Classy, fun and flexible. No, I am not talking about your best friend but the iconic little black dress.
In 1926, the LBD was placed on to the fashion radar by Coco Chanel in a Vogue magazine issue. The writers claimed the dress would be “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.” Little did the fashion world know that they would be right! Audrey Hepburn later proving that the LBD is the ultimate iconic look. As she wore the Givenchy dress in the well-loved film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
By definition the little black dress is elegant but wearable, neutral in colour, long-lasting and versatile. Regardless of beauty approaches, weight and height, this is a truly flattering dress that slims that can work for every woman. This is why the LBD is seen as the ultimate wardrobe staple.
Despite this iconic dress filling the racks in every store, it has taken me years to find the perfect little black dress for myself. Therefore, I understand how difficult discovering the one can be. It is important that you find an LBD which will make you feel comfortable, confident, and tick all the essential timeless boxes. This is why I am sharing all of my style secrets on what to consider to find the right little black dress for you. I recommend taking this guide out with you when you next go shopping.
“One Is Never Over-Dressed Or Under-Dressed With A Little Black Dress.” — Karl Lagerfeld
When it comes to investing in classic clothes that are going to stand the tests of the time, it’s important to know yourself. In addition, the silhouettes you admire and the parts of your figure you love the most.
Of course, I’m a big believer that you should love all of yourself. However, I understand that emphasising one particular part of your body, which you are proud of, can elevate your confidence. Moreover, one of the secrets to classic style is choosing only one body part to show off.
If you love your legs, then choosing a long length dress wouldn’t make sense. Similarly, if you like your chest, then choosing a round or low cut neckline is going to be in your best interest.
Personally, I love fitted silhouettes that nip in at the waist. I instantly knew that a peplum dress would work wonderfully for the silhouette I was trying to achieve. Additionally, the peplum design also exudes a balance of preppy and feminine, with the frilly detailing, which is exactly the style I adore.
One of the most important questions to ask, when looking for you LBD is: Does it have potential?
You want to be able to dress up or dress down your little black dress so that it can suit every occasion. Although the LBD is considered to be the most solid and popular wardrobe staple is for its diversity. There are some little black dresses that just won’t make the cut.
The key to the perfect little black dress is that it should have the ability to become a go-to for any last minute occasion; Job interview, funeral, wedding, black tie, etc . You need to be able to look at your LBD and know how to style it for various environments.
Every time you find an LBD that could be the one ask yourself: Can I imagine wearing it with heels and flats? A statement necklace or a simple dainty bracelet? Will this be appropriate for a night out and a dinner to meet the parents? If you find yourself answering with a solid no, then keeping searching.
The essence of a classic wardrobe, is only investing in high quality pieces. Each purchase should come with the reassurance that it will hang in your wardrobe for years to come, looking just as good as the day you bought it.
The last thing you want when purchasing your LBD is having it fall apart after a few wears or the colour fading from black to an unpleasant washed-out charcoal colour.
Therefore, I recommend doing a quality check over the dress before purchasing (or any style purchase you make). There are many ways in which you can check if your desired garment is well-made. My favourites are:
Do the scrunch test
Ball a part of the garment up in your fist, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it go. Does the fabric stay wrinkled or do the wrinkles come out quickly? If it can’t stand being wrinkled for a few seconds in your hand, it’s probably not going to withstand the test of time.
Do the pull test
Reach for the hem of the clothing and gently tug on the fabric before releasing it. If the fabric retains it’s shape, you’re good. On the other hand, if material looks altered you are best putting it back where you found it.
Check the seams
My biggest hate is purchasing a garment only for the stitching to fall out after a few wears. Therefore, I’ve gotten into a habit to check over every seam and stitching before investing in a piece of clothing. For thorough inspection, gently pull the seams taut to see if there are gaps between the stitches. If you notice even the slightest malfunction, I’d highly recommend not purchasing it. To note: quality top-stitching should be straight and have a high number of stitches per inch. If your LBD has stitching in a colour other than black- run for the hills!
Another thing to consider is that it may be in your best interest to be willing to pay a little extra for your LBD. Although the price tag doesn’t always measure the quality of the garment, it is a good indicator. If you feel a little hesitant then I suggest looking at this perspective; you should only be buying an LBD once and getting countless wears out of it. If you buy a cheap, poorly sewn dress it is likely you will have to replace it quite quickly. So are you really spending more money in the long-run?
Trendy or timeless?
There is one question you should be asking yourself with every classic piece you invest in: Will it stand the tests of time?
The perfect LBD should be a staple piece that is in style regardless of the year or the fashion trends of the season. Purchasing a dress that is only going to be considered fashionable for a few months, completely discredits the whole idea of the perfect LBD.
Therefore it is important to ensure you are shopping for your personal style and not with fashion in mind. There is a stark difference and choosing your LBD based on the current trends isn’t going to result in finding the perfect one for you. It will only conclude to finding a good LBD right now but it is likely that in a year you will be on the hunt for another.
When you are on the search for your perfect little black dress, Stand back and picture yourself in it five years from now. Will you still wear it?
Consider your lifestyle
Remember your lifestyle. Think about the things you do on a daily basis that would require or work with a black dress. The purpose of a black dress is versatility and timelessness. As a result, you need to be realistic about the kinds of events and the formalities your lifestyle demands. It is important that you ensure your LBD caters to your individual needs.
If you attend a lot of charity galas and black tie events (lucky you!) then perhaps it is wiser to opt for something a little fancier. Contrariwise, if you are a workaholic and spend your weekends in the office, then it would make more sense to choose an LBD that has more structure and no-fuss.
Regardless of your personal style preferences, every woman can benefit from investing in a little black dress. Not only is this the ultimate wardrobe staple, your little black dress will act as your style saviour. Helping you to avoid breaking the bank in times of desperation, when you are suddenly invited to an important event.
Find the right little black dress, for you, and it will become your immediate solution to every style problem.