At its most basic, the little black dress – or LBD, as it has become affectionately known – is a black evening, cocktail, shift or tunic dress, cut simply and worn short (any length from the calf to just below the hips will qualify).
Invented by Coco Chanel in the 1920s, it has become the ultimate must-have wardrobe item and almost every woman has one. If she doesn’t, she most certainly should. The perfect little black dress will take you anywhere, from the most formal of occasions to the relatively casual, dressed down for day with cardigan or jacket and boots or flat pumps, dressed up for evening with statement jewellery and killer heels.
The secret is to find a dress that really suits you. The slender, petite or boyish should seek out classic Audrey Hepburn shift styles, while curvy pear shapes will suit fuller-skirted prom versions, and apple shapes can go for volume tunics that hide a multitude of figure sins. Make sure that the length makes the best of your legs – just on or below the knee is flattering for most – and that the neckline suits your bust and neck, choosing V-neck for short necks and scoop necks for larger busts.
Once you’ve got your perfect dress, it’s time to start accessorising and here the possibilities are endless, meaning that you can look entirely different in the same dress, again, and again, and again.
It’s a fashion miracle. No wonder the LBD is the greatest style creation of all time.