Everything You Ever Wanted To know About Buying a Bandage Dress

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Buying a Bandage Dress

Last updated on : January 30 2016

everything about bandage dresses

Bandage dresses are the life of The Kewl Shop. Everything you ever wanted to know about buying and styling a bandage dress has been compiled here. Whether you want to know the history of the bandage dress, how they are made, or how to wear one - this index pretty much covers it. We constantly get new questions and information about bandage dresses so this has grown into somewhat of a FAQs sheet on the sexy and trend of bandage dresses themselves.  

Feel free to add to this growing database on bandage dress knowledge by simply leaving a comment below or letting us know via our live chat. 

What is a bandage dress?

The bandage dress is a dress made from a composite material reminiscent of that used in foundation garments or shapewear. It is designed to fit snugly and shape your body with its stretch and thickness with the fabric acting like a second skin. Most high quality bandage dresses are made from a blended fabric featuring rayon, nylon, and spandex and come in a variety of styles and colors (our fav right now is aqua blue - but it does change from time to time).    

types of bandage dress  

History and Trends of the Bandage Dress

The history of bandage dresses follows the evolution of women and their roles within society. It is believed that bandage dresses made their first appearance in the 1990s and were the creation of designer Herve Leger. However, the body hugging dress made its first appearance in 1986 as part of a collection of form fitting dresses and clothing. This collection was released and designed by renowned fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, whom was known as the “King of Cling”. Original bandage dresses were designed and constructed to define and shape the natural feminine proportions and profile of a woman.

In the 1960s silhouette styles emerged and continued to pop up on runways throughout the 1970s. The silhouette styles traced the curves of a woman and laid to rest the need for petticoats and other cumbersome undergarments. Theses styles proved to be more sensible, visually stimulating, and easier to wear. By the time Alaia released his “Cling Collection” the fashion world was ready and eager to embrace it.

We continue to witness and follow the evolution of bandage dresses. Bandage dresses have become closet staples, are worn to a variety of events, and continue to provide confidence to everyday women. Likewise celebrities Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez swear by them. 


bandage dress trends

How are bandage dresses made?

Manufactures of bandage dresses vary in size and production. Dressmakers can produce anywhere between 500 dresses per month to up to 40,000 dresses per month. These factories have two major departments or area of production. The first piece of production features the looms where the bandage dress material is knitted. The second piece of production features sewing machines where bandage dresses are sewn together into final dress designs.

In between these processes there is the washing and drying of the newly knitted material, the cutting of the material into pattern based sizes. After dresses as sewn together ironing, attachment of labels, finishing, and quality control checks take place. 

Tips for Buying a Bandage Dress

It is reasonably simple to do price comparisons between bandage dress retailers and online stores. There are hundreds of places offering bandage dresses at a variety of price points. Here's a checklist on what to consider when purchasing a bandage dress today: 

  • Fabric: Cheap bandage dresses are almost always made from polyester. High quality bandage dresses are made with a blend of rayon, nylon, and spandex. Rayon is a strong and sturdy fabric that is tear and snag resistant. It is blended with spandex and nylon for a fabric that clings to your body like a second skin. Although high quality dresses are strong enough to double as a shapewear, they are comfortable enough to wear for extended periods. 
  • Quality: Read the customer reviews on the store's website. Visit their social media pages to learn more about the brand as well as determining customer satisfaction. Find out what people are saying. Truly satisfied customers always share their excitement and often leave feedback. 
  • Free Shipping: When looking for a reputable bandage dress retailer consider the store's shipping option. Are there hidden costs still to come at or after checkout? Remember, that headline prices often does not include the cost of shipping. Choose a store that offers free shipping.
  • Return Policies: This is very important. Some return policies are fair others are a headache. A similarly priced dress should always be bought from the retailer with the similar return policy. A cheap dress that can’t be returned if it doesn’t fit is worth far less than a more expensive dress that can be returned for credit. A simple way to compare return policies is to look at the period a retailer stipulates a return must be made in. The shorter this period the stricter and less valuable the return policy. Try to go for one longer than 30 days.
  • Customer Service: Are there telephone numbers, live chat, or other means of contact clearly visible on the web site? If you have a problem with your order can you speak to a human being? 
  • Website Rank: Check out a websites Alexa rank. Although not definitive, a lower rank means more visitors and more visitors means more sales. More sales means you are not the only customer this retailer has. In short, an Alexa rank around or below 100,000 would indicate a stronger retailer. 
  • Want to know how much you should pay for your bandage dress? Learn more here.         

Can you wear a bandage dress casually?

Bandage dresses are often reserved for special occasions and polls of our customers constantly reveal that this is a major driver for a bandage dress purchase. There is no other reason why bandage dress purchases increase substantially over the holiday period other than there are more special occasions to wear them too. Can you wear a bandage dress on a more casual basis? Absolutely! Bandage dresses can be dressed both up and down, it’s just a matter of how you choose to wear them.

Here is a great article on how to wear your bandage dress during the day, it focuses on options for layering, shoes and accessories.

You can also read some of our fashion blogger style reviews to gain a sense of just how versatile bandage dresses can be. 

wear a bandage dress casually

How to Care for Your Bandage Dress

We recommend that you dry clean your bandage dress. Sometimes a good dry cleaner cannot be found or perhaps you prefer not to use one. In these instances you can wash your bandage dress gently in cold water either entirely or just the spots that require cleaning. A gentle detergent should always be used. Avoid overly agitated, pulling, or bunching your dress as you wash it. Lay it flat drying rack or a towel, never hang it to ensure it keeps its shape.

For a more in depth look at how to care for your bandage dress watch this video on how to spot clean your bandage dress. We have also written up a step by step guide on how to care for your bandage dress at home

What is a foil weave bandage dress?

A process applied to finished bandage dress material that gives the dress more weight and a textured shiny pattern. Foil weave bandage dresses are heavier than their standard counterparts and have a very durable finish. However, if you consider on of these dresses you may want to go up a size as these dresses have a reduced stretch quality. Almost like a thin plastic coating on which a pattern is then printed. 

   foil weave bandage dress

Who is Herve Leger?

Nowadays, Herve Leger is credited with being the original bandage dress creator. His bandage dress collections feature some of the most famous bandage dresses of them all. Founded in 1985 by the designer Hervé Peugnet, he also created the bandage dress around the same time, pioneering the use of materials used in foundation type garments to make the dress. Ultimately he lost the rights to the name. Herve Leger is now owned by BCBG Max Azria, who actively markets bandage dresses under the Herve Leger brand and their own design direction.

A step back in time reveals that Herve Leger worked under a man named Azzedine Alaia who is original innovator of fitted dresses that cling to a woman's body. In fact the press dubbed him King of Cling for his bandage collections that often featured bicycle shorts and miniskirts.  

What is a jacquard weave bandage dress?  

A jacquard bandage dress features a type of weave where the pattern on the dress is embedded into the weave as opposed to printed on the fabric itself. This type of weave is generally complex and takes quite some time to set up on the loom as it requires experience and knowledge. Additionally the complexity of the weave results in a much longer weave time than more simple patterns and thus generally dresses made with jacquard weaves can be a bit more expensive.


jacquard weave bandage dress

What is an ombre bandage dress? 

An ombre bandage dress features gradient coloring. The dress often features a basic color that fades into its complimenting lighter colors such orange to yellow to white or red to pink to white. This collection of ombre bandage dresses  is a solid example of the variety ombre dresses bring and offer wearers. Due to the natural progression of colors in this type of dress wearers can find accessorizing to be fun and funky or simple and subtle. 

ombre bandage dress

Handling Returns for a Bandage Dress

Throughout the supply chain the concept of returns applies although it’s application differs widely. Factories will accept the return of dresses only under very limited circumstances, wholesalers usually only accept returns for quality or craftsmanship issues. Retailers are almost always required to accept returns for both quality and craftsmanship issues as well as sizing and fit concerns.

A worthy retailer will accept returns under almost all circumstances and provide their customers with ample time to complete their return. However almost universally, bandage dress retailers try to restrict the amount of returns they suffer by reducing the time required for a customer to make a return. Typically this period is around 7 to 14 days and it is very rare for a retailer in the bandage dress market to offer anything as long as 60 days. In order to stay informed always review the return policies of retailers before you make a purchase.

Why do bandage dresses have a sheen and shine?

The sheen in a bandage dress comes mainly from its rayon composition. Rayon has silk like qualities and provides a very desirable smooth and soft sheen to the dress. A high quality bandage dress will always have a subtle shine to it. Low quality dresses will often feature flat colors that fail to give the wearer the shine they see on celebrities.  

Sizes and Size Charts - What size should I buy?

Bandage dresses generally come in four standard sizes, X-Small, Small, Medium and Large. The construction of each of these sizes is meant to be standard yet in practice varies a great deal between styles and sometimes even within styles, and across retailers as well. There is only one solution to this, and that is that a retailer applies the very highest levels of quality control to ensure that sizes are supplied consistently and accurately to end consumers. 

What size should I buy?

Are you confused about what size to buy in a bandage dress? Here are a few tips on how to choose the right size bandage dress prior to placing your order: 

  • If you have a smaller bust and larger hips, order the size that fits your bust. The extra stretch in the dress will cater for your hips.
  • In most other instances order the size that fits your hips as the dress will accommodate a larger bust.
  • You can wear a light corset under the dress like Spanx. The thickness of the dress will more than adequately hide fitted undergarments.
  • A properly fitted dress will stretch 3 to 4 and half inches around your body with more stretch felt across the bust and the hips.
  • This close fit will both shape and hold your body to enhance your figure.


bandage dress size chart

How to identify a quality bandage dress?

A quality bandage dress stretches three to four inches across your body. There will be more stretch around the hips than the bust therefore it is important to get a dress that fits your bust as your hips will stretch into it. When we provide size measurements for bandage dresses these measurements are at three quarter stretch. If we measured the dress flat on a table it would measure a lot smaller than the actual size of body it needs to fit. And this is because of the awesome stretch bandages dresses have. Stretch and thickness in quality bandage dress is amazing. Here how to be sure you can get into it! 

Bandage dresses come in a variety of thicknesses and weight, quality bandage dresses weigh 50 to 80 percent more than their cheaper counterparts – even though they are made of the same composites. As the thickness and weight of a dress increases so does the price, exponentially. So it becomes important that a balance is found between price and quality. 

The Kewl Shop supplies bandage dresses in the high quality range, and is able to do this at the most affordable cost to consumers. Dresses of this quality have very healthy thickness and weight. You will not be able to see-through the dress even at excessive stretch areas or when placed in front of bright light. A high quality bandage dress provides you with the confidence that is needed to wear such a figure hugging dress.

Plus Size Bandage Dresses

Most brands and retailers tend to reserve bandage dresses for slimmer body profiles and produce sizes x-small, small, medium, and large. A handful of retailers have begun to accept the challenge of making XL or plus sizes. Wearing a plus sized bandage dress properly requires that the dress be constructed in such a way to pull, suck, and tuck so that wearers are confident and comfortable. 

Bodycon vs. Bandage Dresses

We get asked all time what the differences are between bodycon dresses and bandage dresses. So here is a list of the basic differences: 

  • Bodycon dresses are made of a variety of fabrics depending on the design and cut of the dress including polyester and cotton blends. (Quality bodycon dresses are lined.)  
  • Bandage dresses tend to feature more sturdy and durable fabrics such as rayon and spandex blends. 
  • Bodycon dresses are designed to trace your curves and highlight your feminine proportions.
  • Bandage dresses are designed and constructed to hug your body - very, very tightly. Think of them as a second skin that sucks you in and smoothes you out.
  • Bodycon dresses are ideal for wearing on warm breezy days outside - think summer dresses. 
  • Bandage dresses are typically reserved for more upbeat party type venues (but have been spotted at casual events as well). 
  • Bodycon dresses feature various colors and prints. 
  • Bandage dresses are typically solid color in nature but embrace many different textures such as woven, horizontal steps, or foil. 
  • Bodycon dresses typically last about four seasons before becoming "out of style" due to design, color, or cut.  
  • Bandage dresses lasts for years - as most styles are very versatile.

bodycon v bandage dress

How to choose a coat for your bandage dress?

The most exciting and attractive thing about bandage dresses is that you are easily able to wear them throughout the year. As the weather cools down adding a coat, shrug, blazer, or jacket to your bandage dress is a simple way to add sexy texture to your look as well as expand your wardrobe. Adding a coat gives your bandage dress new looks that provide you with versatility to adjust to the venue or occasion.

For example, for a dinner with clients go with a blazer or trench coat to keep things professional, for a hot date keep things flirty with a denim crop jacket, and for a night out with friends embrace a more relaxed style and go with an oversized vest or cozy sweater.

To get the most out of your look remember to not cover your dress up completely but rather use your bandage dress as the anchor to you look. When you go to shop for your coat bring along your dress to determine if the coat satisfies your fashion palate. Another tip for choosing a coat for your bandage dress is opt for a more tailored fit to protect the integrity of the dress and your feminine profile.

chosing a coat for bandage dress

What do I wear under a bandage dress?

What you wear under your bandage dress largely depends on the style of dress you are wearing. For strapless bandage dresses or sweetheart necklines it is recommended that you go for a strapless bra. In many cases you are able to forgo undergarments because of the fit and support quality bandage dresses provide. Likewise for a bandage dress with a more elaborate or plunging neckline we recommended adhesive bras.

Determining the style and type of undergarments first requires the best fit. To learn more about how to choose the right bra size we consulted Erica Windle, co-founder of  A Sophisticated Pair, an intimate boutique in North Carolina. Read the full write up here.  

what to wear under a bandage dress

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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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