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How To Wear A Little Black Dress

Updated on January 24, 2011

Many women have the classic LBD in their wardrobe. But - does every woman know how to wear a little black dress?

From the LBD's heyday, Audrey Hepburn and the likes of Coco Chanel, the beloved fashion staple has been around far longer than anyone would have imagined when it first appeared on the fashion scene.

These days they can be worn in a myriad of ways, accessorized to the max, dressed up, down or boho and for those that prefer living on the edge ... rocked up and rocked out.

The little black dress is the archetypal best friend and comforter of women all over the western hemisphere and the nemesis (some would say) of our men folk.

It's also fair to say that many women will wear their dress/dresses according to individual size and shape.

We're not all built like toothpicks - equally we're not all blessed with voluptuous curves in all the right ... and wrong! ... places.

Each and every one of us is an individual - we're not just different shapes and sizes we're also governed by what we like, don't like, personal tastes and so forth.

The key to the little black dress is this: keep it simple. Clean lines, well cut, figure flattering and, generally - knee length.

Black Dresses

Perfect Little Black Dress

Sexy Little Black Cocktail Dress Crystals JR Plus Size, 1X, Black
Sexy Little Black Cocktail Dress Crystals JR Plus Size, 1X, Black

Best selling LDB on Amazon!

Size range: Small up to XXXXXLarge


Before I share the info on how to wear black dresses with you - the first part of the advice that I can offer is relates to this: as you're reading through this guide, do take the time to factor in your body shape as you know ... one size really doesn't fit all!

With that in mind, with your little black dress firmly in your sights are you:

  • pear shaped
  • long and lean
  • average and curvy
  • petite and voluptuous
  • skinny and angular

You can be any combination of the above and I'm going to assume that you have half an idea of what works and what doesn't.

As an example, an A line LBD will look fantastic on pretty much any body shape ... whereas something tight and clingy won't.

Now - are we on the same page? If so, let's work out how to wear a little black dress!

Coco Chanel

How To Wear LBD

Now you're ready to pick up the tips on how to wear an LBD!

  • Now we've factored in the basics, let's talk about how to wear a little black dress.

There is one basic rule:

  • one versatile LBD = various styles and looks

So saying - before you make your purchase, study you, the dress you're wanting, prior top purchase. Make sure that the style will work for you.

Our little sojourn through the how to wear and how not to wear your LBD should also factor in a girls best friend ... value for money!

I've also tried to make this little black dress study guide a little easier to follow, by way of a few helpful pictures that I've created.

The purpose of the pictures is to try to provide you with a vuisual represenation of one dress, several different looks.

I've actually picked two classic shapes:

  • a Jackie O type design
  • an Empire line style

The second one will work for most body shapes, the first one is better for long and lean, petites or those with an average body shape ... average height, a few curves but not too many.

Audrey Hepburn Style Black Dress

An Audrey Hepburn style black dress is more of a style than it is an actual dress.

The overall look you should aim for is super chic - a highly elegant yet classical appearance. Think along the lines of kitten heels, slingbacks, pearls and small, stylish clutches or totes.

Keep things simple, clean cut lines, no fussy accessories or needless embellishments are required.

Arrange your hair in a sleek style, understated yet looking totally coiffed at the same time. All may sound hard (in theory) but really, in practice ... it's not!

Just look at the guide picture I've created and work from there. Study a few pictures of Audrey Hepburn wearing her little black dress in Breakfast At Tiffany's - and you'll not go far wrong!

This really is one of the most timeless ways in which you can wear a little black dress and should not be overlooked as a viable way to dress on a formal night out.

Equally this look is easy to wear to more relaxed, informal events - in fact it can be adapted to suit the venue.

Don't be shy - fashion is all about fun and experimentation!

Accessorize Little Black Dress

In case you need to know how to accessorize a little black dress, here are a few hints and tips to help point you in the right direction:

  • remember that your dress is black - therefore you're only limited with your accessories color wise with what does and does not suit your own coloring
  • decide on an accessory color and stick with it - either close match color or contrasting yet co-ordinating hues
  • don't go overboard with your little black dress accessories - keep it stylish and elegant. You're aiming for chic, not freak!
  • if you're intention is to go a little grungy, a little rock chic, then choose silver accessories, maybe purple or even mid to bright blues
  • little black dress jewelry doesn't have to be expensive. You can create a beautiful look on a very tight budget if your shop smart
  • go preppy - add a blazer
  • getting colder? Add a beautiful scarf and, depending upong the shape and cut of your LBD, a short wool jacket and opaque tights
  • monochrome works well - dare to be different with animal prints or mix and match black and white throughout your look

There are dozens of ways to accessorize a little black dress - you're only (real) limitation is your own imagination!

 Pictures: combination of my own, Wikipedia Commons and Flickya


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    • weseppers profile image

      weseppers 6 years ago

      Amazing, Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      fabgirl21 7 years ago

      Great tips and good hub! Thanks for sharing I will definitely use these tips with my new Jovani dress that I just bought recently.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      Thanks mysisters. I have one, as I've said before, which I can accessorize differently depending on what I wear it for. It's gorgeous and makes me feel the same :)

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 7 years ago

      Very nice Hub. Having a little black dress in your closet is key. I love the look of a little black dress with red heels and some pearls.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      D.Virtual.Doctor - thankyou :) Nothing wrong with helping the guys out with a little fashion advice. Go for it :)

    • D.Virtual.Doctor profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 7 years ago from Europe

      I was scared to put a comment here cos I was thinking it is a lady's hub not until I saw ultimatepotential and China-luxury's comments here. I think it is a very good hub. Though I may not apply it but I think there is or there would be someone special I can transfer the advice to. Now you make me think of creating the hub "How to wear a black trouser (by men)"

      Great piece of work here.....

    • China-luxury profile image

      China-luxury 7 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Very good advice!

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      Mih306 - thankyou. I hope you enjoy wearing a little black dress from time to time :)

    • Mih36 profile image

      Mih36 7 years ago from New York

      Very good advice one wearing LBD. You have so much great information and tips. Thanks!

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      Well all I can say is WOW! at all the comments and feedback! I've been offline more than online of late and this was a lovely surprise - finding so many folks had been a-reading and a-liking! Thankyou all very much! :):)

      @Wildiris - I don't know, sorry. The dress is a separate picture, blended in with the shoes, bag etc as a style idea. I tried (very hard) to locate a similar styled dress on Amazon. I came close but couldn't find an exact match.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Great advice. Thanks for sharing

    • DesignerHandbags profile image

      Jenny Wolf 7 years ago from Point Pleasant, New Jersey

      Thanks for this great hub, thanks for all the great tips. I rated it UP and USEFUL!!! Keep up the great work!


    • profile image

      EmmaMedu 7 years ago

      I love wearing LBD, in fact I'm wearing it right now :o).

      The advice you stated are very good, especially the accessorize part.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      This is clever good idea!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I like the LND (little navy blue dress) myself. Its just enough of a change from black and looks great with any number of accessories. I especially love tan and cream. :)

    • RachelSmile profile image

      RachelSmile 7 years ago

      i like wearing black,it always make me look thiner,haha

    • skn12 profile image

      skn12 7 years ago from Sambalpur(Orissa)

      Very interesting.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      The LBD is a staple. I appreciate your insight that tight and clingy doesn't work for every body style. Neither does it work for every age. Now that I'm in my forties, I realize that I can't pull off the sexy temptress look that worked in my twenties. I can however, pull off the sophisticated seductress.


    • profile image

      WildIris 7 years ago

      My daughter and I just came to the conclusion that the LBD is the answer to our piano recital dress of choice. Elegant and understated, the LBD can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I want to know about the LBD below the Ros Hommerson shoes. Whose design?

    • ultimatepotential profile image

      ultimatepotential 7 years ago from India

      This was interesting!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Very good hub - great advice and tips. You can't beat a little black dress no matter what shape you are.

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 7 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great hub, love my little black dress!!

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      As a 'bird watcher' for over fifty years can only concur. The little black dress is usually an 'attracting enhancer.' Simplicity's the secret. And, of course, it can be 'livened up a bit with right sort of jewellery.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      Such a classic look that never goes out of style, one thing that is a sure thing to have in ones wardrobe, and my favorite part is that it can be dressed up with the right accessories.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Some of us find black a bit difficult to wear, but the effect can be softened with a pearl necklace, or in winter a velvet dress.

      Nice hub, with loads of useful suggestions.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Versatile little numbers that are often timeless

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Great tips on how to wear a little black dress, I know I have several of each length ready on the fly anytime. :)

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      Heyyyy Jama good to see you! I hope you're well, fine and dandy! And what great advice, sooooo Coco! Thankyou very much :)

      Hello, hello - you're right. Every woman should own one. I do - I have the same in the skirt dept to, a lovely black pencil one :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      They are very handy when you don't know what to wear for the occasion. The little black dress never fails.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      For those of us who look like death warmed over in black, an LBD can be any dark, neutral color (i.e. gray, navy, taupe, burgundy) as long as it's simply cut...the simpler the better. Think of it as the canvas on which you'll paint with a few "wow" accessories.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      SWOH - I do hope so ;)

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image

      SomewayOuttaHere 7 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      good hub...good advice!

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 7 years ago

      Ohhhh lol I kinda agree with you - I think! Thanks for hanging round and reading about the timeless little black dress :)

    • oscillationatend profile image

      oscillationatend 7 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

      Give it up for the LBD.

      Can't beat such a classic style...the only thing better than a girl in an LBD, is a girl in her birthday suit. ;)


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