Classic, chic, irresistible. Little black dresses are essential to every woman’s closet, the perfect go-to for any occasion, any day when you want to feel effortless yet utterly stylish. Since 1926, when Coco Chanel unveiled fashion’s version of Henry Ford’s T-model, little black dresses have been the modern woman’s best friend. The fashion illustration ran on a page in Vogue, who rightfully predicted the style as “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.”
Audrey Hepburn popularized the look 35 years later, when her BFF and resident designer Hubert de Givenchy created his Breakfast at Tiffany’s masterpiece. Who can forget the exquisite neckline on Givenchy’s little, yet floor-length dress, or how nonchalantly Hepburn wore it while eating a cheese Danish on Fifth Avenue in the early, quiet hours of a New York morning? This iconic film moment solidified the LBD as the timeless staple we now know it as.
Chanel and Hepburn proved to us that it doesn’t take much styling to radiate elegance—just a little black dress. After the former introduced the notion and the latter brought it recognition, the LBD snowballed. For decades, women have been turning to the style for an instant way to elevate their look.
The thing about the LBD is that its a blank canvas with edge. You can style it up, dress it down, pair it with colors, monochrome it, or just wear it alone. Your styling options with little black dresses are limitless.
And this is why little black dresses will be your fundamental to your styling this season. The real secret to the ultimate party look is the little black dress. Most of us will immediately turn to a floral dress for summer parties, but really ladies, that is so overplayed. And yes, a warm-colored dress is always coveted for summer—the weather is brighter so you think your wardrobe should be as well.
But when it comes to parties, little black dresses are your best bet. Opting for black in the summertime shows a fashion-forward, somewhat daring nature, and it makes for an impeccable look. The staple is available in an array of shapes, styles, and sizes, so it’s really a no-brainer. Once you get your LBD styling down to a T, dressing up (or dressing down) will be a second nature to you.
Ready to determine which of the many little black dresses is the one for you? We thought you’d never ask.
Little Black Tiered Dress
A little tiering can go a long way.
Try going with a tiered approach for your little black dress. It’s a great way to give it the feel and flow of a maxi dress, without fully draping over your whole body. This dress effortlessly flows in the summer breeze, giving your style an ethereal vibe that blends in perfectly with the summer weather. This A.L.C. tiered dress is fitting for your style for its LBD midi length that’s spiced up with an A-line cut and blue paisley design. When wearing this dress, take things to new heights with a pair of open-toed black heels and a crossbody purse.
Little Black T-Shirt Dress
Go cool and casual with a t-shirt dress.
A little black t-shirt dress is all you need to take your lazy day style up a notch. Whether you’re headed to the office or going down to the pier, a comfortable t-shirt dress like this one from COS is perfect for keeping it casual while staying modern and contemporary. Its loose anti-fit will keep you cool all summer long, and its t-shirt material will keep you cozy even during the hottest of rooftop parties. When styling this dress, go for a simple day look by pairing with contrasting white sneakers and a white tote bag.
Little Black Ruffle Dress
Go with the ruffled approach.
One of the most essential style staples for summer is a lightweight, ruffled piece, and a ruffled LBD definitely fits the bill. This mini ruffled dress from Alexander McQueen has just the right amount of the perfectly imperfect attitude that thrives in the summer, making it the quintessential little black dress for the season. The lightweight knitted pattern makes this dress a breeze to walk around in, even on the hottest of summer days. Its elegant enough to wear to a summertime wedding, yet casual enough for a stroll around the park. To give this dress added flare, wear it with a pair of fun ballet flats and your favorite vibrant handbag.
Little Black Slip Dress
A slip dress is perfect for warmer days.
With a thin and flowing form, this look is clearly perfect for summer: chic yet breezy. Its simplicity gives it a subtly sexy appeal, and really what more do you need from a dress? The best part about a slip is that it doesn’t take much to make the dress the centerpiece of an exquisite look.
Try it with a pair of sandals and a tote.
Little Black Maxi Dress
Take a cue from Miss Hepburn and try a maxi dress.
Similarly to the slip dress, the maxi is perfect for daytime parties. It’s laid-back and casual, yet still carries all the prestige and luxe that comes with little black dresses. Be bold and wear the style for an evening party, just team your little maxi with a pair of heels and a mini bag.
Little Black Lace Dress
Turn up the elegance with a black lace dress.
This is the dress you wear to a formal event with a metallic clutch and simple pumps, and this is the dress you wear to an afternoon birthday party, but only if you want to be the most sartorial partygoer there. Lace is an effortless way to play up any look, so all you need is a pair of slides and a fashionable clutch.
Little Black Shift Dress
The shift dress is an easy favorite.
Its shapeless form makes it perfect for all body types, plus it’s comfortable and easy to style. This dress is another great day-to-night party dress, a perfect way to stay sharp on those busy summer days. We love a shift dress with a pair of mules and a bucket bag.
Little Black Leather Dress
And of course, a black leather dress is the best way to mix an edgy vibe into your summertime look.
Keep in mind that when we talk leather, vegan or sustainable leather are viable as well. The leather look is an excellent option because of its inherently dramatic texture and faintly glam appeal, which makes it the perfect style for parties. We love it in the summertime because it looks great with both booties and strappy sandals. Team it with an ultra-trendy mini bag for maximum allure.
Little Black Velvet Dress
Similarly, a black velvet dress offers needs minimal styling.
The refined texture is easily made striking with the right accessories. Velvet is a major trend lately, and there’s no reason why the cozy feel can’t make its way into summer looks. Teamed with a pair of summery shoes, a velvet dress is your favorite summer piece. Our vote is on either mules or slingbacks, but sandals or embellished flats work great with a black velvet dress.
Little Black Long-Sleeve Dress
And for those chillier summer eves, there’s no better choice than a long-sleeve dress.
Keeping it around a knee-length, a dress with full-length sleeves is the perfect blend of cool weather and summertime charm. We love dressing up a simple long-sleeved look—paired with a metallic bag and dressy sandal pumps, you’ve found your best party look for a summer night.