21 black dresses that’ll work for every last minute event

Posted by for Fashion

When it comes to wardrobe heroes there are few more iconic than the little black dress, and for good reason. Whatever the dress code, there’s always an LBD ready to rise to the occasion and we’ve found the timeless styles that you’ll love for years to come. 

They say that fashion fades but style is eternal, and there are some pieces that prove to be chic season after season. Like the sleek camel coat, or a crisp white shirt, the little black dress is a fashion failsafe. Whatever the event, there is always a little black dress that perfectly rises to the occasion. It doesn’t matter if it is a midi dress, a dramatic maxi or a playful mini style, the best LBD is one that you can throw and feel ready to conquer the room in.

Whether you want to channel this seasons biggest trends in a puff sleeve black dress or in Nanushka’s sleek vegan leather or keep it classic with a timeless slip dress – these are the 21-best black dresses that you’ll find yourself coming back to time after time. There are even ultra-versatile day-to-night dresses that will look just as cool when worn with stomper boots and a colourful cardigan by day as they will with killer ankle boots and gold jewellery by night.

Here to see you through every occasion in your calendar - there’s nothing a black dress can’t do. The proof? Take a look at our favourites. 

  • Nanushka

    No longer just reserved for jackets, leather is delivering its signature style of rebellious chic to dresses too. Nanushka’s vegan leather dress looks (and feels) every bit as luxe as the real thing.

    Shop Nanushka vegan leather belted dress, £523   

  • Ganni

    Looking for an on-trend approach to the classic little black dress? Thanks to Scandinavian label Ganni, the search is over. Balloon sleeves and pleated details feel very spring/summer 2020 while a mini style and semi-sheer back will offer evening interest for years to come.

    Shop Ganni pleated satin mini dress, £215

  • Staud

    Staud’s clean, minimalist designs have won the brand a host of fashion-forward fans, including Meghan Markle. Made from sustainable recycled nylon, this LBD is as environmentally conscious as it is playful.

    Shop Staud Ash dress, £213

  • Rixo

    While the LBD might be synonymous with something short, this sweeping style is making a case for the power a more dramatic dress. Perfect for taking you straight from work to evening events, all you need is a statement lipstick and a sculptural handbag to make this dress work as hard after dark as it does by day.

    Shop Rixo high neck knit midi dress, £365

  • Maje

    Trust Parisian label Maje to add a little sparkle to their LBD. This mini gives this dress the after-dark appeal you need for a new season party dress, while the diamante heart detailing feels like a love letter to our inner 90s child.

    Shop Maje dress with diamante and hearts, £209

  • The Kooples

    When it comes to evening luxe, there’s no better way to do it than in black velvet. Serving rock-and-roll style with a very glamorous edge, a short hemline and plunging v-neck bring this attitude out. Wear yours during the day with the addition of stomper boots and a colourful cardigan.

    Shop The Kooples cropped black rock-style velvet dress, £278

  • Anine Bing

    A black slip dress should be the backbone of every woman’s wardrobe. This versatile piece works for day, night - and just about every occasion we can think of. Layer over a black turtleneck for a chic yet office-appropriate look and take yours into the evening by wearing over bare skin, with an oversized blazer draped on your shoulders.

    Shop Anine Bing lace trimmed midi dress at Net-A-Porter, £450

  • Paco Rabanne

    The midi-dress is a magic weapon in our wardrobe, is there anything it can’t do? While we all surely have lots of colourful printed styles, an all-black interpretation is so effective. The ruching on this dress adds something special to an otherwise simple style - so go overboard on accessories here and layer on all the jewellery you love.

    Shop Paco Rabanne stretch jersey midi dress at MyTheresa, £345

  • Zara

    It’s no secret, we are a sucker for a puff sleeve. These balloon inspired styles add just the right amount of drama to any look, and this black mini dress is no exception. The loose smock cut feels laidback enough to wear with sandals on a long summer day, the perfect wear-everywhere piece to stash in your carry on for your next holiday.

    Shop Zara puff sleeve dress, £25.99

  • David Koma

    Serve up some serious va-va-voom in this party-ready dress that dance floors were made for. The feather-trimmed skirt and diamante detail make this versatile piece work for more formal, black-tie occasions too, while the mini-length and one-shoulder cut keeps things fresh. 

    Shop David Koma one-sleeve feather-trimmed satin mini dress at Net-A-Porter, £1,515

  • Sandro

    Think you’ve never seen a sexy shirt dress? Well, Sandro will prove you wrong with their black lace interpretation of this classic. Scalloped edges combined with a 3/4 sleeve make it feel ready for spring parties. We see this as one of your wardrobe staples well into summer.

    Shop Sandro Guipure coat dress, £315 

  • Topshop

    Here’s an evening-ready take on the puff sleeve trend, glossy black satin and ruched detailing give this LBD all the party appeal you’ve been searching for. Style yours with statement diamante slides for a fun look that will look fresh at every occasion.

    Shop Topshop satin mini dress, £35

  • PatBo

    Channel a seriously sophisticated approach to the LBD in this stunning velvet mini dress by PatBo. Lightly padded shoulders and a nipped-in waist add structure to this silhouette, while a subtle ruffle makes this an ensemble for every evening event you have in your calendar.

    Shop Patbo tulle-paneled ruffled velvet mini dress at Net-A-Porter, £548

  • Redemption

    When the occasion calls for a sensational gown, Redemption answers with this show-stopping take on the black dress. Draping the body in silk, this glittering dress is designed to photograph beautifully from all angles for the perfect Instagram-worthy look. 

    Shop Redemption metallic fil coupé silk-blend gown, £1,595

Saloni

Saloni dress
Best black dresses: Saloni

The golden buttons, glossy velvet fabric and chic side split creates the perfect midi dress. Wear your hair up to show of the collar detail and complete with heeled mules.

Shop Saloni + Vynx Taro button-embellished velvet midi dress at Net-A-Porter, £650

Jil Sander

Jil Sander dress
Best black dresses: Jil Sander

Halter neck styles have made a comeback this year, and this classic, effortless style by Jil Sander will stay in your wardrobe for the rest of time. 

Shop Jil Sander virgin wool maxi dress at MyTheresa, £1,610

& Other Stories

& Other Stories
Best black dresses: & Other Stories

Mini, quilted and puff sleeved – enter the party dress that’s just made to be worn with spot tights and platform shoes. 

Shop & Other Stories quilted voluminous puff sleeve dress, £120

Mango

Mango dress
Best black dresses: Mango

This effortlessly stylish maxi dress is guaranteed to get everyone asking where you got it from – we guarantee no one will guess it’s from the high street. Thanks, Mango!

Shop Mango long beaded dress, £169.99

Need some distraction? Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read & do while at home.

Images courtesy of Getty and brands. 

Share this article

Recommended by Harriet Davey