Dress your little-black-best!

L&S Black dress

Finding the right LBD for your shape and style

By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor

It’s 7 p.m. and you’ve just received a notification on your iPhone that Janie’s Christmas party is in an hour and you completely forgot. Since her parties are legendary, instead of reaching for another bowl of popcorn, you reach for something stylish to wear. But what? A little black dress, of course!

The little black dress, or LBD, is one of the most classic wardrobe staples a lady can have in her closet. Thanks to Coco Chanel, who took the colour black out of mourning and into everyday fashion with the first LBD in 1926, women in the Western world have been dressing them up and dressing them down for myriad occasions since then.

So what’s so great about a little black dress? It’s timeless and elegant. You can make a splash at school or the office by pairing it with a blazer, tights, and boots, or if cocktail hour is more your style you can pump it up for those endless holiday parties by losing the blazer and choosing luxe accessories like a gold clutch and earrings to match. What was once effortlessly business when worn with a sleek bun becomes sex kitten chic with a loose, volumized hairdo.

Include a search for the perfect LBD in your holiday planning. You’ll get a ton of wear out of it over the next two months, and you’ll find this handy basic is useful for spring and summer looks as well. Fit and style are extremely important. Because the LBD is so simple, it comes in many different styles, but is usually short (hence the moniker “little”)—either skimming the knee or just above it. Keep length in mind, because the length you choose should depend on your height. If you’re on the shorter side, go for a shorter hem; this will lengthen your legs.

If you’re curvy, then fit is very important. Don’t go for something super tight or super baggy. A soft fabric (like silk) will skim over your curves without hugging them too tightly. Pick an A-line skirt that flows away from your body. This will balance your hips and give you a flirty look. Don’t be afraid to show off your best features! A minimalist outfit is like a blank canvas, so pick your best part and then dress to flaunt it.

LBDs can also be embellished with lace trims, vertical stripes, and can even come in the ever-trendy bandage style for the Sofia Vergara’s among us. But if your style is more Zooey Deschanel, never fear—there’s a little black dress out there with a Peter Pan collar on it just screaming your name. In the land of the little black dress, there’s something for everyone.

Super versatile, and a classic wardrobe staple for almost a century, the LBD isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Which style will you pick?