What Should I Consider When Buying a Little Black Dress?

Diana Bocco

If you are thinking of updating your wardrobe by buying a little black dress, you're not alone. Fashion experts agree that this is the one single item of clothing that every woman should have at hand to get her out of a dressing rut. Most women, however, don't know the "art" of buying a little black dress that can be adapted to the many occasions when either formal dressing or a more casual approach is required. If that is your case, here are a few tips on how to choose the right dress for you.

A shiny little black dress.
A shiny little black dress.

The first step in buying a little black dress is to examine your body. Is there any part of your figure you want to show off? Hide? If you have a great back, for example, you may choose a backless dress. If you have chubby arms, on the other hand, you may want to shy away from spaghetti-strap dresses and choose a small sleeve.

The most useful black dresses can be worn on many different occasions, including both formal and informal events.
The most useful black dresses can be worn on many different occasions, including both formal and informal events.

Once you know how you feel about your body, the next step in buying a little black dress is to make sure you choose a comfortable dress. This means choosing a fabric that molds to your body properly, does not itch or pinch, and does not make you feel self-conscious. Cotton is a good choice, since it adapts to almost every occasion. Make sure the dress is comfortable too. Since the idea is that you should be able to wear this dress to both formal and casual events, you need to make sure you can sit and walk on it comfortably.

The next step in buying a little black dress is to select the design. Avoid excessive decorations, such as lace, sequins, or flowery applications. Simple is better, no matter if the dress is short or long. Avoid low cut dresses or too risqué side splits, unless, of course, you have several other black dresses that you can use in more formal affairs. Even the simplest dress can be made stunning by adding the right jewelry or an impressive bag and matching pair of shoes.

Finally, when buying a little black dress, keep in mind that simple is better. You don't need to spend a fortune in the dress, and keeping the cut simple will help you find a dress that can be used over and over again.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - I don't know if I've ever deliberately gone out to buy a little black dress. It usually just happens that I'm browsing in a clothes shop and I try on a few things and one of them happens to be a dress like that. I guess I don't really plan my wardrobe in general though.


@croydon - The problem is that clothing stores use dress sizes as a kind of marketing concept rather than as a way of actually distinguishing between sizes. So you end up with clothes that are vastly different in size, but are both labeled as being a size 2 and people who expect to be able to wear a size 2 get upset when it doesn't fit.

To me, a little black dress is a very important a versatile part of the wardrobe and worth spending more time on purchasing so I'd end up trying on a wide range of them in different shops anyway.


I used to find that I would try to fit into the size that I thought I should fit into and if I didn't quite fit, I'd either get depressed over it, or even buy the clothes anyway with the hope that at some point I'd be inspired to slim down enough to wear them.

That is a terrible way to look for clothes in general, but particularly for a dress that's supposed to be the easy option when you're getting ready to go out. You shouldn't even worry about what size it happens to have on the label. Either it fits you well, or it doesn't and that's what counts.

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