With its highly transitional design, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time without the wrap dress. And yet Diane von Furstenberg invented the first-ever iteration of the style in 1974. Since then, they’ve become a mainstay in the modern woman’s wardrobe: a one-piece showstopper that’s so easy to wear, it’s practically a no-brainer. Still unsure? Here are a few pointers.

RELATED: The Best Shorts for Women Over 30

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Pair Shorter Styles with Flats

During the day, follow the unspoken rule of Francophiles everywhere: Wear flats when the dress is above the knee to ensure you always look effortless.

Get the look: Faithfull The Brand dress ($149); Baggu tote ($180); Frye sandals ($198)

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And Longer Hemlines with Heels

When sporting a midi to maxi length anywhere but the beach, use the extra height to keep your outfit elevated (quite literally).

Get the look: A.L.C. dress ($425); Intentionally Blank heels ($189); Urban Outfitters bag ($39); Le Specs sunglasses ($79)

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Snag Long-Sleeved Styles in Breathable Fabrics

If you must cover up, a lightweight poplin dress gives a whole new meaning to summer shirting.

Get the look: Topshop dress ($90); Urban Outfitters heels ($189); Designinverso bag ($169); DVF sunglasses ($126)

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Don’t Be Afraid to Go Matchy-Matchy

Teaming a bright pattern with neon accessories is appropriate in the blistering heat.

Get the look: MLM Label dress ($180); Rebecca Minkoff clutch ($95); Sam Edelman heels ($100)

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Look for Vertical Stripes

The goal is to elongate, especially when the piece is a midi length. (Note the block heels.) 

Get the look: Privacy Please dress ($198); B.P. jacket ($69); Kate Spade purse ($149); Splendid heels ($90)

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Use Color-Blocking to Whittle Your Middle

Wrap dresses are innately slimming because they tie at the smallest part of your waist. However, if you want to really seal the deal, find a style with bold color-blocked sections that create the illusion of a more slender figure.

Get the look: ECI dress ($88); Rebecca Minkoff clutch ($95); Sam Edelman heels ($100); A.J. Morgan sunglasses ($24)

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When It Doubt, Pick a Pattern

Mask any imperfections with a fun (and distracting) print.

Get the look: Vince Camuto dress ($99); Rebecca Minkoff bag ($325); Reebok sneakers ($113); Quay sunglasses ($50)

RELATED: 7 Outfits That Make Your Legs Look Longer

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