Style Guide: How to Style a Little Black Dress for the Holidays & NYE

A Wardrobe Staple: The LBD

The Little Black Dress is more than just a stylish piece to wear to a party. It’s an icon of fashion history and a wardrobe essential. While a LBD dress can mean something different to each person, it is universally agreed on that it should be a dress that makes you feel like your best self. Choose a cut and fabric that appeals to you, and make it your Little Black Dress your own!

History of the Little Black Dress

In the 1950s, one particular category of dresses were pressed, starched, and perfectly pointed A-line silhouettes. Then in the 1990s, they were reconstructed into skin-tight, curve-hugging mini versions we now call bodycon. We're talking about the Little Black Dress.

The Little Black Dress, or LBD for short, has been a staple going back to the closets of our mothers and grandmothers. Over the last decades, we’ve seen the LBD hop from generation to generation, each new one adjusting the fit, the length, the sleeves – but never have we seen it completely re-imagined like what’s being done today. And the revolution is right on-trend.

Why we all love a good Little Black Dress

Have you ever had a dress you absolutely loved, but it went out of style, and you had to leave it in the back of your closet?

This happens all the time because fashion trends are always changing. However, a Little Black Dress is a timeless piece that will never go out of style. This dress has stood the test of time but you must first make sure to choose the perfect fit. A LBD looks great on anyone. Not to mention, you can accessorize it any way that best suits your style. With a few accessories and great shoes, you can learn how to style a Little Black Dress in no time. 

5 tips for wearing a Little Black Dress

  1. LBDs are the perfect canvas. Don’t be afraid to accessorize with statement jewelry, shoes and other accessories. 
  2. Layer generously! To break up the monochromatic palette of any Little Black Dress try on layering pieces like a coat or cardigan.
  3. Add a belt. A Little Black Dress almost always benefits from the addition of a great belt, creating a more figure flattering look.
  4. Go all black. An all-black outfit can be an elegant look when styled correctly.
  5. Try a red lip. If all else fails, throw on some red lipstick and forget about everything else.

Little Black Dresses are perfect for any occasion

When it comes to wardrobe staples, the Little Black Dress often reigns supreme for many. Rightfully so, that perfect LBD is incredibly versatile in that it can be dressed up or down to suit a variety of styles and occasions. When you have a Little Black Dress in your closet, you won’t always have to shop for new clothes when you have a professional event, date, or party to attend, and you can even wear a Little Black Dress to a wedding.

Every woman will agree that it’s difficult to decide on what to wear even when you have a closet full of clothes. It’s even harder when you’re invited to attend an event or date at the last minute. In such scenarios, everything seems ill-fitting and not quite right for the occasion. Here’s where the perfect Little Black Dress comes to the rescue. Because it flatters your body and it’s easy to accessorize, you’ll only need a few minutes to look like you jumped straight out of Vogue.

How to style a Little Black Dress for your company holiday party

Sometimes there is just nothing that makes you feel better than a really great Little Black Dress. They aren’t always easy to find either. For the office holiday party no less, you want to make sure you look polished and sophisticated. While you want to dress differently than you normally would in the office, you want to do it in a tasteful way. Picking a classic little black holiday dress will allow you to easily put together a look that makes you feel good while also matching the dress code of others at the party.

Up your normal 9-5 style by pairing your LBD with accessories you wouldn’t normally wear to the office. This way, you are dressed appropriately for the occasion while also getting to show off your personal style. Our favorite picks for this occasion would be the Lisa 2.0 black faux wrap dress or the Collette little black sheath dress. Add a strappy heel, long coat, and statement jewelry to complete your Black holiday dress look. If you are looking for more Holiday specific styling tips, check out our Holiday style guide.

Lisa 2.0 is that dress you'll reach for time and again when you want to look polished, but not over done. This dress features a faux wrap detail at the waist to create definition for a figure flattering silhouette. Learn more about our Lisa silhouette here.

How to style a Little Black Dress for Cocktail hour

While special events are always exciting, deciding what to wear to them can be stressful, especially when dress codes are involved. So, when you receive an invitation with the words “cocktail attire” on it, it’s natural to feel a little daunted. After all, choosing an outfit that is appropriate while still being fabulous can be a challenge. However, having a staple Little Black Dress in your wardrobe can reduce the stress you feel whenever an invitation comes your way!

If you have an event that stipulates cocktail attire on your calendar, you should consider wearing a Little Black Dress. A LBD that fits well and is made from high-quality material makes an excellent option for these kinds of occasions. Try our new Cassie sequin lace sleeveless dress or our staple Elsa black midi capelet dress. For cocktail events, heels are almost always a must. Ideal for adding a sophisticated finish to your look, heels in a neutral hue, such as black or nude, pair perfectly with a party dress. To complete your outfit, don’t forget to add accessories, such as a bag and jewelry. When selecting your accessories, choose pieces that are chic yet exciting and attention-grabbing.

Your new favorite Little Black Dress has arrived! Slip into Elsa and look elegant in an instant. The color-matched chiffon capelet instantly elevates the sheath silhouette by adding movement and sophistication. Learn how to style an all-black outfit on our blog.

Tejera is wearing the Sunny Little Black Dress.

How to style a Little Black Dress for any special occasion

As women we love getting dressed up for formal events and being able to use the accessories that we don't wear often. The LBD is the perfect blank canvas that allows you to wear those standout accessories that you never know how to wear or style. What you wear to any special occasions depends on many factors: the venue, the formality of the invite, the weather, and often what everyone else plans to wear. However, when you have a black dress in a more luxurious fabric like sequin lace or that has glamorous details like chiffon sleeves, you can easily make the dress work for most special occasions.

Like mentioned above, take advantage of the blank canvas of a Little Black Dress and get out those statement accessories you have been struggling to style. A LBD made for special occasions is a staple silhouette like the Grace long black sequin dress or the Astrid black chiffon long sleeve dress from our Holiday 2021 Collection. This would be the time to break out that special pair of heels that seem a little too much for everyday wear. Add some sparkle to the black holiday dress with jewelry, a clutch and a shawl. Wear your hair up or down with a bit of volume and add a classic red lip to complete the look.

When a fancy special occasion or wedding calls for a more formal dress, look no further than Grace. The Grace sequin lace floor length dress is classic, feminine, modest and sparkly. Learn more about the sequin lace fabric and how to style sequin lace on our blog.

How to style a Little Black Dress for the new year

You most likely have a Little Black Dress in your wardrobe, and I’m sure it has saved you for many different occasions. However, with New Year’s Eve coming up, shop for a little black holiday dress with a unique touch. Nail down the perfect NYE outfit with a standout LBD that features different textures, or statement sleeves. Also, make sure you layer up and accessorize to the max to add a little sparkle to the LBD canvas.

Tights, heels, and sparkling accessories will be your NYE best friend, especially when wearing a LBD. Start with a LBD with a flair like the Sunny velvet chiffon capelet dress or the Stevie black lace sequin dress. Grab a pair of statement rhinestone earrings and a sparkling clutch and either pair with your favorite (comfortable) black heel or go all out with a silver heel. Either way, choose comfort when styling a glam look for NYE so you can focus on dancing the night away and ringing in the New Year rather than adjusting your outfit all night!

Stevie’s stretch sequin scalloped lace glides over the body and long chiffon sleeves provide subtle coverage while the slits to the elbow create dramatic flair and movement. Stevie is the glitzy long sleeve black sequin dress that’ll elevate any special occasion.

Lightweight and perfect year round 

Every woman needs something in her wardrobe that is classy, timeless and ageless. The most useful single item of clothing is the Little Black Dress. A LBD is the embodiment of sophistication, simplicity and versatility, it truly is the passport to sartorial success. Winning the MVP award (Most Valuable Possession), the LBD is appropriate for many situations and especially useful for unplanned last minute occasions. Having a Little Black Dress in your wardrobe that is lightweight, versatile, and can be worn year round is the answer to having the perfect closet.

Having a staple, lightweight LBD in your wardrobe is a necessity because it can be accessorized to wear year round, no matter the occasion or weather. Our favorite lightweight LBD’s are the Kennedy Little Black Dress and the Sunny Little Black Dress. The details are simple and create a blank canvas to easily style to fit the scenario. Is the weather colder? Add a coat, tights, and booties. Is the weather warmer? Leave the dress as is, pair with an open toe shoe and add simple accessories. 

Sunny is cute and flirty. This stretch knit jersey dress features side ruching to complement your natural figure. Sunny's V-neck flounce creates dimension and adds an extra touch of femininity.

leslie is wearing the Grace Long Black Sequin Dress.

Floor length styles perfect for any wedding

While the LBD was once known for mourning, it has since been reimagined as an iconic and classy look. Take a floor length LBD to any wedding. Choose a look that best reflects your style as well as the ambience and dress code of the wedding. Up the accessories for a more formal wedding, or choose simple pieces for a less formal wedding.

Wearing a black dress to a wedding requires a few simple tweaks to your accessories and styling choices. Wedding shopping can be a nightmare, even when you’re not the bride! However, choosing a floor length black dress is helpful because you can adjust the accessories to match any dress code. Choose a staple silhouette like the Sara 2.0 floor length dress or the Sunny black floor length dress. Make your life easier by choosing a blank canvas like a LBD and styling with statement earrings, shawl for nighttime, and a simple heel.

Meet Sara 2.0 - the dress version of our classic Sara jumpsuit. A chiffon crossbody ruffle adds dimension and movement, taking the sophistication and chicness level up a notch. Shop our full collection of floor length dresses here.

This floor length version of the Sunny dress you love features side ruching to complement and elongate your figure. It is great for pairing with sandals to your next daytime outing or with your favorite heels to a special occasion in the evening. Shop the Wedding Shop for the perfect look no matter what your role in the wedding is!

tejera is wearing the Lisa 2.0 Black Faux Wrap Dress.

An upgrade to the Little Black Dress

While everyone has a different opinion on what exactly a Little Black Dress is, we like to include every black staple style. From short dresses, to long dresses, and even jumpsuits. Try upgrading your everyday Little Black Dress with another versatile staple, a little black jumpsuit! Jumpsuits are the best outfit when you need something that you can slip on and forget about. Little maintenance and you will still look and feel you’re very best!

Styling jumpsuits is simple. With the Gloria cold shoulder jumpsuit and the Bri chiffon sleeve jumpsuit, you are able to put together a multitude of looks! No matter the occasion or time of year, a little black jumpsuit is sure to save the day! Pair a black jumpsuit with simple accessories, a coat when needed, and a low heel. Enjoy the comfortability of pants while also looking classy and chic. 

Featuring cold shoulder chiffon sleeves and an in-set waist line, Gloria is everything you want in a jumpsuit. Gloria is made from stretch crepe scuba which glides over the body. Stand out and shop our collection of statement sleeves like Gloria here.

jordan is wearing the Stevie Black Lace Sequin Dress.

Break up an LBD with floral details

Take a LBD to the next level with a subtle floral detail. Break up a Little Black Dress with a detail that does not take away from the versatility. With the majority of the dress still being a blank canvas, it still allows for what has always been the beauty of the black dress. It can be chic and trendy, but it can also be conservative and practical, smart and sophisticated too!

Style a LBD with a subtle floral print the same as you would style any other LBD! Accessorize for the occasion. Try the Elsa taupe floral midi capelet dress or the Lisa ivory and black soutache floor length dress. Pair with simple jewelry pieces and a pair of strappy heels. Also, add on a crossbody bag for a more casual event, or a clutch for a more formal event. Complete the look with a coat on top to stay warm all day and night.  

An attached floral print capelet elevates the exquisitely soft sheath stretch knit dress. Simple, refined, and elegant details like the V-back of this capelet dress make Elsa the loveliest choice for a date night dress or family event. Learn more about styling bold print dresses here.

gloria is wearing the Sara Black Jumpsuit.

Add a modern flair

Add a modern flair to a LBD by adding a cardigan on top OR getting creative and turning a long cardigan into a LBD itself. This is a fun way to make use of pieces in your wardrobe in a new way. Also, adding a black cardigan on top of your LBD creates an all black look that can be chic and sexy when styled correctly. Don’t be scared to try something new! Get more style tips on wearing all-black outfits here.

The CAxLZ Classics Collection has staple cardigans that can be worn more ways than one. Made from slinky, soft fabric, they make for the perfect go-to pieces in your wardrobe. The CAxLZ Bianca black open front cardigan can be worn on top of a LBD or it can be pinned together with a broach to create a dress! Also, the CAxLZ Doris long black mesh cardigan is a chic way to layer an all black look without being too warm. You can wear the cardigan as is, or get creative and tie the front panels at the waist to create more dimension. These cardigans are the perfect layering pieces due to their versatility that aligns perfectly with your staple LBD. 

The Bianca open front cardigan is the chicest way to layer this season. Slinky fabric and long sleeves add comfortable warmth to both casual outfits and more elegant special occasion formalwear. Learn more on styling the CAxLZ Classics Collection here.

It’s time to stop buying for seasons and start buying to elevate your wardrobe with classic staples and Doris is the perfect starting piece! This black cardigan gives you the comfort and confidence of feeling covered while also incorporating the sheer elegance of showing a little skin.

Top off your LBD with a shrug

Add a sophisticated touch to an already classic look with a lace shrug. A lace shrug is a glamorous touch to your look that also conveniently can dress up a more casual LBD. Take a lace shrug with you to a special occasion where you are unable to wear your coat the whole time. This way, once you get inside you have the shrug to add a little bit of warmth, but also some extra arm coverage.

Styling a shrug is simple, it is the cherry on top to a look. Our lace shrugs like the Talula scalloped lace black shrug and the Camille black scalloped lace shrug are the perfect pieces to keep in your closet when you need to layer on to your Little Black Dress. Also, made with non restrictive and moveable material, you are able to fold up and take it with you on the go. Learn more about our lace material and how to properly care for it in our blog.

The Star Role in Our Wardrobe

The Little Black Dress plays such a starring role in our wardrobe that it has its own special designation: The LBD. A closet staple that will never go out of style due to the myriad of ways to wear it. Once being demure and daring, the LBD has since become a fashion icon. It is the ideal mix of elements: easy, versatile, and practical, while also being chic, elegant, and sophisticated. While the LBD has evolved over the past few decades, it remains a mainstay of the clothing industry and a must in the wardrobe of every woman.

shop our favorite little black dresses below: