We all know that a timeless wardrobe works around the iconic little black dress. It is the holy grail of dresses and finding the perfect LBD is like finding “the one”.
With the little black dress depicted as the most important wardrobe staple, yet still proves to be a difficult challenge that may potentially take you years to get right. It is no wonder that the little white dress is almost shoved under the chic designer rug. The LWD is the LBD’s lesser known, little sister whom is just as important but somehow gets overlooked time and time again. If you have already experienced the euphoric feeling of finding your perfect little black dress but your wardrobe somehow still feels empty, it may be due to your LBD feeling a little lonely. To summarise, you will really benefit from an LWD.
The little white dress is a blank canvas and therefore, can work with endless combinations. Not only is the little white dress universally flattering, it is almost as versatile as the classic little black dress. This is a timeless piece that will stand the tests of time against fad trends and works particularly perfect for the summer heat, when the LBD just won’t cut it.
Here are my top tips to finding the perfect little white dress for you…
Look for your favourite silhouette
To ensure that you are going to love your little white dress just as much as the day you bought it and ten years down the line. I highly recommend that you chose one in a style you love that gives you the silhouette you feel you are most confident displaying to the world.
If you are unsure on where to begin and are still establishing your style, don’t worry. Simply start by thinking of your favourite body parts and chose one that you feel confident to show off the most. If you adore your shoulders opt for spaghetti straps. Contrariwise, if you love your waist, make sure to choose a dress that is fitted in the middle.
Along with your favourite assets, it is a good idea to think about the length of the dress also. Personally, my favourite is midi or knee length dresses so it was important that I avoided mini lengths. Although I do enjoy a mini dress from time to time, I am aware that my style is already maturing to something more demure. Moreover, that I may dislike mini lengths altogether in ten years when I am in my 30’s. Therefore, I recommend to think about your future self as well as the present. Despite not being able to tell how your future self will feel, (unless you are psychic!) if you stick to what you know you love and avoid the temptation of trends. Hopefully, you will adore your LWD regardless of your age.
With all this said, I think it is great to also stay open minded. The dress I am wearing here isn’t the usual style I would go for. However, I instantly fell in love with the style. Marilyn Monroe vibes anyone? As a result, I would highly suggest that you experiment on your search.
Chose your fabric
As with all timeless investments, you really need to place the upmost importance on durability and craftsmanship. Even when you have purchased a well made dress, if the fabric is thin and flimsy, it’s not going to last you two seconds.
Personally, I knew I wanted a white lace dress. However, I was aware that I needed to avoid eyelash lace. Although this delicate fabric looks beautiful, it really doesn’t last two minutes and with one small catch on your nails, you are suddenly left with a giant hole in your darling dress. Moreover, I find that lace can be very hit and miss. Some of it looks wonderfully crafted and luxurious whilst other lace can look cheap. To avoid this, I made sure to really investigate each lace dress I liked the look of to see if the fabric was thick and durable. In addition, I made sure to check the netting as this is a huge tell tale sign if the lace is well made. If the netting is fine with a tight weave, then it’s okay. If it is wider or the dreaded rashel lace then not only will the dress look cheap and nasty but it will only last me a few washes before falling apart. Hence, why it is so critical to place importance on your fabric choices.
Look at the lining
Just like most white clothing, there runs the risk of it being transparent. This is why it is important that you look to see if the dress has been designed with a lining. If the dress is lined, then it is highly likely it won’t be see through. This also a great way to measure the quality of the dress. Usually, if a white dress isn’t lined then it is more likely to be a cheap product of fast fashion. Lining garments takes longer to produce, as such, less care is often taken into consideration when creating the garment. Unless the dress you are looking at is made from a thick fabric such as viscose, I would recommend putting it back on the rack and continuing your search. You want your little white dress to last and a sheer garment isn’t going to make the cut.
Select the shade
This may seem a little strange and I totally get it. Selecting a shade of white? Girl, you have lost your mind! Expect I haven’t! There are actually a large variety of different shades of white and it can really make or break the dress. From ivory to cream to eggshell to bone (and the list goes on), not all white dresses are the same shade.
If you are fair skinned, like myself, it will be in your best interest to avoid a white that is too stark as this will wash you out. Therefore, it is wise to choose a white with warm undertones such as off-white, natural white or soft white. Lighter fabrics such as chiffon, satin or lace will make some shades of white appear less harsh.
If you have tan or olive skin tone, then shades ranging from brilliant white to creamy white with yellow undertones suit medium complexions best. If, however, you have pink undertones to your skin, opt for a cream dress. Contrariwise, if your skin has yellow undertones, a shade softer than brilliant white will suit your complexion (think diamond white). I also recommend looking at champagne shades too.
If you have beautiful dark skin, then it is recommend to wear the whitest of whites in all types of fabrics, including synthetic. A dark skin tone also looks good in a white with a hint of brown (a latte shade). It is best to opt for cool whites with blue undertones as opposed to warm whites with hints of yellow.
I do want to add, that whilst choosing flattering complexions is a great foundation, it is by no means mandatory. At Eternally Elle, I am a huge advocate for wearing what you want and not following what some experts say is the right way to dress. I want you to understand that you should always chose what you feel comfortable in and not try and please societies expectations. However, I do think that these ‘rules’ can work as a useful platform to begin your search.
Consider your lifestyle
As with every piece of clothing you purchase, it is important to carefully consider your lifestyle and needs. I highly recommend that you really think about the types of events and locations you would wear your white dress for. This will help give you an insight on what type of LWD will be appropriate for your specific needs. You may adore the lightweight, layered chiffon dress you recently saw but if you will be attending a lot of BBQ dinners, then it will probably be ruined very quickly. Likewise, if you have a cute kitty at home, most lace dresses are going to be clawed to bits. Even with the most well-trained kittens. Believe me, my mother has three! Hence why it is vital to consider your lifestyle and environment. Think about the seasons your climate endures during the year. I recommend listing the typical events you get invited to annually that would work with a white dress. This will help you refine the types of fabrics and styles that will work best for you. Likewise, if you live in a warm climate that sees the sun all year round, you may want to avoid heavy fabrics such as tweed and velvet.
A quick reminder: never wear white to someone else’s wedding or shower. Whilst some brides may not care at all, I would strongly advise to veer on the safe side and respect their day in case they do care. Save your LWDs for non-wedding events. I promise you, there will be plenty of appropriate opportunities.
A little white dress doesn’t have to only be exclusively worn down the aisle. Nor does it only have to work during the summer heat. In fact, once you have one sitting pretty in your wardrobe, you may surprise yourself on just how much you reach for it. The LWD is one of those valuable pieces you didn’t know you needed until you have it! A dinner date with my boyfriend, drinks with the girls, last minute invite somewhere fancy, this wardrobe staple has never failed me once!
Do you have a little white dress yet?