Little Black Dress – Style & Shopping Guide

Perhaps the most quintessential, and wide-known, staple to a woman’s closet is the LBD—Little Black Dress. But it may also be the least understood by most. The beauty and integral feature of the Little Black Dress lies in simplicity, in terms of design and aesthetic. Simple enough to compliment hard or soft accessorizing, and yet sharp enough in design to draw attention all on its own, the Little Black Dress is a balance of all components that alter an outfit. Although they come in an eclectic mix of media and a wide array of shapes and sizes, deciphering the perfect LBD for any occasion has come down to quite a science.

Kate Hudson's SS14 LBD Collection for Anne Taylor

Kate Hudson’s SS14 LBD Collection for Ann Taylor

But there are still a few things to consider—the length, the occasion, and your personal aesthetic.

For the Height

If you’re on the taller or shorter ends of the spectrum, the LBD you choose will have to address the issue of length as a main concern. Taming your height may be one of the most useful applications of an LBD, but learning the dynamics of your body type is an even more widely applicable resource. If you’re taller than average, long legs may be your defining feature. By choosing a longer hemline, closer to knee length, and a softer fabric like silk or charmeuse, you will elongate your torso with draping techniques. Choosing this method, your LBD will act as the perfect blank slate for you to accessorize, drawing the eye to particular features. For those of you who are shorter than average, shorter mid-length hemlines 1” to 2” above the knee and form-fitting fabrics like organic cotton will elongate your legs and draw attention away from your midsection.

Burberry Prorsum SS14 Collection

Burberry Prorsum SS14 Collection

For the Occasion

Now the beauty of a Little Black Dress is its functionality—you can dress it up and you can dress it down, whether it’s party attire or business formal. But paying attention to the potential prospects of where you’ll be outing in your dress can help you avoid unfortunate circumstances. If you’re a twenty-something looking for that LBD for spur of the moment parties or late-night venture downtown, your choice may be greatly different than that thirty-something mother looking to disguise a baby-bump on a weekend with the girls. By addressing your realistic uses for a specific Little Black Dress, you can moderate length, texture and level of modesty to suit your needs. After all, you’d like to draw attention in the best ways possible, and if you look like you’re clubbing at a funeral you may be mixing some signals.

For the Aesthetic

Here’s the fun part! Choosing a specific LBD is a personal experience, and in the process you may just find out a little more about your personal style than you knew before. Are you the perpetual accessorizer? Or are you the shoe-aholic amongst your friends? For each and every predilection you’ll find expanses of dresses that’ll suit your needs. If you plan on accessorizing your LBD to the hilt, you’ll want to choose a design that will compliment multiple textures and trends. Choosing a simple charmeuse tunic dress, you’ll have a blank slate to work with gems or metal hardware, and the silken texture will compliment outfits for a night out. If you’re a bit more simplistic in your aesthetic, and you’re looking for a LBD that’ll stand alone with a pair of heels, try a black shift dress. A perfect addition to any closet, the attention to detail and design doesn’t need much alteration in terms of accessories. It’s an inverse relationship, so the less you’re inclined to accessorize the more you should feel free to find a complex LBD design that’ll elevate your simplistic style.

Dolce and Gabbana SS14 LBD

Dolce and Gabbana SS14 LBD

As you can imagine, with the vast expanses of designers out there, there are plenty of choices to choose from to compliment your personal needs. And although these are general guidelines to follow to find your perfect LBD, you may just find your basket full of a few options. A necessity for all wardrobes and aesthetics, no matter how bright they may be, Little Black Dresses should find a place in your closet, and soon they’ll find a place in your heart. Simple, functional, and ever-stylish, an LBD may just be the spring awakening you’re looking for!

Little Black Dress – Style & Shopping Guide

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