In the world of fashion, ‘LBD’ may as well be ‘ABC’: it’s an essential, it forms the basis of many wardrobes, and some would argue it’s the most versatile piece you can own. Of course, not all LBDs are the same, so we’ve created this cheat sheet to the LBD, including what to keep in mind when finding the perfect little black dress for your body type.
WHAT MAKES THE LBD SUCH A VERSATILE DRESS?
Coco Chanel is credited with ‘inventing’ the little black dress in the 1920s, and it was the perfect dress for its time: simple, affordable by women of all classes, and later, when textiles were rationed during the war, a way to look elegant on a tight budget. In 1926, VOGUE featured a drawing of a long-sleeved black dress by Chanel, accessorized with a single pearl necklace and calling it ‘Chanel’s Ford’ for its accessibility. In fact, Chanel herself stated, “I imposed black; it’s still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around”—and indeed, an LBD can often feel like it trumps all other dress options.
We also have Audrey Hepburn to thank for continuing to build on the legacy of the LBD, having famously worn a little black dress by Hubert de Givenchy, complete with a coffee and croissant in hand, in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS: ONE NAME, MANY STYLES
Hepburn’s LBD was actually quite long, which just goes to show that a little black dress doesn’t actually need to be, well, little. Indeed, when hunting down the perfect little black dress for your body type, length is a key consideration. What’s more, just because the LBD is simple in theory doesn't make finding the perfect little black dress an easy process. Here are a few other factors to keep in mind.
How Long Can an LBD Be?
When it comes to LBDs, the word ‘little’ might evoke a mini style, or anything that hits mid-thigh. However, a black dress that comes to the knee or even mid-calf is just as versatile—if not more than—a shorter version.
How Does It Feel?
Like any fashion item, a little black dress that’s made from silk will ultimately feel different from one that’s made from cotton jersey. Some materials are naturally dressier than others, so finding the perfect black dress also depends on how formal (or casual) you want to look. The same goes for seasonality: a wool LBD is more suited to winter than summer, while a linen LBD is the perfect black dress for a hot August day.
Where Are You Going?
Sure, you’re not likely to categorize a gown as an LBD—floor length isn’t exactly ‘little’—but like fabric, little black dress styles can work for almost any occasion. A structured satin or intricately beaded mini dress, for instance, is an elegant, fashion-forward option for a cocktail party or formal event, while a mid-length, black linen slip dress is probably more suited to date night or dinner with friends.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT LBD FOR YOUR BODY TYPE
Shop our pleated midi dresses!
Pleated Jersey Midi Dress
This pleated style is the perfect little black dress inspiration for every body type. It’s long, but not floor-length, so works regardless of height, while the draped neckline and softly cinched waist accentuate the natural curves of your body. Long sleeves are forgiving, modest—or simply practical.
Shop our mikado dresses!
One Shoulder Mikado Organza Dress
With its fit-and-flare shape, this is the perfect black dress for petite body types looking to create or accentuate curves. The one-shoulder detail also draws the eye up—ideal if you’re proud of your shoulders or décolletage or want to shift attention away from your bottom half.
Shop our little black dresses!
Stretch Velvet and Satin Dress
Say hello to the perfect little black dress. Its short, ruffled hem elongates legs (and lets you show off great gams), while the high neckline and short sleeves are flattering no matter your shoulder width or bust size.