Fashions You Can Wrap Your Head — and Budget — Around

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Money's tight. Your budget's tight. Why not your dress?

Herve Leger started wrapping women in swaths of rayon/nylon/spandex in the 1980s, and the silhouette is popular again.

Yes, bandage dresses show off every curve -- probably only the thin need apply -- but since they're made of a kind of fancy, flexible Ace bandage, it should be noted that they're super comfy. So if you've got the shape and the slink, go for it.

The material in most of these dresses is stretch-tastic, but you won't have to stretch your dollars too far to afford them.

Arden B. offers a black and sapphire boat-neck version with just a hint of a sleeve ($98), and Bebe -- always an embracer of the tight -- has knocked off the range of Leger designs to less-expensive perfection (about $98).

For a step up, try on an Adrianna Papell bandage dress in black and white ($148 at Macy's) or similar styles in brown or teal. Show off your sexy self with a crisscrossed bodice and tiers that add texture to what otherwise could be pretty ho-hum attire.

Those wanting to rock this trend with a bit more structure may want to consider Jones New York's Criss-Cross Tiered Dress in Lipstick ($170 at Macy's). It's got the same layer-cake look, but the sturdier material is more forgiving of a woman's, dare we say, unwanted curves.

But if there's ever a time to splurge, certainly it's this time of year. Ring in a decadent New Year in a Herve Leger gold foil print bandage dress that's cut down to there in the back, down to here in the front and tight all over ($1,450 at Saks Fifth Avenue).

The lesson of this new crop of sophisticated bandage dresses? Tight doesn't have to be tacky.

-- Ariel Alexovich

© 2008 The Washington Post Company