Styling the LBD

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress.”
― Karl Lagerfeld 

Since the 1920s and the feature in Vogue of a simple black dress by designer Coco Chanel, the item fondly referred to as LBD has been a core component of the modern woman's wardrobe. Whether your little black dress is a curve hugging bandage bodycon or a shapely fit-n-flare, choosing one with barely there detailing, in a quality fabric and in a cut that suits your body shape forms the basics.

But black is... well it's black. So with the goal of helping you get the most out of your LBD for dressing it up and dressing it down, here are a dozen styling ideas.

  1. Use a statement necklace. This gorgeous orange and gold one was thrifted for a mere $5.99 NZD. Use big and colourful bling for casual cocktails, a coffee date and for daywear with a cute jacket or neat cardigan. Pearls and diamante add a classy finish with a polished up-do to your evening out.
  2. An evening jacket like this crop one from Pagani is great for formal dinners and the theatre: any event where you're sitting around in a large, cold room.
  3. A business blazer makes the LBD office ready. Use bold colour such as red for a striking, contrast effect or darker colours such as black, grey or navy for a more sophisticated look.
  4. A brooch can create a subtle and sophisticated detail. This diamante one is great for making a simple dress fit for a formal occasion.
  5. Extend the concept of a brooch by using it on the shoulder rather than the breast. A single, large fabric florette like this makes a distinctive design detail. Tone-on-tone is subtle and looks like it's part of the original design... or...
  6. ...use a couple of them in colour for something fun and flirty suitable for wearing to afternoon tea, the races, a barbeque or picnic event. The floral brooches I used were bought from KMart for around $3.00 NZD each. And because they're brooches, it's quick to pop on and quickly undone too!
  7. Work some washi tape magic (check out the graphic below). This very thin tape can be run along the hemline, on the shoulder or the waist. Good for a single use and available in a wide variety of designs.
  8. Belt it! Need I say more?
  9. Use a ribbon as detailing on the waist: trim to the right length and simply use a small tacking stitch to hold it in place. Easy enough to undo and change out. Or, if you're in a hurry, just tie the ribbon with a bow at the back or to the side. If you don't mind spending ten minutes to carry out some stitching, you can also tack the ribbon to your hemline.
  10. Don't have a suitable belt? A bedazzled scarf can work just as well.
  11. Use a beaded or sequinned scarf or fabric instead of a necklace.
  12. If black's not the best shade for you (and some ladies can look a little washed out) try a scarf so that the colour nearest your face is one that complements your complexion. Larger scarves worn winter-style like this are good for cold weather or for a chic finish wear a less bulky one Parisienne style.

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