Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Charming Dame Lesson 2 - Own a Little Black Dress

Or two.  Or three.  Or...you get the idea.

I have heard said that a TRUE Little Black Dress can be worn to any occasion.  A wedding.  A funeral.  A cocktail party.  The opera.  Work.  I disagree.  While I believe black works everywhere and at any time, I don't believe one dress can work for all of the occasions above.  Besides, what fun would ONE Little Black Dress be? 

Chanel is credited with 'inventing' the Little Black Dress as we know it.  It was unveiled on October 1, 1926 in the pages of American Vogue.

Fantastic LBD history!
In a time when women dressed with the idea that more was more and black was reserved for mourning, Coco Chanel did what she did best...went against established ideals.  She stripped all the adornments and all the colors and patterns away.  She went black.  Simple.  And invented classic.  As far as I'm concerned...Perfect.  Though it wasn't until Audrey Hepburn and the Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961 that the LBD truly made its mark.  That particular dress was so influential that it was auctioned off for charity in 2006 for $800,000.  Impressive, no?

photo credit
Today the LBD is a beloved staple in essentially every woman's wardrobe.  I have several and love them all!  As I said before, I don't believe there is one dress that can work for every occasion.  The good news is, you've got options!
photo credit
I believe that between two or three, you can cover all your bases. Here is how I cover mine.  I would have donned the dresses to give you a better idea of what they look like on, but seeing as how I live alone and haven't been feeling very well the last few days, these photos will simply have to do.

First is my favorite.  This classic wiggle dress is simply fabulous!  In it, I feel like I stepped right out of the late 50s.  It works for almost any occasion, though it can be a little much for some situations due to the va-va-voom factor.  I've worn this dress to a funeral (with a sweater) and numerous cocktail parties.

I wish I had a photo of what this really looks like on, but I can't find a full body shot.  So this photo of cocktails in the library of the Los Angeles Athletic Club will simply have to do.

The next dress is also inspired by the 1950's.  I consider this my vintage-inspired party dress.  This one is super fun and with the fact that it's in satin and has a great back, it's a lot more dressy than my other LBDs.

The upper back is opaque with a button closure and gives the dress an interesting element.   I've worn this dress for a New Year's Eve bash, a charity benefit, and a movie premiere in New York - it worked fabulously for all of them!

The third dress is a really light and gauzy summer dress that is perfect for those hot summer evening parties.  Comfortable, cool, and flirty, yet there's still a dressy element to this one.  I've worn it to summer evening birthdays, cocktail hours, and art shows.

This last dress might not look like much on the hanger in this photo, but I was invited to a casual outdoor November wedding this year and I needed a warm dress.  Though I did not set out to buy a black dress to attend a wedding, it shouldn't be a surprise that I ended up with one.  The fit on this one is similar to that of a wiggle dress - for some reason, I felt like I belonged in a Robert Palmer video.  I think this might become my go-to winter dress for occasions that are a little less formal as it also worked really well for my friend's holiday party.

So if you don't have a Little Black Dress for every occasion, you should really rectify that immediately.

To see my inspiration for the 'This Charming Dame' series, please visit Quite Continental Charm School.

Happy Shopping Kittens!

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