9 Secrets to Styling Your Little Black Dress | The Kewl Shop

9 Secrets to Styling Your Little Black Dress

Posted on July 27 2016

how to style little black dress

The Oxford Dictionary defines the Little Black Dress (LBD) as a woman’s short or medium-length black dress that is suitable for almost any social engagement - and we could not agree more.

When you ask fashion experts about one must-have closet staple for women, the answer is most  often a little black dress. There are a number of reasons why the LBD is considered such an important piece of clothing in your wardrobe.

A quality little black dress symbolizes effortless elegance, simplicity, and style. It is an essential dress in every woman’s wardrobe because it is not only iconic but also versatile and timeless. Dress your LBD up or down using different accessories, shoes, and add-on clothing such as a denim shrug or blazer with ease and enjoy style flexibility you need in a pinch.

The little black dress is everything to us here at The Kewl Shop. Here’s how to style your LBD with confidence and conquer any event with your dignity and sex appeal in tact.

History of The Little Black Dress

Wearing black prior to the 1900s was reserved for times of mourning and sadness. By the mid-1920s the little black dress began to emerge as a fashion icon. It made its first fashionable appearance as a slim-fitting dress that was worn for different occasions such as evenings out, cocktail parties, and dinners. It became popular in the 1930s, and has since become one of the most influential garments of the 20th century along with blue jeans and the T-shirt.

This dress made its debut in the Vogue magazine as a pen and ink drawing by designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1926, however, it wasn’t created by the designer. The editors of this magazine compared this simple design to the Ford Model T motor vehicle and called the dress as ‘Chanel’s Ford’. It created quite a stir in the fashion industry because at this time the color black was associated with the lower classes, clergy, and with mourning. This simplicity and the economical quality of this dress appealed to the women during the Great Depression era in the 1930s. Chanel commented saying “Thanks to me they (non-wealthy) can walk around like millionaires.”

As time went by more and more high profile celebrities appreciated the simplicity and reliability of the little black dress. In the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s it  was made an art form by the actress Audrey Hepburn. The dress worn by Hepburn was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and when Audrey Hepburn was asked about the dress she said, “What is more beautiful than a simple sheath made an extraordinary way in a special fabric and just two earrings?”

It has almost been a century since the little black dress made its debut, and yet it is still just as popular today as it was then. It is truly a timeless article of clothing, and like with great wine – the little black dress keeps getting better with age.

How to Flatter Your Body Type with a LBD

Coco Chanel once said, “The little black dress is a uniform for all women of taste”. Her belief in the little black dress continues to be the momentum behind each design and cut for this closet staple. When it comes to choosing the perfect little black dress, it is important to remember that it is not a one-size-fits all dress.

There are different styles of little black dresses available in the market today because the dress must flatter your body and personal tastes. With the wide range of choices it is often a challenge to choose the right style for you. The key to picking a perfect little black dress is to know your body type and what style flatters your figure. We’ve compiled a list of the most common body types and the best little black dress styles to put on them.

Pear shape. If you have a pear-shaped body, your backside and hips are wider than your shoulders. Generally, you also have a smaller bust line. If you are looking for a little black dress that flatters your body type, choose a halter style dress. This style of dress creates a more balanced look by showing off your shoulders. When you wear a halter black dress, your hips will seems smaller and proportionate to the rest of your body shape. Avoid dresses made of flimsy fabrics.

Petite. For petite body, the ideal little black dress for you is the sheath dress. The elongated and clean shape of the sheath dress gives your body the illusion of appearing more lean and tall. Ensure that the dress hits above your knees, as this creates an illusion of longer legs. If you want to go for texture or prints on your dress, choose vertical designs to keep your look fluid. Remember to avoid large details such as ruffles because they have a tendency to overpower your demure stature.

Apple shape. The challenge of having an apple body type is the lack of a defined waist line, so the perfect little black dress for you would be an empire waisted style or design that gives you a waist such as shirred dresses (dresses with gathers at the waist). The gathering pulls your waist in and makes it appear slimmer than the rest of your body. Another dress style that flatters your body type is the fit and flare dresses or skater dresses. The skirt helps put the illusion of curves in your lower body, while the top portion accentuates your bodice and bustline.

Curvy. When you have a curvy body type, the little black dress becomes akin to a best friend because the color black is naturally slimming. Choose a V-neck dress that emphasizes your middle, ensuring that you draw the eye downward, which in turn makes your waist look more narrow. A wrap dress or a sheath dress is the ideal little black dress for a woman with a curvy body type or a little black dress with waist cinching detail. The hemline of the dress should be either slightly above the knee or right below the knee.

Figure out what your favorite assets are and emphasize them with a little black dress. For example, if you love your legs, wear a short little black dress. However, if you would rather not show your legs off, wear a black dress that is long and flowy or midi length. As you can see, no matter what your body type, you are still able to enjoy the effortless elegance of a little black dress.

How to Style Your Little Black Dress

There are  many ways to style your little black dress, depending upon the occasion and venue. Dress it up with a chunky necklace for going to a gallery opening or dress it down for a casual evening out with friends. A little black dress is must-have attire that is easily taken from classic to sexy, from day to evening, from casual to dressy simply by accessorizing it differently.

  • If you are going for a chic look, fashion experts and magazine editors tend to prefer all black. Pair a little black dress with a hint of lace on the neckline and with sheer black hose when you are going for a sexy polish. If you have long hair, give your tresses a wavy look for a dose of softness.
  • When you are planning a casual outing, dress down your little black dress with sneakers. Let your hair down and wear a baseball cap to give yourself a sporty look.
  • If you want to accentuate your waist, the best way to do this is to add a metal belt along the smallest part of your waist. This is the best way to show off your figure in a little black dress.
  • Wear a little black dress and accessorize it with a motorcycle jacket and leather boots to bring out the bad girl in you. This edgy look is perfect for a casual evening out or for a date.
  • One of the other fashion trends going around is the schoolgirl-inspired look. For this look, wear your favorite button-up shirt underneath your little black dress. This is the perfect way to dress if you are looking for a fresh way to up-style your little black dress.
  • When going for a gallery opening or a dinner party, accessorize your little black dress with a statement necklace. A bold chunky necklace, when worn on your dress, makes it the most eye-catching piece of your outfit. Let the necklace do all the talking. Just remember, when you wear a chunky necklace, go easy on the other accessories, otherwise it might seem too over-the-top.

Ever since Coco Chanel popularized the little black dress for the first time in 1926, it has continued to be a fashion classic. Whether you have a pear-shaped body or a curvy body, there are different styles of the little black dress that flatter your body type. The little black dress is very versatile and works for wear to work, party, or a gallery opening by simply changing how you accessorize it.

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