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Though the LBD (little black dress) has been a tried-and-true favorite among the fashion set for decades, the LWD (little white dress) has entered the sartorial scene in recent years—and given the LBD a run for its money (or at least, its iconography). And since several designers showed LWDs at September’s New York Fashion Week, the piece has cemented place in the world of 2019 dress trends; little white dresses are here to stay—and it’s time for us to get on board.
Where the little black dress offers timeless style rendered in a classic silhouette, the little white dress feels lighter, breezier and more experimental. Baja East’s NYFW take on the LWD involved an asymmetrical cut and fringe hemline, Brandon Maxwell’s felt distinctly tailored, and Ulla Johnson’s was frillier, more delicate and almost vintage in nature.
The point? There’s no right way to do a trendy little white dress—no single LWD archetype. The piece’s position in the sartorial universe is still being determined, offering tons of exciting opportunities in the way of shopping and styling.
As is the case with every other 2019 fashion trend that’s starting to gain steam, little white dresses are becoming increasingly pervasive—both on runways and in retailers. Though winter seems like a strange time to start sporting breezy white duds, little white dresses are available in all kinds of varieties—some fit for spring/summer, others adjusted for the colder temperatures of fall and winter.
Ahead, a beginner’s guide to the little white dress in its many forms and fashions—all of which are super on-trend for 2019, and all of which you can shop below.
Satin Kimono Dress, $72 at ASOS
Classic cut, classic fabric—unexpected color. This trifecta makes for an excellent cocktail look you can turn to for the dressier occasions on your calendar.
Mestiza New York Palma Tiered Tassel Dress, $277 at Neiman Marcus
Casual enough to pair with sandals, sleek enough to wear with tights and boots. Why limit your closet by season when you don’t have to?
Jil Sandler Gathered Asymmetric Dress, $1,586 at Matches Fashion
One of the more edgily cut maxi dresses we’ve ever encountered. Pair with clunky accessories for a cold-weather look, or pare things down for spring/summer wear.
Ermanno Scervino Ruffled Mini Dress, $2,743 at Farfetch
Bjork’s iconic swan dress—but make it fashion.
Maxi Polo Shirtdress, $45 at ASOS
The shirtdress just got a slinky makeover.
See by Chloe Tiered Ruffle Dress, $410 at Shopbop
Part-T-shirt dress, part-tulle dream—all comfy-cute style.
Manning Cartell One-Shoulder Dress, $446 at Farfetch
You probably already own this dress in black. Why not try white on for size, too?
Esteban Cortazar Fluted Midi Dress, $1,204 at Matches Fashion
This knit dress is practically begging to be worn all winter long.
Theory Slip Dress, $453 at Farfetch
Satin slip midis are the cutest imaginable iteration of this trend.
Paco Rabanne Crystal Embellished Shirtdress, $359 at Farfetch
An embellished collar will add a dose of detailed decadence to your LWD.
Style Mafia Lulu Button-Front Dress, $145 at Urban Outfitters
The buttons on this dress are downright incredible.
Likely Sleeveless Shift Dress, $200 at Farfetch
The more structured minis, the merrier.
Alice McCall About You Dress, $550 at Farfetch
There’s a lot going on with this dress, and we love every bit of it.
MUF 10 Jersey Dress, $143 at Farfetch
Wearable pajamas—need we say more?
A.L.C. Marin Dress, $425 at Shopbop
You can never go wrong with a classic shift dress—no matter what color it’s rendered in.
Stella McCartney Layered Shirtdress, $1,235 at Farfetch
Your favorite shirtdress got a flattering AF makeover.
Thom Browne Contrast Stitch Shirtdress, $534 at Farfetch
Because white and black don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Yumi Kim Class Act Dress, $228 at Shopbop
This drapey piece looks simple from far away, but closer inspection reveals it’s all kind of ornate.
Ganni Nolana Silk Maxi Dress, $368 at Farfetch
We’ve been eyeing this Ganni maxi for months. We’re just glad 2019’s fashion trends have given us an excuse to finally buy it.
Zimmermann Heathers Belted Shirtdress, $750 at Shopbop
We usually stay away from white keyhole lace, but Zimmermann can do no wrong.
Elisabetta Franchi Short Party Dress, $600 at Farfetch
Just embellished enough.