Wrap Top

AKA: surplice top, wraparound top

How to say it: rap top

Traditional Features: 

body template


  • two front sections that cross over each other
  • front sections may extend into sash ends which wrap around the body


…of the style: For such an abundant style of top, the history of the wrap top is surprisingly hard to find. Given that it is such a classic style and can be achieved with little to no sewing, I would assume that the wrap top has been around for many, many years, but the earliest mention of one that I could find is the 1940s.

Wrap coats, dresses and skirts have existed since at least the 20s, but the top seems to be far more elusive. Perhaps it is a modesty thing – the V-neck created by the overlapping front sections of the wrap top can be quite deep and show a lot of skin, so perhaps that has something to do with it. But then the few images I could find of the 1940s style wrap tops were actually wrapped from the back, allowing the garment to have a more modest neckline, so maybe not.

According to the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion, the wrap top was worn in the mid 1960s and the 1980s, but it doesn’t say who, why or how the top became popular.

Regardless of when or where the wrap top originated, it as definitely become a fashion staple in the 21st century. Wrap tops are available in a huge variety of styles, colours and fabrics, and given that it is an almost universally flattering style, its likely that the wrap top will be a fixture on the fashion landscape for many, many years to come.

…of the name: The two front sections of the top wrap around the torso, hence the name.

For the little I could find out about the Wrap Top check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion, or type Wrap Top into your favourite internet browser and see what comes up. Hopefully you will have more luck than me.

21st Century Wrap Tops

They may have a mysterious history, but there is no doubt about the wrap tops present popularity. From the huge variety of styles available in the current marketplace, the wrap top certainly seems to have a bright future as a fashion staple.

Carven DVF

Carven, Diane von Furstenberg

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Giorgio Armani

Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Giorgio Armani


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