The little black dress is a wardrobe staple; it dates to Coco Chanel's designs of the 1920s. It should be able to be worn to many different functions by being accessorized in assorted ways. When shopping for the ideal versatile black dress for you, choose one that will suit your favorite accessories — the ones that you not only love to wear, but are also flattering. The dress itself should also flatter you, of course. Pay attention to its fit, length, neckline shape, fabric and sleeves.
The most versatile little black dress is sleeveless and made from a light wool or cashmere that can be worn in any season. Since this classic wardrobe staple is meant to last for at least several years, it's worth choosing a quality, natural fabric rather than a cheap synthetic. Little black dresses are also meant to be elegant whether they're dressed up with sparkly accessories for the fanciest dinner party or worn with a suit jacket and leather belt to the office. Selecting a sleeveless style allows you to wear the dress as is or with a lace blouse underneath or a jacket over top.
If possible, try on the black dress you're considering with different looks to help you decide. The neckline should flatter your face shape and allow you to wear your favorite necklaces and scarves well. As a general rule of thumb, oval face shapes suit any neckline, while square faces are flattered by a scoop neck. Round faces tend to look slimmer in a v-neck, while people with oblong face shapes can wear high necklines well.
For the most versatility, the little black dress you choose shouldn't be too short. It should be above the knee, but in an appropriate length for business as well as stylish enough for evening wear. Since these dresses are meant to be elegant, too short a length would defeat the purpose.
The fit of your season-spanning black dress is important. An A-line shape is probably best if you tend to fluctuate between dress sizes. You could always use a belt to add waist definition. A wide belt flatters most figures as well as little black dresses, but if you're slim you could also choose narrow or chain belts. The best fit for a little black dress skims your body rather than clings to it or hangs too loosely.