Meet the Black Gown: Your Formal Secret Weapon

We're all familiar with the Little Black Dress. Supposedly invented by Chanel, this uber-staple has been rounding out women's closets for nearly a century, and we each have one that we swear by. However, we're here to talk about the LBD's fancier and more aspirational cousin — the black gown or evening dress. Just as much a wardrobe workhorse as its "little" sister, the best black evening gown will blend seamlessly into any event, from your prom to a wedding to a black-tie work event, with batting a proverbial eyelash. With strategic accessorizing and smart footwear choices, you can morph your LBG (Long Black Gown) into almost any look.
As much as you need an LBG, finding one is not always a simple task. It's a great big world of gowns out there, at different price points, hems, styles, and construction. There's silk, satin, cotton, and polyester, in a variety of cuts that will hide or expose any body part you like. (And we mean any body part.) We've done our best to find the best styles for you, rounding up dresses from the simple and the streamlined to the sparkly and vintage-inspired. Because we're talking gowns, you can expect mostly longer hemlines, but hopefully our selection will still surprise you — in a good way. Click through to dress yourself for every formal event you have on the docket, hopefully for years to come.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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