It’s not often I reach for anything other than a full-skirted 50s dress. Even all the beautiful gathered border print skirts I own get massively overlooked, because wearing a dress is just so much easier than pairing together separates. Dresses always come across as effort intensive and fancy to people who don’t often wear them, but those of us with a closet full of dresses know the secret truth: they are the laziest, easiest way to look put together with almost no effort. With my 50s style swing dresses, that just means zipping one up and tugging on a fluffy petticoat underneath.
Wiggle dresses, admittedly, are more effort intensive for me, because then I’ve got to think about shapewear and smooth lines and blah blah blah, hey, are you eating fries right now? Oh man, can I have one please?
Yeah, you get it. So you’d think, realistically, that I would make time for dresses that occupy that vintage-style middleground instead to give me more variety, the dresses that don’t cling to you but also don’t puff away from you, sucking up everyone else’s personal space. The dresses that fall in swishy, neat pleats, that float gently about the knees, that fall rather than poof. You would think. Somehow, I just forget about them. I think I’m so used to bold prints, bright colours and drastic silhouettes that I just overlook the softer, sleeker, gentler side of vintage fashion. But each time I do opt for something more in that vein, perhaps a 40s style dress, the people I encounter seem to adore it.
‘Oh my God, I love this look on you!’ they say, as I wrinkle my brow quizzically, smoothing the material out over my body, asking ‘Really?’ in almost self-conscious confusion. The first time, I figured maybe it was that specific dress. But each time it happened, in a new dress no less, I begun to wonder if maybe that silhouette simply suited me more than I realised. And as I appraised those styles more closely I realised one thing; y’all, they are the most lazily easy to wear dresses of all. Jackpot!
Wrap dresses have to win in this category, hands down. Any dress that emphasises your waist, embraces your bust and floats gracefully down from your hips is going to be a winner on pretty much every body type, and the most beautiful thing of all is that wrap dresses are usually pretty stretchy. Hello comfort, hello bangin’ bod! And hello Unique Vintage, with this Kelsie wrap dress that finally brought me to these most beautiful realisations once and for all.
This dress is definitely a One Dress That Does It All piece. It’s flattering but also modest, stylish but also simple, vintage inspired but also modern passing, so it’s easy to wear almost anywhere for that perfectly balanced level of ‘I look great!’ without screaming ‘look at me!’–unless you want it to. Work appropriate, this style can still just as easily be dressed up for dinner out, worn simply for a day running errands, donned for meeting your partner’s parents, worn to pop to the farmers market, flaunted for–well, you get the point. It’s simple enough you can style it up or down just by considering a few accessories, and in addition to all that it’s so stupidly comfortable. Given it’s made from a soft quality stretch knit blend that’s no surprise, but still, it makes me intensely happy each time I sit down while wearing it and realise ‘oh yeah, this doesn’t make me feel like the waistband is cutting my stomach in half. Awesome!‘ The fabric isn’t a thin flimsy knit either, with enough weight to the material that it feels reassuring while wearing it, another plus.
The dress features three quarter length sleeves, the most universally flattering length, and has a pleated, lined V-neck crossover bust. Being a wrap dress, the waist obviously ties with an attached fabric belt, but I appreciate that it has a slim tie on the inner wrap that allows you to secure it in place, much like dressing gowns do, before you then wrap over the front layer and tie up the belt fully. My fear with wrap dresses is always that I might at some point come undone somehow and end up flashing everyone, well, everything, but in this style I feel thankfully safe and secure. The unlined skirt floats around your knees as you walk, but there is room for a slim volume petticoat if you want just a little lift away from your legs, as I’ve shown in the pictures above.
Regarding sizing, I knew I would most likely fit in the XL for this piece but I wasn’t certain exactly how stretchy the fabric would be so I decided to play it safe with the 2X. My bust is 45 inches, technically putting in me in the 3X rather than the 2X, but the waist would have swamped me in that size. It was the idea of the dress struggling on my broad shoulders and large upper arms that made me size up from XL to 2X; tight shoulder seams make me hunch my shoulders and flex my back in discomfort all day long, sometimes so badly I actually strain my shoulder muscles, so these days in sleeved dresses I size up for comfort in that area, knowing I can alter the waist if need be for a closer fit. Since this dress is plenty stretchy, even in its medium weight knit, the size chart holds pretty true, with perhaps some additional leeway to nudge it nearer to sizing large. My 45 bust fits it without any problem and I feel a larger bust could probably fit in this size still without there being an issue, though the more you test the measurements in the bust the more cleavage you will find on display. Since it’s a wrap style the waist is adjustable, so to speak, up to a certain point. Overall, I would advise you to buy your usual Unique Vintage size or possibly to size down, depending on what kind of fit you’re looking to achieve in the style.
Since this dress has taught me that wrap styles are the easiest of all dresses to wear, ever, ever, I can tell I’ll be reaching for this dress constantly when I need to get quickly out the door or guarantee my comfort over a long day. It’s nice to know, however, that even after prioritising ease and comfort over style, no one else will be able to tell that the latter wasn’t my number one consideration. Feeling comfy and looking good all at the same time? I’m sold!
The Kelsie wrap dress comes in navy and green polka dot prints and a fun lipstick print in sizes XS-4X for $78. Unique Vintage ship internationally,