No woman’s wardrobe is complete without a little black dress (LBD). But what’s the secret behind the ongoing popularity of fashion’s most classic piece? Well, it’s the kind of dress you can wear anywhere, whether it’s a formal occasion, an office or family party or just out on the town. The little black dress is versatile – and it’s older than you might think. In fact, it’s only a decade or so away from celebrating its centenary – and it’s come a long way in the last 90-odd years.
The First LBD
French designer Coco Chanel is responsible for one of the staple features of the little black dress – its simplicity. Fashion historians see her simple, neutral cocktail dresses, as the genesis of this type of classic, no-frills evening wear. It was in sharp contrast to what went before – before the 1920s, women were often swathed in meters of fabric and wore black only when in mourning. Chanel’s designs made neutrals – and especially black – sexy and the height of fashion. Little black dresses were worn by everyone from Edith Piaf to Audrey Hepburn. The LBD has remained a beloved trend ever since.
Seasonal Black Dresses
Depending on where you live, you might have a couple of LBDs for different seasons. In summer, a simple sleeveless sheath is usually enough for a special occasion. In spring and autumn you can accessorise with a wrap, or light jacket. In winter, full or three quarter sleeves will keep you warm indoors and bare legs are covered by tights. Outdoors, a streamlined, thicker jacket or a classic trench coat is the perfect accompaniment for more formal occasions (and a bit more warmth).
One issue to consider when selecting a little black dress is the length. Some women will go for whatever’s hot on the catwalks, or the latest designer fashion. Others prefer a dress that will see them through a number of seasons. If you want a lasting LBD, then go for something with a classic hemline that’s near the knee – those never go out of style.
How to Accessorise
When accessorising your party dress, think about what’s underneath as well as the outside. The little black dress leaves nothing to the imagination so it’s important to have the right underwear (that’s if you wear any at all!). Many women like to control their curves to do their LBD justice, and look their very best. Once that’s sorted, then scarves, belts, earrings and necklaces will round out the look. And top that off with the perfect shoes to make your outfit memorable – skyscraper heels always look fantastic! Ready to strut your stuff at your next event in your LBD?
About the Author: Sharon Hurley Hall writes for Arkangel and Felon, designer shops in Edinburgh.