Little Black Dress

By Chelle Cordero

March 6, 2009 5 min read


This piece is a classic -- but you have to find the right one

Chelle Cordero

Creators News Service

One of the greatest contributions to fashion by the legendary Coco Chanel, the little black dress, or LBD for short, is an all-inclusive term for that one item necessary in every woman's wardrobe. Just like all the women who have one in their closet, it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and details.

Fortunately, finding the one that works best for you isn't as hard as you might think.

"The little black dress is the most versatile piece that belongs in every woman's closet," said Christy David, a spokeswoman for David's Bridal. It can take you anywhere, from a powerful business meeting to a night on the town, by using a variety of accessories and other pieces.

"Paired with a cute cardigan, trendy belt or dazzling jewelry, adding fun and fashion-forward accessories is an easy way to effortlessly transform your look into something completely new and unique for each special occasion," David added.

There are five main body types out there, and plenty of options for all of them, said Mariana Nuziale, a former celebrity stylist and owner of Lola's Boutique in Brooklyn, N.Y. "Keep an eye out for slim silhouettes, always matching your proportions. The dress should be simple so it doesn't overwhelm your frame," she added.

Simply determine your body type in order to find your best fit:

* Curvy: Select semi-fitted styles that drape over curves and enhance your waistline. Look for a wrap, shift, A-line or belted shirt dress.

* Full Bust: Flatter your womanly figure by showing off your legs and great cleavage. A sleeveless sheath or a soft princess-seamed frock is ideal. Opt for fabrics that skim the body, preferably knits and wovens with stretch for a better fit. You also can go for wrap, V-neck, mock neck or collared styles.

* Small Bust: Try an Empire waist or look for wrap and A-line shapes. Semi-fitted sheath, chemise and shirt dresses will also work. Smartly placed gathers, shirring and ruching, or a contrasting fabric or trim over the bust help create fullness.

* Boyish Figure: Belted styles, like shirt and wrap dresses, and those with defined waists will give you a feminine feel. Details at the waist and an A-line give you a defined silhouette.

* Bottom-Heavy: A-lines that hit around the knee area draw attention away from problem areas. Ball gown styles hide heavy hips and thighs. Choose Empire waist styles or anything that is fitted around the bust or waist and flares slightly, with flowing fabrics on the bottom half. Vertical draping and seaming helps elongate the body, and going sleeveless plays up pretty shoulders.

* Tummy: Look for styles that obscure the waistline, like coat dresses, semi-fitted or straight shifts, Empire waist or a style that comes with a matching jacket. Use vertical seams and draped fabrics to minimize the midsection.

"The appropriateness for wearing your LBD will vary, depending on the cut of the dress, the fabric and the event," said Sara Rogers, a trend specialist for The Mall of America. "When deciding what to wear, consider: location, time of day, the season and the overall style of the host. I refer to it as: 'LISTS.'"

The term LISTS stands for:

L = Location; it will generally reflect the formality of the event.

I = Invitation; this sets the tone for the gala.

S= Season; the weather will guide you on the appropriateness of fabrics, shoes and accessories.

T = Time of day; this is often a determining factor of how dressy the event is.

S = Style of host; if you don't know, ask the individual or someone close to them.

With the right cut, fabric and accessories, your little black dress will represent you and all of your style and character. The right one can be a timeless addition for every feminine wardrobe.

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