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Alyssa's Fancy LBD (Long Black Dress)

It's ideal for any special occasion. Or, you know, when I just want to look extra chic.
Photo: Net-a-Porter

Photo: Net-a-Porter

I don't often get really dressed-up, but when a special occasion (like a wedding or a fancy fashion party) pops up on my calendar, I have one or two long dresses in my arsenal that can look extra formal with the right pair of heels, a smoky eye and a slick hairdo. But looking ahead, my schedule is going to be jam-packed through late next year — is it just me, or did everyone you know get engaged over the summer? — so it's time that I invest in a piece that I can turn to for events in any season and that I can style lots of different ways.

This gown by Elizabeth and James caught my eye recently. It's an elevated version of the LBD (that's "long black dress") that every woman needs in her wardrobe, but it's far from boring. The high neck is classic and elegant, but the thigh-high slit and side cutout keep it from looking too conservative. It would be ideal for a black-tie event with lace-up heels and a bold beauty look, and for a more low-key occasion, flat sandals and soft waves.

As an added bonus, the material is a bit stretchy, making it suitable for dancing and a little indulging during dinner. And isn't that what special occasions are really about?

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Elizabeth and James "Giulia" cutout stretch-jersey gown, $595, available at Net-a-Porter.

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