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Splurge vs Save: Little Black Dress


Angelina Jolie
Angelina rocks the LBD in her campaign for St. John!

Why Buy?

When it comes to essentials, the little black dress is an undeniable must for every college girl. Depending on the style you choose, the classic LBD can get you through any number of scenarios–it’s an obvious choice for any dressy occasions, a great option for parties, and a chic choice to throw on when you haven’t done laundry in a while and just need something to wear to class. The LBD is a classic wardrobe standby.

Tips for Buying a Little Black Dress

  • If it’s in your budget, invest in more than one dress! Since I go to school in the midwest, I have three LBDs–one for each season I’m on campus. My “fall” dress has cap sleeves, shorter hemline, and a tight knit, while my winter dress is drapey, has long sleeves and falls to my knee. My spring dress is a classic tent dress that looks cute on top of bright t-shirts, or paired with a belt. Having all of these options guarantees that I’ll have one black dress to get me through just about any situation.
  • Because black is so classic, chic, and wearable (and because you’re so adorable and fashion savvy) it’s easy to disguise a cheap dress with more expensive accessories! Don’t discriminate just because a dress is inexpensive. Feel free to play with high and low pieces here to create a one of a kind, celebrity-inspired look. If you love an expensive black dress though, realize that you will most definitely get your money’s worth. In fact, it will probably cost you less than $.50 per wear over its lifetime!

Tips for Wearing a Little Black Dress

  • Dress one up or down. LBDs are incredibly versatile and can be worn for a variety of occasions, depending on your accessories. Inspiration? Imagine how different a dress would look with chandelier earrings, a bib necklace, and heels than how it would look with cowboy boots and a chunky turquoise necklace. The best LBDs will take you in either direction without missing a beat.
  • Feeling bland? Play up those accessories! When the core of your outfit is black, you can experiment with animal print shoes, a brightly colored bag, or a neon t-shirt layered under your dress if the style will allow. Your LBD is also the perfect showcase for your wildest jewelry–the bigger the better!
  • Wear with confidence! Your LBD will take you everywhere. In any situation where you’re concerned about showing up under or overdressed, you can’t go wrong with the little black dress. This is a staple that you’ll have in your closet forever. Want proof? Check out your Mom’s wardrobe for inspiration!

Get Your Own!

…Last week, some of you asked for pricing information on each individual piece…In general, I try to make sure that the Save options are under $65, and the Spend options are anywhere from $50-$150+. There are so many great options at every price point for these looks, you just have to shop around!


Splurge Little Black Dresses

Vivienne Tam Ruffled Sheer Black Dress with Tie Waist, Leifsottier Bandage Knit Dress, Nordstrom. French Connection “Penny’s” Party Dress, Bloomingdales.



Zipper Placket Tank Dress, Forever 21. Sweetheart Bustier Dress, Fred Flare. Movable Feast Dress,

Your Thoughts?

Do you already own and love a little black dress? Where do you find it? What do you pair it with? If you don’t yet have an LBD, are you going to save or splurge?! Let everyone know with your comments!

Posted on on October 3, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , ,

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19 Responses to “Splurge vs Save: Little Black Dress”

  1. 1
    October 3rd, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    If you want to look more sophisticated, think black is too cliche, or just want something else a dark grey dress in one of these silhouettes would be perfect. It has the same versatility and availablity and looks just a bit more chic and unexpected, setting you apart from all the other LBDs. It also makes some accessories POP a bit more. <3

  2. 2
    October 3rd, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I have a ton of LBDs in all types of styles from classic to jewel accented to body conscious and they’re all from Forever 21! I wore them tons last year, especially for formals or dressed up with crazy accessories for themed parties. I didn’t mind that they were inexpensive because I never had to spend the whole night worrying that someone was going to spill a drink all over me and ruin it.

  3. 3
    October 3rd, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I must admit that the LBD is an addiction. It started in college and now I own about 6 LBDs. They’re a perfect staple for any wardrobe & I’m not a ‘black’ girl I much prefer grays. Now that you’ve given me more options to look at I am tempted to get #1 on the Splurge & #3 on the Save.

  4. 4
    October 4th, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Right now, when I’m working as an au pair here in USA, I have three LDB’s. One sequin-filled with a short hemline, one with lace frills and one simple jersey-LDB with a v-neck and drapey sleeves.
    They all work on different occasions and back home in Sweden I have a couple of more ┬┤that’s just waiting for me to get home…=)

  5. 5
    October 4th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Haha, of course I meant LBD’s…fingers slipped ;)

  6. 6
    October 4th, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I have around 2 or 3 LBDs although they don’t see the light of day much. Honestly I just don’t have very many special occasions to go to!

    I think the material and quality of the LBD far outweighs the price. Rayon, polyester, cotton and silk can come in all price points so I like to check the material tags first.

  7. 7
    October 4th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I second Aiko – while black is of course a classic and rarely the wrong choice, I never wear it and in fact do not and never intend to own an LBD. On the one hand, it is so classic as to be rather dull and typical, so I always wear grey or purple, and sometimes red or rich brown, especially brown satin. I actually get more mileage out of they grey pieces in my closet, because they go with black, brown, navy, or colored accessories, and, I don’t care how “modern” it is, I usually am not intrigued by mixing black with navy or brown. On the other hand, I happen to look terrible, absolutely pale as a ghost, in black, so perhaps I have an unfairly biased view. :)

  8. 8
    October 4th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I have never owned an LBD- I am debating to get one or not- a Forever 21 just opened in the mall near me. Perhaps I will look there.

  9. 9
    October 17th, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I am one of those girls who has multiple LBDs. One is very similar to the XXI one (In fact, it’s from XXI..) and is perfect for a fun night out on the town. It’s sexy and simple. Another is more edgy. And another is more sweet. Honestly, depending on the occasion I will switch it up.

    LBDs can be powerful and they will always be timeless. I think that one of the keys to having an LBD is, like you mentioned, just having great accessories. With my forever 21 sweetheart bust LBD, I dress it up with a diamond necklace and/or bracelet, and it looks ten million times more expensive. Accessories truly make a difference!

  10. 10
    March 15th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    One suggestion for LBDs is get one that is simple. While ruffles and bows can be fun and flirty, they can sometimes be too dressy for the more casual, “dress down” version of the style. You can always use accessories to dress it up.

  11. 11
    August 29th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    um iam in college i have a liitle black dress that i wore out whith a one of my roomates i live whith who turned 21 we all looked so cute in our little black dreesses and heels we waited all day to get ready

  12. 12
    March 20th, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Yes, I like buy little black dress!

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