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BellaOnline's Women's Fashion Editor

5 Ways to Wear the Little Black Dress

Almost every woman I know has at least one simple black dress that they pull out of the closet to wear to weddings, holiday gatherings, office parties, and just about any event that requires a dress. It's that special dress that fits just right and makes you look and feel absolutely fabulous. Why limit the wear of such a great dress to just rare occasions? With a few small touches and well-chosen accessories, you can wear the little black dress to work, business meetings, girls' night out, happy hour, or a night out on the town with your main squeeze.

Accessories are Everything - It's all about the accessories! A fashion accessory like scarves, jewelry, shoes, belt, or handbag can really help you stand out in your little black dress, and allow you to wear your dress just about anywhere. It's all in how you style your accessories, and how suitable it is for the occasion. So without further ado, here are five unique ways to wear the little black dress:

1. Nighttime Glam - This look is perfect for girl's night out, date night, or just one of those occasions where you want to look dressed up in a fun way, and not look like you're going to a wedding or funeral! Jazz up your look by adding some great jewelry, with or without crystals depending on the occasion. Large chandelier earrings or long strand necklaces layered into a fun, thrown-together way will work well for this purpose. Wear fabulous shoes like leopard print, brightly colored, crystal studded heels, or anything else that tells the world you're out to have a great time. Add a handbag with lots of details, like multiple buckles or metal studs.

2. Casual Chic - This is a great look for happy hour, a casual dinner, or a nice luncheon. If you're not wearing a dress with an empire waist, try adding a wide elastic belt with a pretty embellishment, like a cool metal buckle, flower, bow or any type of casual motif. A black belt is okay as long as the embellishment stands out or is made in a different color. A contrasting color will give you a more fun, casual look. Sweet, simple flats and a basic handbag (like a casual cross-body) will finish off your look. Natural gemstone jewelry or mixed metals that coordinate well with your belt is optional.

3. Office Perfect - The trick to wearing your black dress to the office is to tone it down. As long as it's not too short, you'll be perfectly dressed for work. If the dress is too low-cut, simply add a pretty cami or tank top underneath in black or a contrasting color like turquoise or fuchsia. Top it off with a fitted blazer but avoid wearing a solid black blazer because you might look like you're off to a funeral. A nice printed blazer would work much better. Think along the lines of damask, simple lines & designs, chevrons, or stripes. Add your favorite everyday jewelry (small pendants, thin strands, rings, and stud earrings) and you're ready to go to work!

4. Punk and Pretty - A great look for going to a rock concert, this look is all about makeup, jewelry, and legs. Go for a contrasting pair of leggings or stockings, or a wild print. Hosiery these days come in all kinds of sexy or wild designs that would work well for a concert. Throw on some buckled boots or platform sandals and a nice wide belt with studs or an outrageous buckle. Don't forget to finish off the look with fun, metal and/or leather jewelry. Stack on studded leather bracelets and spiked cuffs, and try a large metal statement necklace. Brightly colored plastic jewelry works well, too.

5. Halloween Happy - Did you forget to buy a costume? Your little black dress can take you from wicked witch to bad-luck black cat in just minutes. For a frightening witch look, all you need is a witch's hat from just about any discount department store or Halloween store. Any boot will work, but a short buckled boot will work best. Drape a black shawl or Pashmina scarf over your shoulders and tie the ends behind your back for a caped look. Dramatic black make up will complete this look. If you prefer to be a black cat, makeup will be your best friend. Draw whiskers and small freckles on your face, and color a dot of red on your nose. With the help of a cat-eared headband, it won't take too long for people to realize what you are! Black gauntlet gloves, or thin black gloves of any kind will add to your look.

There are lots of ways to look and feel great in your favorite black dress. With a little imagination and lots of great accessories, you can easily sport your little black dress more often.

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