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Megan LaRussa Chenoweth is a Birmingham-based personal fashion stylist and fashion expert dedicated to helping women both look and feel their best. Today, she discusses how to style one dress three ways— just in time for your holiday celebrations! For more of her style tips, videos and guides, join Megan’s Style Yourself Chic Society membership site at StyleYourselfChic.com.

One of the most important things I do with my Style Coaching clients every fall is create a list of all of their upcoming holiday events, both big and small. From their family gatherings, to their office party, to Christmas Eve church service, and of course any winter weddings. We then shop with their specific events in mind and finalize their outfits long before the holidays hit. While this may have been on your to-do list too, events always pop up last minute and sometimes despite good intentions we don’t get to shop ahead of time. This is when the LDB comes into play; that is the Little Black Dress.

I find most of my Style Coaching clients have this essential item in their closet, but if you don’t, you might want to snag one to have on hand for a wide variety of occasions. I personally like this one by J.Crew that is universally flattering for most ages and body types. What makes this specific dress so flattering is the fit and flare silhouette, the substantial yet stretchy fabric, and the fact that it comes in a wide range of sizes and even tall and petite lengths. It’s always a good idea to assess your own LBD annually to ensure it still fits, and it’s in good shape. You can use this J.Crew one as a guide when reviewing your own LBD and to help you find a new one if needed.

Foundational Dress | Image: J.Crew

What makes an LBD so powerful and important is the versatility. It can be dressed up or down with the change of accessories. I love nothing more than ensuring my clients have versatile pieces in their closet, as I really do believe that less is more. When you have pieces in your closet that work hard for you by mixing and matching, you can truly get dressed with ease for any occasion!

If you’re curious what other must-have basics you need in your closet to make getting dressed a breeze, then you might enjoy joining my stylish community, the Style Yourself Chic Society! It’s a monthly membership site that houses ALL of my style tips, how-to videos, shoppable guides, shopping lists, done for you outfits, and more. You can learn more, and join here.

Now for how to style this versatile and flattering dress for any and all holiday soirees …

Outfit One: So often holiday parties occur right after work, or involve you or a loved one’s place of work. When these occasions arise you want to find that perfect blend of professionalism and festive flair. Using the LBD as our blank professional canvas, we are now going to build upon this piece to add our flair.

Let’s start with a fun third piece. A third piece can be a blazer, a cardigan, or even a statement-making necklace.  But remember it needs to be festive, so we want something a little different than what you might typically wear to the office or to a meeting.

Also, think about your shoes and what would be appropriate. In a more business-like setting closed-toe, like a pump, is typically best. If it’s chilly out and you want to cover your legs, stick to a black opaque tight and a black shoe to elongate the leg. If you enjoy a more modern, trendy look, you can always try a textured or plain black sheer tight with your black shoe.

A velvet blazer is not only in style, but also adds a festive flair to your LBD. This one is the perfect length to be paired with a dress given it’s more cropped silhouette. Image: Nordstrom

Another flattering option for completing your look is a belted velvet blazer. It works great on an hourglass silhouette. Image: White House Black Market

Add a little interest to your LBD with a statement necklace. For a more professional setting, opt for a classic necklace with a modern flair, like a pearl and chain link necklace. Image: White House Black Market

If heels aren’t your thing, don’t hestiate to try a dressy, pointed toe flat. The pointed toe and sleek shape of the shoe makes it flattering, even with a dress. Image: Ann Taylor

To add a pop of color to your LBD, try a burgundy pump. It looks professional yet festive, and the color is sure to spice up your LBD this holiday season. Image: Ann Taylor

A great way to pull together your LBD is with a third piece. This textured jacket looks classic, chic and modern, and adds some personality to your simple black dress. Image: Ann Taylor

Pearls don’t have to be basic, with pearls not only being classic but also in style this season, there are lots of great options out there. A pearl drop adds some light to your LBD. Image: Bauble Bar

Outfit Two: One type of holiday party my clients tell me is often on their calendar is a neighborhood, garden club, supper club, sewing club, etc. gathering. More often than not it’s at someone’s home and isn’t cocktail attire but is nicer than just casual everyday. Your LBD can be perfect for this occasion too, with the right accessories, of course. We don’t want to look like we’re going to a meeting or going to a fancy party, so it’s best to find that happy medium. We can achieve that look by avoiding anything too structured, like a blazer, over the dress. And we also want to avoid any jewelry that is too sparkly or formal. Instead opt for some great costume jewelry that adds some personality, and even try a pair of black booties with the dress, as opposed to pumps.

For a more dressy casual occasion, stick to festive costume jewelry instead of lots of sparkle. Statement necklaces and earrings are perfect to spice up your LBD, just pick one or the other. Image: White House Black Market

If you are sticking to all black with your dress, then add a subtle pop through a fun shoe! The metallic polka dot pump is understated yet festive. Image: Ann Taylor

Every woman needs a pair of black booties in your closet. These are great when worn with your LBD and black tights to keep your look dressy casual. Image: DSW

Pearls in hoop form are a classic yet current accessory sure to pull together your LBD and make it feel just right for your soiree. Stick to a bracelet, no necklace, to avoid looking overdone. Image: Bauble Bar

Even if the party you’re going to isn’t fancy, you still want to leave your everyday bag at home, and instead opt for a small shoulder bag or medium size clutch. Image: Bloomingdale’s

A cashmere cardigan in a more cropped silhouette looks amazing with all dresses!  It’s a great basic to have on hand. Image: Bloomingdale’s

If you prefer a more modern and edgy look, then skip the cardigan and instead opt for a cool leather jacket. Keep the shape tailored and shorter to pair nicely with your LBD. Image: Bloomingdale’s 

Outfit Three: Winter weddings, cocktail parties, or even a more formal Christmas Eve church service call for taking our LBD up a notch.  You can skip the cardigan and select a beautiful pashmina instead. And this is when we can pull out our nicer jewelry to add a little bit of sparkle to spice up our LBD. Try a nicer pump or strappy-heeled sandal for a chic and dressier look. And don’t forget your evening clutch to complete your look! Always switch out your everyday handbag for a lovely clutch or small shoulder bag to ensure you look pulled together and appropriate.

For a dressier occasion, uplevel your LBD with a fur or faux fur cropped jacket. Image: White House Black Market

If you prefer a closed toe shoe this time of year, go metallic with your pump to ensure it’s dressy enough for the occasion. Image: Ann Taylor

If you don’t mind an open toe shoe this time of year, a single strap heeled sandal is the perfect way to dress up your LBD. It is simple, clean and elongates the leg. Image: DSW

A clutch is a must have when dressing up for any soiree, but especially with your LBD.  It really takes your look from day to night. Image: Bloomingdale’s

There’s nothing more versatile or classic than a pair of diamond or crystal hoop earrings. They go with everything, and look especially chic with your LBD. Image: Bauble Bar

If you love a more statement making accessory, go for a starburst shaped drop earring with a bit of sparkle. Image: Bauble Bar

A wrap is an evening essential for every woman.  Use this cashmere wrap over jeans and a silk blouse, or over your LBD for your next event. Image: Bloomingdale’s

By having these must-have basics in your closet, like the Little Black Dress, you are ready for anything that comes your way this holiday season! Use these style tips to craft stylish, appropriate and flattering outfits from items already living in your closet so you are able to spend more time enjoying the festive season and less time wondering what to wear! Happy Holidays!

This article is sponsored by Style Yourself Chic with Megan LaRussa.

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