The Little Black Dress (LBD) is a staple of every closet but you need to make sure the style of your dress flatters your figure. From sheath dresses to wrap dresses, you have dozens of options when it comes to picking out the perfect LBD for that upcoming occasion, but you need to pay attention to the cut, style and length of the dress to make sure it complements your body type and hides those figure flaws. The LBD is one of the most versatile additions to your closet and you can wear it in almost any season. Just make sure that you buy a size that isn’t too form fitting or your risk being without a “plan B” outfit when you’re feeling bloated or if you’ve gained a few pounds.
Use this guide to choose the perfect Little Black Dress for your body type:
LBDs for Full or Plus Size Figures
When you are top or bottom heavy (or a little bit of both), the best little black dress for your body type is one that disguises the widest parts of your body with pleats or a wraparound style, and accentuates your legs, arms and shoulders. Stick with fitted strapless dresses and dresses with fuller skirts to create an attractive, feminine silhouette. Draw attention to a narrower waist with a thick belt or sash wrapped around the midsection, and look for dresses with cap sleeves if you want to hide heavy arms.
LBDs for Petite Figures
Make every attempt to elongate your petite figure when selecting a Little Black Dress. The best dresses for petite figures range from wraparound dresses, sheath dresses and fitted, strapless gowns that lengthen the torso. Halter and sleeveless styles that end just above the knee will provide just enough coverage while creating a longer-looking silhouette. Just make sure to pair the dress with some heels (no flats!) to create the ideal silhouette.
Styles to avoid? Tunic style dresses and goddess gowns that have a shapeless form. These styles do nothing for your figure and can make you appear much shorter and smaller than you are. These styles also hide all of those curves you’re dying to show off.
LBDs for Slim or Skinny Figures
If you’re stick thin or have a naturally slim figure, you can still sport a fitted Little Black Dress but you’ll need one that helps create an hourglass shape. Look for dresses that have a corset-like design in the upper half to create more curves at the waist. Try a three-quarter sleeve dress that will elongate a smaller frame and draw attention to the width of your shoulders. Avoid wearing dresses with puffy shoulders or sleeves, or dresses with ruffles and bows. Even though these will add some weight and volume to your silhouette, they can also make you appear too princess-like and childish. Stick with chic and simple styles that will complement your figure but will also add some curves in just the right places.
LBDs for Athletic or Boyish Figures
The key to choosing a little black dress when you have a boyish or athletic figure is to pick a style that emphasizes your feminine curves. When you want to show off those sculpted legs, slim waist and toned arms, you can pull of almost all styles of the little black dress. However, some styles are much more flattering than others. Try a one-shoulder dress that hands right above the knee to show off your décolleté, sculpted shoulders calves.
Choose a dress that cinches at the waist so that you can create the perfect hourglass figure. If you want to create a more defined waist, choose a wraparound dress that ties right at the waist. Stick with a deep v-neck style, square neck or shawl-collar dress if you want to show off the neckline and bust.