Washington Works the Little Black Dress

Real DC women show off their favorite wardrobe staple.

Photographs by Chris Svetlik.

1. With Safari Accessories
Whitney Franklin, 23, grad student
“I love to mix modern and vintage together! I bought my LBD from Forever 21—they always have great styles for a good price! My shoes are designed by Jessica Simpson. My earrings were handmade by a street vendor, the necklace was picked up by a friend from a flea market, the bangles were bought from a cultural festival, and my wooden bracelets were also purchased at Forever 21. The bag is one of my faves—I picked it up from an African-jewelry vendor in Charleston, South Carolina.”

2. From All Over
Sarah Kunkle, 21, international-economics student
“This outfit was a team effort—many of the pieces are borrowed or hand-me-downs! The dress is my roommate’s from a boutique in Tel Aviv—it looks really simple, but there’s a cutout in the back! The jacket is from the Murillo leather district in Buenos Aires, the necklace is a Golden Bear piece from Vail, Colorado, and the purse is a hand-me-down from my mother.”

3. Grunged Out
Gechi Robertson, 22, Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian intern
“My entire outfit costs less than one night out in DC. I bought my black dress and Ralph Lauren boots at Savers, a thrift-store chain in New England, and I stole the loosely woven vest from my mother’s closet last year. I exchanged a jacket at Into the Wardrobe, a consignment shop in Providence, for the feathered headpiece.”

4. As Spring Office Wear

Clare Dowling Dougherty, 40, director of public policy and advocacy, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
“It’s difficult to find dresses that fit me well, so I was really pleased to find this one at Ann Taylor. The wedge sandals were a great deal last year at Filene’s Basement, the sunglasses are from the Mandee Shop in NYC—my favorite spot for low-priced, trendy accessories—and both the necklace and bag are from vendors at Eastern Market.”

5. Playing With Shape
Victoria Jean-Louis, 26, Visison: Ayiti project director
“The story behind this little dress is that it’s not a dress at all! I’m wearing a black body suit, and the skirt was a $17 steal from H&M. I take this skirt with me when I travel because it’s easy to pack and a little more memorable. I usually wear it with a different top, but this rendition is my favorite because it looks like a very unique dress.”

6. Well Vested
Fatemah Boukhadour, 21, Georgetown University undergrad
“I found this $18 LBD while I was buying furniture at Target. It’s extremely versatile and so much more forgiving than its stretchy counterparts. The white Kookai vest is always a fun addition, and the Cole Haan clutch (black-wood panels on white leather) fits my wallet, keys, phone, camera, gum, and lip gloss. Very impressive capacity!”

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.