A little black dress (LBD) is a black dress cut simply and often quite short. It is a recognized symbol of style and elegance and few will argue that the “little black dress” is the most functional dress around. In fact, it is considered an essential piece to complete a woman’s wardrobe – the one to turn to when nothing else seems to work. But the LBD is also a blank canvas that you can use to express your unique self.
Styling a LBD – the basics
In general, if your little black dress is a statement piece, go minimalist with the rest of the look. Otherwise, begin with accessories. Bold colors, metallics, and bright prints add visual impact to the black dress. A new hair style or hair accessories can be used to further enhance the look. Similarly, makeup should have a good color scheme since it will really pop in a little black dress. It’s important that your nail polish, eye shadow, and lipstick match the rest of the wardrobe.
Don’t forget the handbag – it’ll really show up on the contrasting black background. The purse doesn’t have to match shoes or accessories but should blend in well with your overall color scheme. A crossbody statement bag will really stand out against the black backdrop. And since the bag will be easily noticed, make sure it’s clean.
How to style a Little Black Dress
Remember, your little black dress is a blank palette. There are dozens of ways to style it so don’t’ be afraid to mix and match the suggestions below or be creative and come up with your own unique style. Here are a few key tricks to styling a LBD – from top to bottom.
You can layer your outfit to break up the monochromatic dark palette inherent with the little black dress. For instance, try a vest, cardigan, or jacket over the LBD. Remember too that given the neutral-color palette, you can treat the LBD as a separate piece. For instance, you can pair it with a top or skirt to break things up.
Next, try adding a scarf or embellished collar to add a splash of color to the look. Then add bold statement accessories like a choker, necklace, of wide bangles. Long necklaces work especially well with little black dresses and will elongate your silhouette too. You can even embellish the dress itself with a standout brooch or pin.
Faux fur pieces look great over the top of a LBD or if fur is not your thing, you could wear with a leather jacket, brightly colored coat, tailored jacket, or a statement coat. Try a button-down shirt underneath for that school girl look. Alternatively, try white gloves for daytime and black gloves for evening to dress it up. You could change the entire look too by wearing a sheer fishnet or mesh dress over it.
There are plenty of ways to break up the midline of your LBD outfit. A simple trick is to tie a flannel shirt around your waist. Or add a metallic belt for a bit of sparkle and glow that will really stand out against the black background.
Got legs for miles? The eyes can be drawn downward by wearing patterned hosiery or polka-dot tights. You can add sneakers for a quirky contrast or pair your LBD with splashy animal print shoes or better yet, eye-catching red shoes.
Other ideas for styling that little black dress
- Pair your LBD with a printed bomber jacket. The look rocks.
- Try it with sandals and sunglasses, even a tote bag.
- Layer a kimono over the LBD for a boho vibe.
- If your little black dress is sheer, try going with all black accessories for an elegant look that can’t be beat.
- Try nude shoes to make your legs go on for miles.
- Top your LBD off with a buffalo plain poncho. You’ll be surprised at how well the combination meshes together.
- If your little black dress is too short, cover up with an oversize (but well hanging) light colored coverup.
- In the winter, try wearing your LBD with black tights.
- For a polished look, pair your LBD with gold accessories and a black handbag.
- Wear your LBD over a cuffed white blouse for a professional, sophisticated look.
- If your little black dress is delicate, make it explode with a pair of lace-up combat boots.
- Bright colored nail polish will really pop in a monochromatic LBD. Ditto for luxurious white pearls.
- A bold black and white graphics coat adds a classy touch to a LBD.
- If your LBD is full length, create eye relief with sharp contrasting heels.
- If your dress has delicate lace details, keep the focus where it should be and opt for matching sandals.
- Make your LBD casual with flat sandals and a neutral shade belt. Then top it off with a statement bag.
- Wear your LBD with flats or sneakers and a bomber or army jacket.
- A denim vest can create a unique, interesting look. Pair with heeled sandals and a bucket bag for a relaxed look.
- If all else fails, throw on some red lipstick and forget about everything else.