I think it’s fair to say one of the most versatile items of clothing a woman can own is the little black dress. Said to have originated from the designs of Coco Chanel, the little black dress (LBD for short) has become a fashion staple in closets around the globe, but for many women, the search for this highly sought after garment is ongoing. Various factors such as length, cut and quality must be taken into consideration before purchasing one’s ideal LBD, and with practically thousands of options to choose from thanks to the vast shopping wonderland that is the Internet, the search can quickly become overwhelming.
Well, this week I made it my goal to reduce the chaos that comes with shopping for the perfect little black dress by compiling a list of the most celeb-worthy (and affordable) LBDs from several different stores. Although I came across many variations, I ultimately decided to narrow my picks down to four classic styles: long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless and strapless. Together, I believe they encompass the most popular types of LBDs, and hopefully, they’ll give you a better sense of what you’re interested in style-wise. So let’s not waste any more time and get to it!
Acting as inspiration for the first set of LBDs is celebrity songstress Jennifer Hudson, who looks sleek and edgy in a long sleeve body-con dress. The second and fourth options are great alternatives for recreating Hudson’s look, and with the combination of a form-fitting silhouette and sheer neckline, they are also best worn as evening wear. However, if you prefer to wear this look during the day, try pairing it with colorful flats or wedges and minimal jewelry. The first and third dresses, from ASOS Curve and Old Navy, respectively, are chic styles that can also be worn from day to night. Not to mention, they would look amazing if accented with neon accessories, one of spring’s hottest trends.
Transitioning from long sleeves to short, British beauty Gemma Arterton shows how this particular LBD can still be an elegant and fun (note: the tassel belt) look for a night out. If fluidity is a must-have feature of your future LBD, I would recommend options two and four from ASOS and Urban Outfitters. Despite being dark dresses, their full skirts add a sense of playfulness to the garment, which makes wearing it all the more enjoyable. As for other options: ModCloth’s ultra-sleek retro dress is an ideal style for parties, weddings and date nights, but if you happen to fall on the shorter side, ASOS Petite’s little black shift dress can also be styled up (perhaps with a patent leather belt and up-do) or down (with brightly colored wedges and a shoulder bag) in order to achieve your desired look.
Newly minted Oscar nominee Rooney Mara was spotted looking super stylish in a sleeveless LBD, and with these alternatives, you could be, too. Dress number three from ASOS Curve is a tulip-shaped creation that’s a chic option for women in search of a fashionable, plus size LBD. And dresses one and four expand on this stylishness with fuller skirts that are ready to be paired with metallic accessories and a red lip (à la Mara’s ensemble). Lastly, dress number two’s black eyelet lace and frilly waistline is optimal for emanating a retro flare.
Our last LBD style can simply be described as the quintessential party dress. A favorite of Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara, the strapless LBD has remained a go-to choice for women looking to get their glam on. They can be accessorized in a number of different ways and are an excellent addition to your closet if you’re in search of a sultry, flirty frock. Luckily, stores like ASOS, Nasty Gal and Forever 21 sell plenty of styles to choose from.
No matter the sleeve length, the little black dress is an unparalleled garment worthy of any woman’s closet. Whether you invest in one style and pair it with an assortment of accessories or buy several for different occasions, an LBD will always be a stylish canvas for fashionable self-expression. That being said, which of the four styles above is your favorite version of the LBD? Or do you gravitate more toward a style not mentioned? Perhaps you want to talk about what you believe is the best LBD in the whole wide world? Well, you can do that, too! Sharing fashion tips, tricks and tales in the comments section is always welcomed.