5 dresses every woman should own: the little black dress

12/10/2012

Kate Moss in The Moss factor | Vogue UK September 2010 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier, styilng: Kate Phelan)
I am thinking about writing a few posts on wardrobe basics covering pretty much every item from head to toe, but instead of sticking with the usual list of wardrobe essentials, I am planning to divide everything into groups, i.e. dresses, tops, bottoms (still marinating this one), footwear etc. etc. etc. I’ve already written about the bags and lingerie in the past, so those two categories may not be included this time unless I change my mind or you tell me that you would want to read about those in addition to everything else.

Dresses we should all have. Why start with those? Because we are women and, as Diane von Furstenberg said, if you want to “feel like a woman – wear a dress”. I’ll get back to Diane later, but right now we are focusing on the holy grail of all dresses – the little black dress.

The LBD was introduced to us by the only and only Coco Chanel in the 1920s when, after tragically losing Boy Capel, she vowed to put the entire world in mourning for him and make every woman wear a black dress whatever the occasion. As always, she succeeded – in 1926 Vogue published a picture of a simple black dress designed by Chanel naming it “Chanel’s Ford”.

Although the story may not be totally familiar to everyone, we seem to be born with an idée fixe that we must, simply must, have an LBD.

Why? Because we secretly want to look like a Parisienne or channel our inner Audrey in one of her Givenchy designs. And because the LBD works on so many levels. The dress can be worn day to night, particularly when you have nothing to wear. The right cut gives comfort. It makes you look chic and gives people the right impression. Unlike many other styles, men find it easy to understand the LBD and subsequently dream about a woman who wears it.

The little black dress is a keeper, thus the only rule that applies for getting one is that you are in love with it – otherwise, just like an unhappy marriage, the story will be tragic.

Ideally, look for classic shapes and natural fibers – the fabric adds a touch of luxury and must caress the skin, not prick, scratch or irritate. And remember that black comes in several shades (it can have warm or cool undertones and grey, brown or blue’ish shades), so if one doesn’t suit you, move on and try another one until the puzzle comes together.

I found my LBD (the only black dress I own) back in 2003 and still wear it – admittedly, I am not a huge fan of black colour, but I do adore the dress because its classic hourglass shape and boat neckline that shows off the collarbones makes me feel beautiful and, after all, who am I to argue with Coco?

Below are some of my favourite finds and if you are a real admirer of the style, why not treat yourself to The Little Black Dress book or La Petite Robe Noire perfume?

little-black-dress-shopping

Where to buy: 1. Yarra dress by Diane von Furstenberg (£535), 2. Sleeveless Inverted Pleat dress by T by Alexander Wang (£263), 3. Black mesh insert skater dress by Dorothy Perkins (£36), 4. Organsa Prom dress by Miss Selfridge (£55), 5. Satin trimmed dress by Givenchy (£1368), 6. Wool and mesh dress by Azzedine Alaia (£2760), 7. Leather detail dress by Proenza Schouler (£1152), Fluted hem ribbed dress by Yves Saint Laurent (£1525)
little-black-dress

Where to buy: 9. Draped satin dress by Carven (£244), 10. Shift dress by Cacharel (£329), 11. Pixel leather detail dress by Helmut Lang (£415), 12. Christa Embellished dress by Bastyan (£175 Was £295), 13. Structured pencil dress by Warehouse (£75) STYLE STEAL, 14. Ruffled dress by Lanvin (£584), 15. Kent stretch silk dress by Azzaro (£414 Was £920), 16. Belted stretch crepe dress by Marni (£482 Was £965)
lbd

Where to buy: 17. Mae Black Shift dress by Great Plains (£85), 18. Jesse dress by Roland Mouret (£1229), 19. Wool & silk dress by Alberta Ferretti (£325.50 Was £1085), 20. Bow dress by Vivienne Westwood Red Label (£700), 21. Origami dress by TopShop (£150), 22. Applique dress by Moschino Cheap & Chic (£325), 23. Origami dress by Plein Sud (£849), 24. Parigi dress by MaxMara ‘S Max (£260)

Photo source: Kate Moss in The Moss factor | Vogue UK September 2010 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier, styilng: Kate Phelan)

49 comments:

  1. I do love black dresses and I have a few in my closet, but I almost never reach for them! (I might be too much of a color addict....) They are so wonderful for their versatility, they go from day to night so easily and with almost no effort. Dress number four is stunning!

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    1. Oh you know, I love colour, too, especially in spring and summer, and black comes out in autumn and winter... :)
      I adore the dress you picked and it's actually a high street - I was very excited to find it, I think it's an absolute steal!
      xxx

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  2. Nice Post,I wanna see More of It,Please Keep them Coming! (^_^)

    PS: Can you please check out my new post and leave me a comment if you have time? Thnks.. MWahh

    Blow A Rainbow
    Blow a Rainbow on Facebook

    I'll wait you on my blog dear.Have a Nice Day!

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    1. Glad you liked it and yes there will be more to come, so stay tuned. :) Will pop over to your blog soon. x

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  3. I wouldn't be able to survive without LBDs. I have quite some in my wardrobe. They are all timers - party, work, day off. perfect choice

    Xx

    Alexandra

    www.fashion-bridge.blogspot.com

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  4. My favourite black dress is the one in John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1884;)

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    1. Oh that one is a very special dress - very sculptural and beautiful. x

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  5. I own many lbd but my favorites are my classic Dvf wrap, the Jeanne in with a collar and long sleeves and my Karen Millen purchased for my 30th birthday. Excellent post!

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  6. I am not a fan of black either...and I really do not like that most of the women at a party are dressed in black, so I see no point in wearing a black dress, too. But since last winter I have a simple black cotton dress that helped me every morning when I did not know what to wear. So, yes for the daily LBD, but no for the evening LBD. But maybe an evening LBD will be great if it is a Elie Saab one, long and fluid or maybe not that fluid but with a lot of sequins,still Elie Saab...Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Oh I read your comment and suddenly thought... Maybe those girls in black dresses also had nothing to wear, so they relied on the LBD? :)
      Have a beautiful weekend, too!
      x

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  7. I can't imagine my wardrobe without the little black dress. Once I realised that it simply works every time, everywhere I've put effort into finding the right ones (I have 3 now). I love trying other colours, but 2 times out of 3 I would still choose the LBD.
    Wishing you a wonderful and sunny weekend! :)

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    1. Would love to see yours, Ada. I am sure they are gorgeous. xxx

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  8. Love the post and the dresses you chose!

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  9. I totally agree, I can't have enough LBD :).

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  10. Natalia, the choices you have presented are exquisite! I wholeheartedly agree with you. Everyone should have at least one in their wardrobe. Coco Chanel was an amazing visionary and designer. Something so simple, which truly makes a statement. I am loving #4 and #20. Thanks for this post and I can't wait to read the others. Have a great weekend!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim! I like the ones you chose, too, especially the #4. It's like a princess dress, isn't it?
      Have a wonderful weekend!
      x

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  11. LOVE this! LBD are super important to have in a wardrobe!
    :)
    Allison
    A's Fashion Files
    Shop Kawaii Kitsch by A on Etsy!

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  12. Such a lovely post, I am always looking to add a good lbd to my wardrobe. Last spring I got a Doo.ri collaboration for Macy's - it's the same draping, just not silk jersey. It's so great for travel because you can roll it up. Now I want a really great wool one for winter and I saw on at DVF that I've had my eye on. Would love to see a pic of all your lbds, I bet you have a great collection!

    xo Mary Jo

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    1. Hi Mary Jo, I only have one... :) I think DvF would make a wonderful addition - her dresses are so timeless. x

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  13. Such a great post -- and so true! The little black dress is fool proof. Great finds, lady!

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  14. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post (and the dresses). x

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  15. I have so many black dresses but never enough! Number 4 is my favourite and would look adorable with an up hair do and red lipstick.

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    1. It's a party princess dress, isn't it? :)
      x

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  16. such inspiring pictures!! love this post:) would you like to follow each other on GFC, bloglovin and maybe facebook?? let me know dear:))

    Leonor
    thesparklinglemon.blogspot.com

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  17. Oh I have quite a couple of little black dresses, they really are a classic, aren't they?

    http://www.tamarasblend.com/

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  18. thank you for your sweet comment :) I LOVE all these black dresses~ Although i think i have too many LBDs now... haha

    -liv
    http://chocolivlovelaugh.blogspot.kr

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I don't think a girl can have enough of LBDs... ;)
      x

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  19. Wonderful post! The LBD is an essential if you ask me! It flatters everyone. Loving your picks too!

    SDMxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  20. Yes, got to love the lbd!
    Please check out my blog too at Miss Tangerine :)

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  21. Absolutely wonderful!!!
    From Paris with love, Vicky

    The Golden Bun

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  22. Dear Natalia, you described the charm and appeal of the LBD so well! Like you, I'm not a big fan of black (so I tend to go for other classics like navy or grey), but the LBD is a passpartout that can easily fix any fashion troubles and it is such an easy 'canvas' to style. Thanks for this beautiful selection: I think the second box includes some of my favorites (Carven and Lanvin)!

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    1. I love those duo, too... Especially Lanvin, although I didn't say no to Carven either. :)
      x

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  23. Gorgeous post, and so informative! Love this. Great pics, too.

    <3 Josephine
    www.champagnestar.com

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  24. wow what a post girl!! I had never read such a long post in which I didnt get bored any second of it! I loved the black dress number 1 3 and 4

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  25. Great selection of dresses! I also tend not to wear very much black either. (having a white cat and dog don't help!) but it's always good to have a couple of classic LBDs in the wardrobe. I generally add a splash of colour with some bold accessories, or bright nails and lips to add a bit of interest. Look forward to reading your next instalment in the must have wardrobe basics. x Rigel

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  26. Amazing collection with full affect filled with color and textures.
    Thanks for sharing such beautiful designs with us.

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