The little black dress has been a women's wardrobe staple for decades. It offers ultimate versatility and can be styled for everything from work to semi-formal affairs. The LBD generally has between a mid-thigh and knee-length hemline, so the key to a successful cold-weather look is strategic layering.The dress anchors your ensemble while other layers, outerwear and accessories help it go seamlessly from the office to happy hour.
Whether your favorite LBD is a sheath, fit-and-flare or shift silhouette, you can layer underneath to protect legs from the winter chill. Tights and leggings make the most comfortable and versatile layers under your black dress. If you're going for sheer tights, black always looks chic, but don't be afraid to test out other hues like plum and marsala. Semi-sheer tights with lace detailing add a dash of femininity and a dressier look for evening. Opaque tights provide slightly more insulation, but colors can end up looking juvenile -- stick to black or dark gray. Stretch-cotton black leggings offer the most warmth and a more casual look for day.
Layering on Top
Certain LBD styles provide the additional option of layering a shirt underneath for added warmth. A strapless, tank-style or cap-sleeved black dress gets a jumper-like look from a bottom layer. Basic long-sleeved cotton-jersey T-shirts are an easy way to add extra warmth. Keep the look clean and sophisticated by sticking to solid black, gray or white. Try a collared button-down shirt under your black frock for a professional look at work. Stay with monochromatic hues whether you choose a solid or printed shirt. If you opt for a print, stick to classics like stripes and plaid so it's not too loud for the office.
When adding a coat over your little black dress, fit is everything. If you don't find a jacket or coat that drapes your body perfectly, it's worth going to the tailor so you look polished indoors and out. Trenches, pea coats, blazers and skirted coats are always flattering when fitted properly. A brightly colored or patterned coat adds interest and personal style to your look. Try a Kelly green pea coat, cherry red trench, or winter white skirted coat for maximum contrast. An ivory or charcoal blazer over your LBD is an elegant look at work. Going bold with a colorful floral or tartan print further personalizes your look in any coat silhouette.
Closed-toe pumps, loafers and any type of boot will pair with your LBD and keep feet warm in winter weather. Choose footwear that best complements your leg layer. If you have footed tights under your little black dress, any style closed-toe shoe will work. Knee-high leather boots offer the most insulation and protection in ice and snow, while loafers and ankle booties create a longer leg line. In footless tights or leggings that end at the ankle, you'll want a shoe that doesn't expose any skin. Opt for an ankle, mid-calf or knee-high boot so you don't see the hemline of your leg wear or expose the foot and ankle to the cold.
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Marie Sporich is a SoCal native, classical ballerina and devoted Yogi. She holds an A.A. in product development and B.S. in business management from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She has spent nearly 10 years in retail, is a published writer and certified wedding planner.