20 timeless little black dresses to shop right now and own for years to come

As at home on a red carpet as it is in a boardroom, the LBD is a garment that never fails.

Of colour dark, I’m always seen,

A staple piece, forever keen.

From silver screens to dance-floor nights,

I grace the scene with timeless might.

What am I?

If you answered Little Black Dress to our riddle above, you clearly need no introduction to the LBD – an iconic piece of clothing that has transcended generations to become a staple in almost every woman’s wardrobe.

The history of the LBD dates back to the 1920s when Coco Chanel introduced the concept of a simple, versatile black dress that could be worn for various occasions. Chanel’s vision was to create a garment that was elegant, timeless, and accessible to women of all social classes.

The term “little black dress” was popularised by American Vogue in 1926 when the magazine published a drawing of a Chanel design under the caption “Chanel’s Ford” referring to the popularity of the Ford Model T car.

Vogue predicted that the little black dress would become a signature piece for women everywhere, and a century on, it remains a go-to for occasions with ambivalent dress codes, offering a look that never fails (unless of course, you’re attending The Polo or Diner en Blanc).

Over the decades, the little black dress has evolved in style and silhouette, reflecting the changing trends and cultural influences of each era. In the 1950s, the LBD took on a more structured and feminine shape, often featuring fitted bodices and full skirts. In the sixties, designers such as Yves Saint Laurent embraced a more minimalist and streamlined approach, offering sleek and mod-inspired black dresses.

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, countless iconic celebrities have been associated with the little black dress. Audrey Hepburn famously wore a black Givenchy dress in the opening scene of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, cementing the LBD as the embodiment of timeless elegance. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly are among the other Hollywood legends whose appearances in LBDs will forever be iconic.

On the red carpet today, the little black dress endures as a sophisticated and glamorous choice for premieres and awards ceremonies, with celebrities who stepped out in the nineties and noughties in their LBDs still serving as inspiration.

Worn to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1993, Elizabeth Hurley’s strategically safety-pinned black Versace dress was daring enough to catapult the British actor to international fame. When Nicole Kidman took home the Oscar in 2003 for her role playing English author Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she was the epitome and classic Hollywood glamour in an intricately embroidered black Christian Dior gown.

And while Jennifer Lopez may have turned heads at the 2000 Grammy Awards in that plunging green Versace dress (subsequently heralding the creation of the Google Images search function) it was a black open backed Versace dress worn earlier that year to the Academy Awards that first made headlines for the multi-disciplinary star.

Silhouettes may come and go, but due to the cyclical nature of trends, you’ll always find an occasion to call upon an LBD from the past, making investing in a special piece a smart fashion choice.


left to right: Witchery Acetate Short Sleeve Slip Dress, $279, Remain Aubrey Mini Dress, $320, Country Road Lace Midi Dress, $549, Paris Georgia 05 Elemental Ida Dress, $290, Harris Tapper Lise Dress, $999, Dominique Healy Echo Dress, $390, Karen Walker Suki Organic Cotton Dress, $455, Kowtow Gather Drape Dress, $189, Taylor Folded Exude Slip Dress, $387, Wynn Hamlyn Zoe Bodice Dress, $750, Marle Detta Dress, $400, Aje Arris Fringed Maxi Dress, $685, Gloria World Record Dress, $550, Daylight Moon And She Was Dress, $549,Olivia Cashmore Willimena Dress, $1129, Kate Sylvester Aimee Dress, $569, Juliette Hogan Melissa Dress, $529, Rachel Mills Jack Cami Dress, $339, Rebe Strapless Long Dress, $595, Twenty-seven Names Sistine Dress, $590.