When it came time to choose the dress I’d wear out for my birthday this year, I had a vision of a sexy LBD (Little Black Dress) that would perfectly suit my 34 years in age – meaning a dress that would flatter my curves, provide appropriate coverage, AND show a little skin all at the same time. That’s a tall order, I know. BUT given how many LBDs there are out there in this world, I knew I could find what I was looking for as long as I had the right criteria in mind. 

This dress is from the La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni line. I wasn’t familiar with this designer until I saw her pop up in my Rent the Runway unlimited subscription options. I liked the sexy yet classic styles, so I jumped at the chance to give the line a try.

I recognize this is a very expensive dress, so I am not suggesting anyone run out and buy something at this price range. That is simply not a realistic purchase for most – which is the reason why I now rent a lot of my special occasion clothing. Instead, here’s what I recommend when you’re looking for your LBD, no matter the price:

  • Choose a style that incorporates of-the-moment trends: Sometimes black can feel a little boring so to spice it up, I found a dress that had these cut-outs. It’s totally aligned to the cold-shoulder trend that everyone is wearing. Other suggestions might be a ruffled or feathered hem, a lacy overlay or some sheer paneling.
  • Pick a fabric with some stretch in a size and length that is suitable: If you’re choosing a dress that is going to be form fitting, I recommend a little spandex for movability. Just because you’ve got a little stretch doesn’t mean you should go tighter or shorter, though.  Fabric only stretches so far over shape wear and a fancy meal. Stick with your regular size and a length that doesn’t scream hoochie.
  • Don’t forget the shape wear: YEP, I said shape wear – a girl’s best friend. You may think black fabric is more forgiving of bulges and jiggles, but it’s not – especially in the early evening light of summer where everything appears a touch lighter and less opaque. Put on your SPANX to smooth it all out, ladies.
  • Focus on the extras: Dressing up your little black dress is all in the details. I’m talking the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the bag, and the jewelry. I love selecting my look to go with the dress! For this look I chose a smokey eye and nude lip, hollywood glam hair and an edgy stiletto – I thought the punkiness of the lug sole would compliment the cutouts up top. However, I could also see this look with a deep wine colored lip and tons of mascara.
  • Beauty tips: My makeup trick for wearing a nude lip without washing yourself out is to line your lips in a rosey-pink lip liner FIRST. And my hair trick for achieving maximum volume on top is to flip my part AFTER I’ve completed curling the entire head and combing it out. It gives you the most amazing lift at the root.

Professional style application – the LBD can be the perfect choice for a fancy evening work gathering. I could even see something like this working for the company holiday party. HOWEVER, use your best judgment on how much skin and cleavage shows when selecting a LBD for a work function. Watch the neckline, the tight-ness and the placement of any sheer paneling. It may be a party, but the attendees are still your colleagues.

Dress: La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni via Rent the Runway // Shoes: Gunmetal via Gilt (similar here) // Sunglasses: Silvano Apparel (c/o) (similar here) // Clutch: Jack Germain Handbags (similar here and here) // Eyeshadow: Urban Decay NAKED2 Palette // Lipstick: Stowaway Cosmetics in Champagne (similar here) // Lipgloss: PLA Beauty in In the Nude (similar here)

BEHIND THE SCENES: Sometimes I document the getting-ready process just for fun. Here are some pics from that morning’s mani, my iPhone selfie that I sent to my sis to show her the hair, my vintage vanity table that I just got plus the furry stool Evan gave me to go with it, and a pic of me after I’d pin-curled my hair – shot in the mirror of the vanity (terrible light in my bedroom!). 

You might also want to check out my review of Stowaway Cosmetics to read more about the brand behind this nude lip, as well as my post about making date night special and last year’s birthday