A little black dress, affectionally known as the LBD, is one of the most beloved, versatile staples in anyone's closet. It's an all-year-long essential, but it can be particularly perfect during the holidays — it's easy to dress up for any and all festive occasions.
When your favorite LBD is at the center of your seasonal party get-up, there's no limit to your options — layer it up with a glam coat or a cozy sweater, accessorize with eye-catching shoes and jewelry, or finish it off with a bold beauty look. Just like the world, the little black dress is your oyster.
Plus, putting together a holiday look with your go-to little black dress takes out the mental effort, energy, and cash required to come up with a new outfit for every fête. By switching up your add-ons, the same LBD can transition seamlessly between every event on your calendar this December.
With so many ways to style this wardrobe must-have, though, the choices can be overwhelming. If you're after some yuletide ideas, here's how eight stylish women put their favorite little black dress to work during the holidays. With a little inspiration from them, you can make your little black dress ensemble your own.
Eloise Jones (@eloisejones), Public Relations Manager, MONSE
Eloise Jones turns her staple black slip dress into a cozy-chic ensemble by layering it up. "I like to layer a turtleneck underneath if I want to create a little 'Steve Jobs attends holiday party' tension," she says. Add some over-the-knee boots and a black blazer or a leather jacket, and she's all set.
"Arriving on a motorcycle would be the ultimate accessory for this look, but so far no one will let me borrow one," says Jones. (There's always next year.)
Alexis Bennett (@_alexisbennett), Digital Shopping Editor, InStyle
Alexis Bennett transitions her holiday LBD from work to play with the help of a little layering (and un-layering). "If I have to head to work before a holiday party, I like to layer my LBD with office-appropriate pieces — like a structured button-down or a classic turtleneck," says Bennett.
"After 5, I’ll toss the top into my bag, throw on sparkly earrings, add a spritz of perfume, and I’m good to go," she says. Her go-to fragrance is Chanel's GABRIELLE CHANEL Eau de Parfum.
Kayla Elam (@kaylaelam), Publishing Assistant, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Kayla Elam is taking advantage of all the holiday cheer around by going bright with her look. "Times are bleak and grey January days are ahead, so I’m compensating with bold accessories and accent pieces," says Elam. "A shaggy, emerald coat — a statement piece if I’ve ever seen one — and a bright red lip bring the fun to a classic LBD."
"Black pumps and a slick ponytail complete the look," she adds. Because sometimes, putting your hair up is the new letting your hair down.
Emma Reynolds (@emmarey), Lifestyle Editor, ChicagoMOD
"I’m not one for sequins and glitter during the holidays, but I want to spice it up," says Emma Reynolds. First, she starts with a great hair accessory. "I’m loving Chloe + Isabel’s gold bun cuff from Jen Atkin’s line. It adds glitz without being too overbearing," she says.
Next, she goes for a statement bag. ""I’m particularly loving Gucci’s Ophidia style shoulder bag. Contrasting textures and colors alongside a plain black dress vamp up the edge, and the bold red hue keeps it festive," she says.
Finally, a girl's gotta stay warm in Chicago. "What’s a holiday look without a fabulous coat to top it off? I love this particular coat with textured cuffs," she says. "There’s something very Parisian to me about it, and it feels dramatic, yet demure."
"As cliche as it sounds, the holiday season is truly the busiest time of the year for me," says Sara Tan. "While I love getting dressed up and looking festive for parties, there simply isn't enough time to shop for and plan out different outfits for every single event."
Her stylish hack: First, she swaps out an LBD for something a little different. "I keep my favorite little black jumpsuit on hand and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize," she says. "I like to switch up my looks by pairing my LBJ with different shoes, statement jewelry, jackets, and makeup."
Jamie Newman (@jamie_newms), Associate Editor, MODERN SALON
Jamie Newman has mastered the art of dolling up a little black dress. "Is there a canvas in fashion more perfect than an LBD? For the holidays and beyond, my go-to pieces recently have been faux fur statement coats, my treasured Tibi white ankle boots that I snagged at a sample sale, and simple gold jewelry," she says. "I don't leave the house without my personalized gothic choker necklace from the M Jewelers and ears adorned by tiny gold hoops from a new favorite site called Mejuri."
As a beauty editor, her skin care and makeup go-tos are also an essential part of her LBD look over the holidays. She keeps her skin super hydrated and goes for dewy, fresh makeup looks (since matte makeup can highlight dry spots).
Shannon Nelson (@shanel725), Aspiring Fashion Designer and Freelance Artist
Nine West Carrara Knee High Pointy Toe Boot, $84, Nordstrom | The Last Line Perfect Rainbow Collar Tennis Necklace, $3,047, The Last Line | Roxanne Assoulin Hip-Hop But Not Bracelet, $375, Roxanne Assoulin
When Shannon Nelson wears a dress, she's going to wear that dress to the fullest. "To be completely honest, I am more of a pants-and-top girl, so when I do wear feminine silhouettes, I tend to embrace it as much as possible," she says. "The LBD I'm going to break out this year is a vintage Dolce & Gabbana that I've had for years but have never worn."
She always felt the mid-calf length dress was a little too dressy, but she says now's the perfect moment to break it out at last. "With current trends I think it'll be a perfect balance paired with knee-high boots," she says. "As far as jewelry goes, I have been dying for a few pieces from The Last Line and Roxanne Assoulin. They are the perfect glitzy glam pop add-ons every LBD must have!"
Tayi Sansui, Translator and Dating Writer, Elite Daily
"When in comes to a styling a little black dress, I typically let the cut of the dress influence the accessories," says Tayini Sansui. "For mini dresses, I usually go for sheer tights with heeled boots and a coat with some fur action."
The finishing touches: "A red lip usually works if I'm going for a glammed-up look," she says. Finally, she adds on some gold jewelry to complete her look.
If you're looking for other party dress staples, check out this roundup of frocks that are festive, but not sparkly.