10 Best Alternatives to the Little Black Dress

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10 Best Alternatives to the Little Black Dress
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For a night out on the town, it’s tempting to grab that little black dress out of the closet to strut your best stuff. "While a little black dress can be a great and versatile addition to your evening wear, it's not the end-all and be-all of dressing after dark," says Dianne Daniels, a Connecticut-based image consultant. Spruce up your style and your evening wear with colorful and stylish alternatives to the LBD.

Low-Contrast Color Identity
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Low-Contrast Color Identity

If you have a low-contrast color identity -- your hair, skin and eyes are all close in color – wearing a strong color like black might overwhelm. Instead, choose a color that harmonizes with your natural coloring for the most attractive effect, says Daniels. “A woman with low-contrast coloring might consider dressing head-to-toe in the same shade,” she said. “For years, California blondes have done this with light and medium shades of brown or gold, giving them an overall glow that’s hard to duplicate if your coloring is not similar.”

High-Contrast Color Identity
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High-Contrast Color Identity

For a woman with high-contrast coloring, experimenting with jewel tone dresses can produce a dramatic contrast to skin tone and a popular alternative to the little black dress. “Your personal preference as to whether you like warmer, more yellow-based or cooler, more blue-based colors will help you decide what high-contrast combinations will work best,” says Daniels. Combine ice blue with sapphire or ruby red and light pink.

Purple as the New Black
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Purple as the New Black

If you want to stray from basic blacks, consider a wrap dress in purple for a special occasion. Purple is the new black, according to Bonnie Lee Cuevas, New York-based stylist. “The rich color is still vibrant and warm,” she says. “And, the wrap dress is perfect for any body type. The V-neck and ruching on the bust line, along with the A-line cut enhances a woman’s curves and hides any tummy problem areas.”

Dazzled Jewel Necklines
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Dazzled Jewel Necklines

While black may be simple, the perfect dress for a night out on the town doesn’t have to be. Energize your wardrobe by opting for a jewel gown that accents the neckline. “A jeweled neckline draws the attention away from other imperfections,” says Cuevas. “Choose styles that flatter your shape and enhance one body part. If your dress is short in length, cover your bust line and choose colors that are rich and bring out your skin tone.”

Colorful Options
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Colorful Options

When choosing an alternative to the little black dress, think about colors that are rich and bring out your skin tone. "Think about hues that give you a glow," says Cuevas. "Plum and rich gold dresses go great with any skin complexion." Beyond the color, consider your measurements and size. That little black dress may seem slimming, but a colorful fabric that is not too tight or too loose can enhance your curves and leave you feeling stunning.

Victorious Navy
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Victorious Navy

Swap out black for navy to add a classy touch to your evening attire. Maria von Losch, founder of Savvynista.com, recommends a navy, wrap Victoria dress to stand out above the rest. Complete with a V-neckline and short sleeves, this dress will dazzle day or night. “You can never go wrong with navy,” she says. “I suggest a classic cut that you can wear from day to evening.”

Lace and Thrills
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Lace and Thrills

For a trendy thrill and a high-end alternative to the little black dress, consider a lace overlay in any style. “Lace and chiffon overlays never go out of style,” says von Losch. “A cocktail style dress is classic and you can wear it year after year.” These classy lace overlays offer you the choice of colors. Make a bold statement with red or a soft, sweeping entrance with a light blue dress.

The Lady in Red
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The Lady in Red

When isn’t red a power color? Slip it on for size to make a dashing entrance at your next cocktail party. “A red dress is a great option that gives you versatility,” says Kim Turner, Chicago-based image consultant. “Every woman can wear red; she just needs to find the shade that looks the most amazing on her.”

Suit Up
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Suit Up

Day or night, the classy black suit works well as an alternative to the little black dress. Available in various styles with options to swap out accents and accessories, a professional and savvy suit also offers an affordable option for the stylish diva. “The beautiful thing about a black suit is that it makes financial sense, too, as it can be broken up to give you lots of looks from casual to work to evening,” says Turner.

Tomboy Taste
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Tomboy Taste

If dresses make you squirm, don’t feel pressured to put on that little black dress. Instead, opt for classy “tomboy” alternatives, such as a stylish blouse and black trousers. “I recommend a blouse in a great fabric with feminine details,” says Holly Chubb, owner of Penelope Lane Clothing. “Pair it with a black patterned trouser and a great shoe.”

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