Ever since Coco Chanel coined the timeless term in Vogue in 1926, “little black dresses” have been a classic staple of closets across the globe. The appeal of a little black dress is that you can wear it anywhere with the right accessories, whether you need to dress it up for a special occasion or dress it down for something casual.
A top choice, the Revolve Kenia Mini Dress is a favorite among many due to its fully lined ruched fabric, comfortable stretch fit and classic design.
You can wear a little black dress to a variety of events, but you probably have a specific type of occasion in mind where you want it to work. Think of this occasion when you choose your little black dress so that the length and style will be appropriate. For instance, if you want to be able to wear the dress to an outdoor event, consider the season and venue--will it make more sense to have a long sleeve or a short sleeve, or will you want to wear a jacket or sweater with it? Will the dress look good with tights and boots when it is cold, or will it only work with heels? What length or cut is most comfortable for you? The perfect little black dress is only a staple when it fits you and can fit the dress code of many occasions.
Accessories can dramatically change the look of your little black dress. The ones you choose may vary based on your hairstyle or the dress’ neckline, but they also may depend on the fit of the dress or the occasion. If you like to wear your hair up, you can show off dangly earrings that will also draw attention to the neckline. If the dress has a more open neckline, you may choose to wear bold or layered necklaces instead. You can add a coat, scarf or cardigan to a dress to add color, pattern or coziness. Or, change the shape of the dress by adding a belt, jacket or sweater to it that fits the event you are attending.
The type of material your LBD is made of matters. Breathability and movement are key if you plan to be active in your dress. Nylon and polyester fabrics are perfect for summer dresses, and cotton and knit fabrics will keep you warm in the winter. You want your little black dress to be comfortable so you will look forward to wearing it and will get the most usage out of it.
Everyone loves when a dress has pockets. They are especially useful if you don’t want to carry a purse or if you want to keep your hands warm. Pockets add comfort and convenience to any style of little black dress.
If you plan to wear your little black dress a lot, it helps if it is machine washable. This means it will not fade, shrink or get damaged when you run it in a washing machine. You may still want to hang up your garment to dry, though. Read the tags to be sure you know how to best care for your dress.
Zipper: A zipper is a quick alternative to a button and can help you get ready in a hurry. Though a zipper can get stuck and break, a button can fall off and get lost. Zippers provide full coverage and do not leave gaps in clothing. They also provide a more form-fitting look than buttons.
Buttons: Buttons can offer a stylish way to cinch an outfit. You may be able to add or move buttons to make the dress fit better, but you also may have areas that are too tight or too loose if the dress doesn’t already fit you well. You don’t want to worry about gaping or tightness because of button placement.
Little black dresses are available in a variety of price ranges, and the cost will largely depend on where you buy the dress. You can find a little black dress for under $20 if you shop sales, clearance racks or from a mainstream retailer. Designer brands, department stores and boutiques will have higher quality dresses at a higher price.
A. A “little black dress” does not have to be a short dress. “Little” is a general term for all lengths of sleek, flattering black dresses that you can wear often for a variety of occasions.
A. Most online retailers have a size chart, and many also have customer reviews that have photos or sizing info attached. Find reviews from other customers who are similar to your body type to see how the dress looks on a person, especially if the product photos only show the garment on a hanger or dress form. If you still aren’t sure what size to buy, review the store’s return policy. You may want to buy two sizes at the same time so you can compare them at home and return the one that doesn’t fit.
Our take: This statement dress is fully lined for added support and has durable fabric.
What we like: This form-fitting dress is fun, dressy and figure-flattering.
What to consider: The unique style of this dress may not be as timeless or versatile as other options.
Where to buy: Sold by Revolve
Our take: This dress has a classic shape that is appropriate for a variety of settings, from the office to a party. It features pockets and has a slim-fit waist for added comfort.
What we like: The breathable fabric and shape of this dress make it versatile. You can pair it with different accessories to dress it up or down easily in any season.
What to consider: Some reviews say this dress runs large.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s
Our take: This wrap dress has a short length that makes it appropriate for a night out or a party.
What we like: The hidden back zipper closure and stretchy fabric help this dress work for a variety of sizes.
What to consider: This dress may run big on some people or short on tall people.
Where to buy: Sold by Revolve
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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.