The Art of the Drape: Not All Draping is Created Equally

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Draped clothing can be our best friend or worst foe, enhancing our form and covering up the places we’d like to hide or creating lumps, bumps, and sags of material that would make Karlie Kloss look schlumpy (okay, maybe not, but you get the picture!). We must choose our draping carefully – the key is to look effortless, not messy. Draping is all about ease, wafts of fabric that fall as if you don’t have a care in the world. Meet the draped looks you’ll be happy to call your friend.

The vertical drape is flattering on all. A wool-jersey blend gives this elegant skirt the weight a good drape requires. With thin leather piping, this is Grecian goddess dressing gone autumnal. Doo.Ri Long Draped Skirt with Leather Trim on ShopBop for $1,295.

What to do when you feel like your engulfed in fabric? Belt it! Doo.Ri’s cinched jersey dress has boning for structure – which can be the drape’s hidden helper – and an asymmetrical hem to lighten the effect. An ideal option for petite girls. Doo.Ri Belted Strapless Dress on ShopBop for $1,295.

If you choose a draped top, keep the bottom streamlined. (Unless you’re six feet tall. Then by all means, drape away from head to toe!) Drape-master Rick Owens smartly keeps the excess fabric swaddling the bust and neckline, for a flattering look and hint of cowl-neck. Rick Owens Lilies Draped Jersey Top on Net-a-Porter for $335.

And you thought you couldn’t rock a drape to work! Here’s the office drape. When a tailored pencil skirt serves as the structural base, a simple flourish of draping adds the personality that’s lacking. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania “Philosophy” Wool-Blend Pencil Skirt on Net-a-Porter for $345.

A silk mini dress this revealing would be too much in tight and fitted style. Delicately arranged draping saves it, cowl-necked and tulip-skirted dress breezy and ethereal. Haute Hippie Mixed Sleeves Draped Silk Dress at Saks Fifth Avenue for $495.

Then there’s the quirky drape. Prabal Gurung‘s voluminous skirt is a directional play on the mermaid fin. Plentiful fabric separated in the middle for a slit that’s more intriguing than sexy shows a flash of contrasting gray in the back. At Barneys New York for $925 (for pre-order).

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