Date nights. Job interviews. Graduation photos. Like a ride-or-die bestie, the reliable little black dress – or LBD – has seen me through some of life’s greatest milestones.
No wonder – they’re timeless, work for virtually any dress code (okay, maybe not a wedding), and will go with just about any accessories.
Whether you prefer a structured fit or a romantic organza style with puff sleeves, read on for my selection of killer LBDs that you can wear to all sorts of events. Flattering and comfy, these are dresses you’ll reach for again and again.
How To Dress Up A Little Black Dress
We know what you’re thinking: a little black dress already scores big in the dressing up department. You’re right, but here are some tips on how to elevate your LBD further:
- Statement Accessories
– Start with bold and eye-catching accessories. A statement necklace, chunky bracelets, or oversized earrings can instantly glam up your LBD.
- Stylish Heels
– Pair your LBD with elegant heels. Whether it’s stilettos, block heels, or ankle boots, the right footwear will add glamour (and height!) to your look.
- Belt It
– Add an eye-catching belt to cinch your waist – buckle, chainmail, the options are endless.. This not only adds a touch of detail but also accentuates your shape.
– Depending on the season and the formality of the event, you can layer with a chic blazer, a leather jacket, or a cosy cardigan.
- Scarves and Shawls
– Don’t underestimate the power of a beautiful scarf or shawl. It’ll add elegance and warmth to your LBD, especially in colder weather.
- Clutch or Evening Bag
– Opt for an embellished evening bag or clutch that compliments your dress. It’s a practical accessory that also enhances your overall look.
- Tights and Hosiery
– In cooler weather, consider wearing a pair of patterned or textured tights with your LBD (perfect worn with ankle boots or closed-toe heels).
- Red Lips and Bold Makeup
– Enhance your LBD with a classic red lip or bold makeup. A striking makeup look can make your outfit stand out even more.
- Statement Coat
– When heading out in colder weather, choose a statement coat that matches the occasion. Whether it’s a faux fur, a trench coat, or a classic wool coat, it can be the perfect outer layer for your LBD.
- Experiment with Colour
– Play around with colour by adding accessories or shoes in a contrasting or complementary hue. A pop of colour can make your LBD feel fresh and unique.
With a sleek, midi-length fit and romantic organza sleeves, the Juliet dress works for virtually any smart occasion or fancy event. I love how this gives a glimpse of skin without *really* showing much. It’s sexy but covered up, all at once. Add strappy heels, shades and a chainmail bag – and bring your best ‘glamorous mystery guest at a funeral’ energy.
Perfect if you want some sheer detail but prefer to have coverage in the sleeve department, this bodycon midi dress comes with long fitted sleeves and an all-over leopard print. The velvet detail on the print adds interest and texture, which you can build on by adding some metallic barely-there heels and a pair of statement earrings.
How To Dress Down A Little Black Dress
Dressing down a Little Black Dress (LBD) is a great way to create a more casual and relaxed look while still making the most of this versatile wardrobe staple. Here’s how you can achieve a dressed-down LBD look:
- Layer with a Denim Jacket
– Adding a classic denim jacket instantly gives your LBD a more casual vibe. It’s perfect for a laid-back daytime look or a casual evening out.
- Flat Shoes or Trainers
– Swap out your heels for comfortable flat shoes or sneakers. This will create a relaxed and practical look, ideal for a casual outing or running errands.
- Minimal Jewellery
– Opt for minimal or bohemian-style jewellery rather than statement pieces. A delicate necklace and some simple earrings can keep the look understated.
- Crossbody Bag
– Instead of a clutch or an evening bag, go for a crossbody bag to suit the dressed-down style.
- Scarf or Beanie
– Accessories like a casual scarf or a beanie can add a cosy and relaxed touch to your LBD.
- Layer with a Cardigan
– A lightweight cardigan, perhaps in a contrasting colour, can be a comfortable and stylish addition to your LBD.
- Messy Bun or Casual Hairstyle
– Go for a loose, messy bun or a casual hairstyle like beachy waves to match the relaxed look.
- Earthy Tones or Pastels
– If you want to add some colour, go for earthy tones or pastel shades in your accessories and shoes. These colours can create a softer look.
- Oversized Sunglasses
– A pair of oversized sunglasses can add an air of nonchalance and style to your dressed-down LBD ensemble.
- A Slouchy Sweater
– Layer your LBD with an oversized or slouchy sweater for a cosy and casual outfit, perfect for cooler days.
- Relaxed Fit Tights or Leggings
– If you still want to wear hosiery, opt for relaxed-fit tights or leggings for a more casual feel.
The draped cape sleeves and waist-hugging metallic belt on the Clara mini dress have a touch of the 70s about them – but it’s also clean and modern. This one really accentuates your curves and is sure to make an entrance at your next party or evening event. Oh, and the belt is removable, so you can always swap it out for one of your own to create an alternative look. I’d wear this one with a sparkly box clutch, hoops and knee-high boots.
Smart enough to wear with tights and ankle boots for work, but easy to style up for a dinner date by switching your shoes and layering on some jewellery, this shirt-style mini is extra versatile. The belt really highlights your waist, and you can adjust the button-through fit to give you an open neckline or a preppy done-up look. Customers love this style so much that it’s available in multiple prints and colourways.
Where To Wear A Little Black Dress
A little black dress is one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe, and it can be worn to all sorts of occasions, whether casual, smart or dressy. Here are some places and events where you can confidently wear your LBD:
- Cocktail Parties
– The LBD is a classic choice for cocktail parties and evening gatherings, striking the perfect balance between formal and stylish.
- Formal Events
– When the dress code calls for formal attire, your LBD is an elegant and timeless choice. It’s suitable for events like galas, awards ceremonies, and weddings.
- Date Night
– Going on a date? Your LBD can make you look effortlessly chic. It’s a fantastic option for a romantic dinner or a night out with your special someone.
- Office Parties
– Many office parties have a semi-formal dress code, and your LBD can fit right in. Pair it with a blazer for a professional yet stylish look.
- Theatre or Opera
– For a night at the theatre or an opera performance, your LBD can provide the perfect blend of sophistication and comfort.
- Christmas Parties
– During the holiday season, you can don your LBD to various festive gatherings, from family celebrations to New Year’s Eve parties.
- Nightclubs and Bars
– When you’re heading out for a night of dancing or a fun evening with friends, your LBD can help you look stylish and ready for a good time.
- Brunches and Casual Daytime Outings
– Don’t think the LBD is only for evenings. With the right accessories and a more casual jacket or cardigan, it can work for brunch or other daytime get-togethers.
- Weddings (Depending on the Dress Code)
– Depending on the formality of the wedding and the specific dress code, your LBD can be suitable for both daytime and evening weddings.
- Work Events and Conferences
– If you have work-related events like conferences or networking receptions, your LBD can be dressed up or down to fit the professional setting.
- Travelling Light
– If you’re travelling and want to pack light, your LBD can serve as a versatile outfit for a variety of occasions.
- Graduations and Milestone Celebrations
– For celebratory events such as graduations, anniversaries, or retirement parties, your LBD is a symbol of timeless style.
Deserving of bombshell status, this wrap long-sleeve midi dress has a really soft and stretchy fit that hugs and holds you in all the right places. I love the leg-lengthening split on this one, and the ruched effect created by the wrap-style skirt is really flattering. Style with your most expensive-looking clutch and drop earrings for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment.