Whether it’s the swinging ’60s or the power ’80s, the past decades can be one of the richest sources of inspiration when it comes to the LBD.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Whether it’s the swinging ’60s or the power ’80s, the past decades can be one of the richest sources of inspiration when it comes to the LBD.

Wool-mix blazer; faux leather strapless dress, Pinko. Bracelet; socks; shoes, stylist’s own

Never underestimate the power of the little black dress—it’s one of the most important staples in the modern woman’s wardrobe because of its sheer versatility. Instead, the question that should be asked is how to put a new spin on it every season. 

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Hailey Bieber turns a long line tuxedo jacket into a daring cocktail number.

Start by adding personality—layering pieces and nifty accessories make your ensemble feel more... well, personal. The fall/winter runways have seen a resurgence of nostalgia. Designers are harking back to the ’90s, ’80s and ’70s—occasionally all the way back to the ’50s—but they are keeping things fresh by looking at the style decades through the perspective of youth today. 

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An extravagant blouse adds a certain je ne sais quoi especially when topped with a cute beret.

Adopt that motto and rejuvenate the LBD by mixing, layering and adding hefty doses of urban spirit. The black leather strapless dress from Pinko on the left, for example, drips with a Debbie-Harry-rock-‘n’-roll vibe. But add a double-breasted pinstripe blazer and you’ll get an ensemble that Hailey Bieber would approve of.

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A mockneck knit dress looks great for the office when layered under a cardigan, with a luxe leather coat thrown over.

 It’s one-part Wall Street and one part downtown, but with an old-school punk vibe. It’s edgy but classic, and perfect when paired with classic black pumps. 

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Dita Von Teese always knows how to turn up the glamour in a velvet gown and long opera gloves.

On the other hand, the black frothy frock from Pinko on the far right easily transcends its romantic girliness when worn with a denim jacket trimmed with detachable faux fur—with a coiffed do and strappy sandals, it channels Dita Von Teese (minus the striptease). 

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Give slip dresses an edge by pairing them with a statement belt and a tough outer coat.

It’s feminine yet youthful, sensual yet full of street cred. 

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Denim jacket with faux fur trims; tulle and chiffon dress with rhinestones, Pinko. Socks; sandals, stylist’s own

Drawing inspiration from the past decades is a fun way to give your classic LBD a style refresh that’s referential yet utterly modern. Time to pull out those classics.

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Model: Anastasia Smirnova/Mannequin

Makeup: Audrey Wee Hair: John Lee

Styling assistant: Navin Pillay