Fashion

8 rules for buying a little black dress

By: Mishal Cazmi

Author: Canadian Living

Fashion

8 rules for buying a little black dress

By: Mishal Cazmi

Few things are as covetable and as versatile as a little black dress (or LBD for short). Whether it's a sophisticated A-line dress for a work meeting or a flirty frock for an evening soiree, an LBD is a classic and timeless staple to have in your wardrobe, during the holiday season and all year round.

Toronto fashion stylist Zeina Ismail shares her tips on how to choose the best LBD for you.

Commandment No. 1: Do not let trends dictate your taste
Trends should be used as an inspiration to add to or enhance your wardrobe. "Trends -- like this season's polka-dots, for example -- look great on some women, but not so great on others," says Ismail. Stick to your own personal style and incorporate the trends that work for you. Also, if you opt for a more classic style of LBD, you'll get more wear out of it.

Commandment No. 2: Dress for your body type
Choose the silhouette that best suits your shape. If you have a curvy figure, you can either embrace your curves by wearing a formfitting (not tight) dress that highlights your assets or look for an A-line dress that skims your hips and camouflages the lower part of your body, says Ismail. If you're petite, dresses that fall above the knee will help you look longer. Top-heavy women should opt for dresses with V-necks or high round necks, while women with a straight or rectangle shape should look to a fuller skirt to help give their bottom half a more feminine shape.

Commandment No. 3: Accessorize

"Accessories are a great way to spiff up and modernize a little black dress," says Ismail. But stick to one statement piece or you'll risk overdoing it. A strong statement piece, such as an amazing pair of classic pearl studs or a bold collar necklace, is always better than multiple strands of baubles. When in doubt, follow Coco Chanel's tried-and-true aphorism: "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on."

Commandment No. 4: Add a shot of colour

A pop of colour can instantly perk up any dull outfit, whether it's in the form of heels, a belt or a clutch. Another fun way to inject colour to your little black dress? Add a bright printed scarf for a bit of personality.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find the perfect little black dress (and make it an investment piece) with four more expert shopping tips on page 2
Commandment No. 5: Spend wisely
"Investment pieces such as a white shirt or an LBD transcend one-season wonders," says Ismail. You might not be able to splurge on a Givenchy LBD like Audrey Hepburn did in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but a pricier LBD with impeccable tailoring and quality fabric is worth the splurge and will stand up to multiple wears.

Commandment No. 6: Look for a dress that's practical and versatile
"An LBD is meant to be that go-to item that you can wear anywhere and anytime, especially when all else fails," says Ismail. "The key is to make sure the shape flatters you and that it's a dress that's versatile in the way it can be worn. Don't buy a dress that's too fussy."

Commandment No. 7: Don't diet to fit into your dress
Many women will buy a "goal" dress to fit into when they lose that last 10 pounds, but this can backfire. "The whole point of having a little black dress is so you can wear it anytime you want," says Ismail. A one-time diet to fit into a one-time dress is neither smart nor healthy. Look for a dress that fits you and not the other way around.

Commandment No. 8: Be mindful of the occasion
Keep things professional and sophisticated if it's an office function -- a longer hemline will keep your LBD work-appropriate. You can easily take your little black dress from day to evening by throwing on a sparkly cardigan or switching to a bright pair of pumps.

Finding the perfect little black dress requires time and patience. It's no easy feat, but it's an effort worth making. Once you find the right LBD for you, you'll be able to wear it for years to come, no matter what the trend or season.

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8 rules for buying a little black dress