The short answer is “Of course!” But that doesn’t mean just any black dress accessorized any old way can serve as your dating uniform from here to matrimony. Although the little black dress is one of fashion’s most timeless and iconic styles (not to mention a budget-savvy choice for so-called “recessionistas”), your body shape and what you choose to wear with your classic LBD are vital considerations when it comes to assembling an alluring ensemble.
Why Shape Matters
The true foundation of your date wardrobe is your unique body shape—which costs you nothing! Understanding your body shape is the key to finding a versatile little black dress to wear anywhere and always look gorgeous. The right little black dress for you works strategically with your figure, offsetting your hips if they’re much broader than your bustline, for example, or showing off those gams without venturing into the red-light district.
If your bust and hips are already balanced and you have a defined waist, you don’t want to cover up your curves with a shapeless T-shirt dress or boxy jacket. A figure-hugging silhouette cinched with a belt or sculpted number with princess seams showcases and enhances that hourglass that drives men wild. These styles also add vavoom to slim straight-up-and-down figures.
Bigger on top with broad shoulders or a bust that attracts attention? Try a little black dress that’s fitted above and flares from the waist to a fuller skirt. Scoop- and V-neck bodices look best on your shape, while boatnecks are a big no-no. Wrap dresses pair perfectly with a busty figure because they provide support for the girls while a V-neckline lengthens the torso; halter dresses break up a straight shoulder line. If you’re a bit broader on bottom, dresses with A-line skirts that skim your hips and detail on top (think cowl necklines and embellishments) streamline your shape and add interest that draws eyes up.
Many women have what’s been termed an “apple” figure (we call it an “E”), which means a rounded profile with a less defined waist and, typically, long, shapely legs. A little black sheath, tiered or trapeze dress that falls no lower than the knee will flatter you beautifully if this is your shape. Just don’t let the hemline creep higher than you’re comfortable with, especially if the bodice has a plunging neckline…the last thing you want is to feel distracted and self-conscious on your night (or day) out!
Once you’ve found the ideal LBD for your shape, the next step is adding the right details for the occasion. A little black dress goes black tie with classic jewelry like pearls and an evening clutch. If you’re going to a dinner date or meeting friends for wine and hors d’oeuvres, a pair of knee-high boots or a blazer in an earthy hue will project an urban, sophisticated persona. (This look works for “just coffee” dates too.) For an outfit that transitions seamlessly from day to night, layer up your little black number with a vibrant cardigan or shrug and pair with equally colorful heels.
How you accessorize your little black dress can say a lot about who you are, so it’s a good idea to consider the messages you’re sending. Though you may have elegant sensibilities, don’t go all black (shoes, bag, stockings, eyeliner, choker, etc.) unless you and your date are into the gothic industrial scene. Some men may find this look too severe and intimidating. A colorful bag and flirty hoop earrings or bangles say, “I’m fun, confident and approachable.”