Thursday, October 28, 2010

L is for Little Black Dress

Hello my Dear Readers! I hope you're having a fabulous week so far! Today I am sharing another excerpt from the book The One Hundred by Nina Garcia..."A Guide To The Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own." It shares the A-Z staples each woman should have in her wardrobe, and today we are continuing on with the letter L. :)

L is for Little Black Dress:

Ms. Garcia writes:

"Often, the perfect little black dress finds a girl when she is not looking. If she sets out on a "perfect little black dress mission," the thing will elude her all afternoon. But if she is on her way to a lazy Sunday brunch, it will most likely jump out at her from the storefront window. No matter what the cost, she should buy it. It may be H&M or it may be Alaia. The price is immaterial, since it can always be justified by the rules of fashion math: cost divided by number of times worn equals priceless. It will be there time after time, decade after decade.


* Choose the best material you can find (not all are created equal) and nothing too tight or too shiny.

* Consider your LBD a blank canvas instead of a fallback. It demands to be accessorized and adorned.

* To avoid being accused of playing it safe, make sure you have a dash of daring (a dangerous stiletto, bold jewelry, etc.), and make sure it shows off your best assets.

* Remember, the reason the simple garment is so enduring is because it understands the essence of style: to step back and let the woman shine. So shine.

* It is said that you need only one, but a minimum of two is a better guideline.

* Make sure you can dance in it.

Fashion 101: The Little Black Dress

     As mentioned in my first book, The Little Black Book of Style, fashion history credits Coco Chanel with inventing the little black dress in 1926. Yet women had been wearing little black dresses long before. It should be noted, however, that it wasn't until the 1920s that the black dress became a fashion statement, and not a dress simply for practicality or mourning. And for that, we must give it up to Mme Chanel. She would insist on it, in fact. She might say that she knew about the power of the black dress before anyone else, and she might be right. When Paul Poiret came up to her in one of her first little black creations, he asked, "For whom, Madame, do you mourn?" She cheekily responded, "For you, Monsieur." Turns out, she knew what she was talking about.
     And we should also give it up to Mme Chanel for coming up with the moniker of "little black dress" while she was criticizing her fashion rival Elsa Schiaparelli. "Scheherazade is easy," she noted. "The little black dress is hard."
     Clearly, Mme Chanel was not a woman to mess with, which is why, after much reflection and research, I'm going to give her a little credit here. Yes, the little black dress has been in existence for centuries, but where it was once an item of practicality and solemnity, it is now a sure sign of power and sensuality. And for that we can thank Mme Chanel.

Great Moments In Little Black Dresses:

*1961: Audrey Hepburn (does it even bear repeating?) where the famed Givenchy LBD in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

*1972: The Hollies debut their hit "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress." That long cool woman had it all...

*1986: Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video airs on MTV, showcasing top models in little black dresses. The world--especially the fashion world--drools.

*1986: Cher attends the Oscars in an awe/shock inspiring Bob Mackie number. ("As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress.") This little black dress went a long way, showing how divers a concept the LBD can be.

*1994: Elizabeth Hurley goes to the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere in a little black dress by Versace, held together with safety pins. Her career skyrockets.

*1994: Princess Diana steps out in that memorable black dress the night Prince Charles mad that memorable announcement.

*1996: U2 debuts the song "Little Black Dress," lyrically praising the power of the item. Here she comes like a child with a gun...

*2006: The LBD from Breakfast at Tiffany's is sold at auction for £467,000 (roughly $920,909). "

"When the little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place."
--Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

(All the information above is from the book.)

A handful of Little Black Dresses...

*Calvin Klein
*London Times

Do you have a Little Black Dress (or two)? Do you prefer a certain style? How do you accessorize your LBD? Are you still looking for one? Please do share! :)

Have a beautiful and blessed day!



  1. I have two LBDs. I have worn one a fair amount already, it was pricey and worth it. I got a second at Target, of all places, a few months ago. It is a blend, but has a nice hand and is fully lined. Sleeveless, origami pleated neckline, fitted and the perfect length. Goes to show you, you can find the ideal LBD at all price points.

    I actually find it amusing that the same piece of clothing can mix with sparkle and shine and go to dinner, then play itself down for a somber occasion like a funeral, and be equally appropriate in both instances.

  2. I had been in search of the perfect LBD for ages. Then for a wedding a few years ago, I found a Cynthia Steffe. When I tried it on...perfection. Even my husband said that no matter what it cost, I needed to get it. (within reason!) Best dress ever. I always feel gorgeous in it -- it's the most flattering cut. I usually keep the accessories simple, but try to work some hot shoes with it. Hands down, one of my best purchases ever.

  3. I am getting a few copies of that book at lunch today! Thanks for posting!

    I have a post called LBD on my blog.

  4. Thanks for stopping by ladies! :)

    Desert Flower: I also have an LBD that I picked up on super sale from Target online last year and it is absolutely gorgeous, not to mention extremely flattering. You are right that you can find the ideal LBD at all price points. :)

    shopwithm: Your LBD sounds gorgeous!!

    Rose: I know you'll love the book. :)

  5. Why is it every item that is said to be a basic (white shirt, LBD) - most of us lack in our wardrobes?! We all need a perfect LBD for us!