highlighting cleavage with sexy necklines. However, anyone can wear a bandage dress, and you do not need a model figure to pull them off.

Quality bandage dresses work for women of all shapes, sizes, and age groups. By clinging tightly to your body, these dresses improve your posture, shape your feminine profile, and give you confidence in your curves. And they're perfect seduction dresses, bringing out the best in your shape and figure.  

How much does a bandage dress stretch and weigh?

Bandage dresses have a thickness and will stretch three to four inches around your body. There is usually less stretch around the bust area compared to the hips, and so we recommend you buy one that fits your bust first. The rest of your body will have ample room to stretch out the fabric.

A high-quality bandage dress will weigh upwards of two to three pounds, roughly 50 percent more than cheaper quality versions. They are not see-through, even under stretch and in front of bright lights. These dresses (with rayon as the original fabric) will always offer a better fit and improved material integrity.

What are the different types of bandage dresses?

There are a few different types (not styles) of bandage dresses to choose from, and mostly this depends on the weave. Traditional dresses have a design that resembles a bandage wrapped around your body. The material is not flat but instead has a flattering set of bandage-like ridges.

The standard weave can differ through the application of a foil that provides thickness and luster to the dress. Metallic bandage dresses are good examples of a foil weave.  

If the pattern is woven into the dress itself, instead of printed on the fabric, you have a jacquard bandage dress. Jacquard weaves can be intricate and take time and expertise to set up correctly on the loom.

Ombre dresses comprise gradients of different colors stitched together into a single piece of fabric. 

Understandably, jacquard, foil, and ombre weave dresses are more expensive compared to the traditional weave dresses.

Bandage dresses use every color under the sun and come in unlimited designs. This variety means that you will find the bandage dress of your dreams with hardly any searching. 

Example of a Foil Weave Bandage Dress

The metallic sheen is visible in this dress created through a unique foiling process that adds more weight and shine to it.  

silver foil weave bandage dress

Example of a Jacquard Bandage Dress

In these dresses, the pattern is in the weave itself, not printed on the top. Weave patterns are intricate and can take some time to knit correctly on a loom. 

jacquard bandage dress

Example of an Ombre Bandage Dress

Gradients of color define ombre bandage dresses.

shades of grey ombre bandage dress

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