Goodwill Essentials: the Little Black Dress

Some things are temporary: high-school crushes, museum memberships, parachute pants, heat waves (thank goodness) – but some are eternal. Like what? Like your essential style staples, of course! In the months ahead, along with her Trend Watch Thrifting column, our Emme Bonilla will take a look at the tried and true favorites easily found in your local Goodwill. This week: the Little Black Dress.

A plethora of black frocks waiting to be tried on at Goodwill Chelsea!

For me an essential item is versatile. It will look good in your 20s AND in your 50s. It is remixable with a lot of what you already own… In other words, it is a classic.

Essential #1: The LBD
Fashion’s most famous acronym and for good reason. The little black dress has been hailed as the ultimate wardrobe item since Coco Chanel debuted its design in the 1920s.

Why is it essential?
It will work for any occasion. Trust me. Dress it up, dress it down, it lends itself to infinite reinterpretation. Like a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless. The LBD adapts to any situation, from the most casual of brunches to ritzy social events.

LBDs are made to accessorize. Add a brooch, a necklace, a scarf... You can't go wrong!

Here are a few tips if you’re looking narrow down your LBD search from Goodwill’s many to your perfect few:

• A sheath with an A-line shape will be the most flattering regardless of your body type.
Sleeveless dresses are more versatile but don’t dismiss the allure of long sleeves when paired with a shorter hemline.
• Speaking of hemlines, if you’re really looking for the ultimate good-for-anything LBD, look for dresses that hit 2 inches above the knee – this length can take you from work event to cocktail party to gallery opening without a hitch.

Now, if your local Goodwill is like mine, you’ll still have a ton of choice. Here are a few more tips to hone in on the absolute essential LBD for you:

Although you want to keep to a clean shape in order to get the most use out of your LBD, don’t overlook details that make it unique. A contrast stitching looks chic and interesting, a lacy trim adds a flirty touch, pleating or ruching in the fabric can better accentuate your body.
Low-maintenance fabrics like jersey cotton can be thrown in a bag and travel easily anywhere. This is an especially useful tip if you travel a lot or plan to change on the go, so jet-setters and super-heroes, take note!

A babydoll dress is a darling option made sweeter by the frilly trim.

Now that you’ve scored the perfect LBD, where can you show it off? I’m sure you have a ton of ideas already, but just for fun, here are a few more to make that social calendar bloom with style:

Brunch with girlfriends: Throw on a jean jacket, wear sandals and tie a scarf in your hair – and don’t forget the circle shades!
Art gallery show: Pair it with sculptural shoes, statement accessory (say, an oversized cocktail ring), and a slicked back ‘do.
The office: Make it work with a blazer in a bright color for a contrasting punch and mid-heel pumps.
Romantic date night: Go for the classic yet sexy look: pearls, heels, and red lips. Your date won’t look at anything but you!

All you need is a smile to rock this dress!

And the ultimate litmus test for an essential: your LBD can be worn all by itself!

How do you like to wear your LBD? Share your tips and tricks with us by commenting here, tweeting the love, and joining our FB page!

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