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The Little Black Dress

Most of us can say we have that one staple black dress which can be worn for just about any occasion, and the classic look is not only popular but elegant and timeless. It’s the dress in our closet that can be accessorized to fit the event and often is the dress we go back to time and again. It’s one of the most versatile items we own, never goes out of style and looks good on anyone. But how did this classic look originate? 

Prior to the 1920’s, black was reserved for funeral wear, but when Coco Channel made the bold move to put a short, black dress on the cover of Vogue in 1926, all that changed. The popularity of the black dress skyrocketed, and it became one of the most influential pieces of clothing. Chanel transported fashion from tight corsets and bustles to straight-lined silhouettes. Because of its affordability, black remained a popular choice during the Great Depression. The black dress had another boom in popularity when “Breakfast at Tiffany’s’' debuted, and Audrey Hepburn showcased her iconic black dress with long black gloves. Today, people accessorize the black dress to fit any occasion. 

We enlisted the help of stylist Amani Skalacki to show us how versatile today’s little black dress can be. 

“We usually think of the little black dress as a piece you wear to an event. However, because black is so flattering on all body types and skin tones, many women have multiple black dresses from casual to evening,” Amani says. “I selected this collection of dresses to show the versatility of the black dress and to give women some new ideas of how to wear the evening gown with a train on a night out with their girlfriends or the traditional summer strappy maxi dress while running errands in cooler temperatures.”

Although black is a timeless, classic look, that doesn’t mean it goes without personality. You can make it your own style by accessorizing to infuse new life into a dress that you already own.

“A sequin dress can be dressed up with heels, or that same dress can be transformed into a casual outfit with the addition of tennis shoes and an oversized blazer or a denim jacket. Transform that strappy dress you have been wearing all summer into an outfit that’s perfect for chilly fall temperatures. Add a narrow scarf, a leather jacket and sandals or a tall pointy boot, and you have a whole new look for an evening out,”  Amani adds.

If you have a dress in the back of your closet you haven’t worn in years, don’t be afraid to dust it off and give it new life. “Take that evening gown you wore years ago to a tailor for a little transformation. Turn it into a high low dress-top that can be worn out with girlfriends or on a date night. Pair the top with leather leggings, ankle boots, a chunky belt and some statement jewelry, and now you have a piece that pushes the boundaries of the little black dress.”

Side Bar:

Are you looking for the best cut or style of dress that works best for your body type? Amani provided this simple guide:

Hourglass Figure:

  • V-necklines

  • Cinched-in waistlines

  • Tailored/fitted dresses

Pear or Triangle Figure:

  • Tailored dresses

  • Off the shoulder 

Athletic Figure:

  • Embellished 

  • Ruffles

  • Empire waist

  • Volume is your friend

Apple Figure

  • Drop waist

  • A-line

The dress that all body types can’t go wrong with is a wrap dress of any length.