Wedding Season What-to-Wear: Little Black Dress

Sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to scour your closet for the perfect wedding outfit. No guessing, no color-matching (or mis-matching), no worries. So you reach for a little black dress.

While it’s not considered a wedding attire category (i.e., outdoor, cocktail, etc.), I figured an LBD post deserved some air time because so many of us want to wear black without blending in. Right?

Black often gets a reputation for being too safe. I disagree– black is fabulous, and should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Black is always appropriate, and can hide a multitude of bloat-related sins.

But like every rule, there are a few exceptions. I would advise against wearing black at a wedding when:

  • It’s a daytime + outdoor event (too hot!)
  • The bride specifically requests that guests not wear black (in general, always do what the bride says; she may strike you with a centerpiece)

If those two don’t apply, feel free to go dark. Just don’t go long– a long black maxi (without a print) might be a little much, don’t you think?

Here are a few non-boring LBD options for a summer wedding:

Little Black Wedding

1. Herve Leger ($1050)
2. Suzi Chin ($158)
3. Trixxi ($36)
4. Banana Republic ($150)
5. De La Ru ($39)
6. Forever 21 ($25)

A body-con dress à la Herve Leger (1) is classic and sexy. The black not only keeps it chic, but keeps it from becoming a little too “look at ME!” and/or racy. The tightness of the dress may be a little frightening, but dresses like these (if done right) actually mimic shapewear (like Spanx) and help hold you in. Brilliant! I’m all for that business. If you’re worried about bulges (aren’t we all, at some point?), shimmying into another layer of shapewear never hurt, either.

Keep strapless LBDs from crossing into Blah Territory by choosing a dress with a fun element, like a lace skirt against a sweetheart neckline (Trixxi [3]) or some fluffy tulle with an empire waist (De La Ru [5]).

This dress from Banana Republic (4) is timeless with its deep V-neck and handy pockets. The wide-banded waist is a great spot for a belt– either basic black or a  bright color would work here. I love the tulip skirt on the Forever 21 dress (6); it adds the right amount of interest. The model is wearing it with black tights; I would definitely go with bare legs. The one-shoulder Suzi Chin (2) is a fave– the sheath shape is super flattering. (The dress hits right at the knee; if you’re on the short side and a dress like this hits below the knee, consider having a tailor bring the hem up a bit to keep from cutting off the line of your leg.)

You can add a little drama to any LBD by slipping a pair of bright-colored pumps. Pink, blue, purple, metallic… The list goes on. This is also achievable with jewelry– all of these dresses would look even more amazing when paired with a crazy statement necklace or a stack of bangles. Punch it up! That’s what keeps things interesting.

What do you think? Do you default to black when you have a wedding to attend? How do you personalize the look?

PS- Missed any of the What-to-Wear series? Check ’em out here and here and here. 🙂


  1. I love the Herve dress- too bad I don’t have a cool grand to drop on it! So sexy!

    Great post, as always. I love this series!


  2. Absolutely LOVE #3 and #5! The skirt styles makes the dresses so fun. Perfect dresses for some dancing at the reception. I tend to end up wearing black dresses with killer heels to weddings!

  3. Dress 4 is really classic. I could wear to a wedding, of course, but then also on dates, on the town, holidays, etc. Great find!

  4. I love love loooove #2 and #3! I’ve recently made a serious attempt to step outside my box when buying dresses, but for those two… I’d step right back in. 😉

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