How To Wear A Bodycon Dress—Subtly

I am neither a Kardashian nor a Victoria's Secret Angel, but I do wear a lot of bodycon dresses. Now, before you jump to any Hervé Léger-tainted conclusions, hear me out. Body-con isn't all bandages: it can be clean lines and understated styling, too. Done well, it's more a return to the fitted shapes of the 1940s than to Chateau Marmont circa 2003. Still require further evidence? Take a look at the five demure (yet adequately clingy) examples below:

1. Rick Owens Cotton-Jersey Midi Dress: This seems like just another tank maxi, but nobody cuts a piece of jersey like Rick Owens (also, little-known fact: Nobody puts Rick Owens in a corner). So what you're actually getting is an elegant, cleaned-up take on 90s alt girl style. Don't worry, though; it's so deceptively casual no one will ever guess it's not a slip from Delia*s.

2. Helmut Lang Slit-Back Stretch-Knit Dress: Know what turns a party dress into an office dress? Sleeves and a good pair of tights. Sure, this is a mini, but pull on opaque stockings and a pair of ankle boots and there's no skin showing anywhere. It's polished without being conservative or fussy, and if you put a blazer over it you'll have even more styling options. And the only person on the planet who doesn't need more styling options is Jessa from Girls.

3. Jason Wu Contrasting-Collar Belted Ponte Dress: This basically has Alexa Chung's name written on it, which is not a bad thing for all the Chunginator fans out there. It's minimalist, it's modern, it's a little bit quirky—it's Jason effing Wu. You will want to wear this thing to every damn business lunch you ever have for the rest of your life.

4. Christopher Kane Printed Stretch-Jersey Midi Dress: The long, lean fit of this calf-grazing t-shirt dress reminds me of Maggie Cheung's perfectly tailored cheongsams from In The Mood For Love [4]. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. Guaranteed to make you buy this dress, tease your hair, and get tangled up in a doomed romance.

5. Rag & Bone Coated-Trim Dress: Trim is definitely having more of a moment than usual. It's not like it ever went away, per se, but haven't you just noticed more of it than usual lately? Rag & Bone is great with shaping and linear accents, so they're a go-to for slightly off-base basics, including this discretely bric-à-brac'd dress. It's versatile without being boring, and a sheath mini is 100% season-less; there's literally no bad time to wear it. Plus, it turns your whole torso into a monochrome rectangle, which can hide a multitude of sins. Fun times for all!

—Lacey Gattis