Popularized by french designers Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Jean Patou in the 1920s, the little black dress remains the go-to staple for affairs of any sort and will be making myriad appearances at holiday parties this season. But just because, as Karl Lagerfeld put it, “one is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress,” that doesn’t mean donning an LBD is a foolproof endeavor. We help you maximize these timeless looks this season, whether you’re hoping to impress co-workers or revel with friends.

For The Holiday Office Party: Keep It Chic
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DO: A lace dress needs a smooth lining or silk slip (this dress comes with its own) so there is no bunching or pulling. And limit accessories to a great clutch and one piece of statement jewelry—you don’t want your killer dress to be obscured by accessory overkill.

DON’T: Wear opaque or patterned tights. The former projects a funeral vibe and creates a bit too much bulk below. The latter is just distracting.

Veronica Beard dress, $695, Lawrence Covell, 303-320-1023, lawrence; Oscar de la Renta earrings, $390, Bottega Veneta woven satin minaudiere, $1,550, and Jimmy Choo shimmery leather pump, $695, all Neiman Marcus, 303-329-2600

For Toasting The Season With Friends: Sexy and Sophisticated

DO: When selecting a casual LBD, go with subtle, interesting details—but no bedazzling. (This one has a knot at the waist, which creates a flattering silhouette.) You can still go audacious with a bold-tone clutch and shoes.

DON’T: Show too much skin. You can have a plunging neckline or a thigh-high slit. Not both.

Chris Gramer jersey dress, $285, Willow, 303-818-5950; Marni sequin convertible clutch, $2,160, and Gucci suede Maxime mule, $1,150, both Nordstrom, 720-746-2424; Gem & Blue 14-karat gold-fill cage ring, $67, and Ago Studio 14-karat gold-fill bar ring, $66, both Goldyn, 720-489-0580