It may sound a bit cliche, but a little black dress is, without a doubt, a style essential for every woman’s wardrobe. It is classic, polished, and effortlessly chic. It can be worn for almost any occasion, from doing chores around town, to the office, to a fabulous formal event. Best of all, a little black dress can be found in everyone’s budget, whether you are wearing Walmart or Chanel.
The little black dress was first popularized in the 1920’s by Coco Chanel, and was predicted by Vogue Magazine to become “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.” Gone were the days of wearing black for funerals. Instead, the little black dress became a symbol of elegance and style everywhere from the 1930’s dance halls to the great films of the silver screen.
But the little black dress REALLY soared in popularity after the 1961 film, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. I remember watching the film as a young girl thinking how fancy Audrey Hepburn looked, having her coffee and danish on the streets of New York. The giant sunglasses. The pearls. The Givenchy black dress. She was perfect, and I wanted to look just like that one day. (Two side notes about the film. First, I still would like to buy a silver telephone dialer from Tiffany’s. Two, I didn’t realize until I was well into my adulthood how Holly Golightly made her money!)
The little black dress has remained an essential for almost 100 years, and is still as relevant today as it has ever been. Rich velvet, smooth satin, and flowing chiffon grace gorgeous black gowns of the red carpet every award season. Black tie affairs are considered the epitome of class. Musicians at formal affairs wear black to allow the audience to get lost in the music, rather than be distracted by the visual.
As an expression of style, I’ve worn a little black dress on many occasions. I strolled the streets of Paris in a breathable, jersey-knit black dress. I’ve conducted dozens of concerts in beautiful black lace. I walked on Caribbean beaches, hand in hand with my husband in breezy black sundresses. I’ve worn a little black dress for school pictures, and vintage Hufflepuff cosplay, and just to go pick up groceries at Aldi on a Saturday morning.
When is the right time to wear a little black dress. ANY time is the right answer. Despite what many (especially my students) believe, black is not simply a color of angst, fear, or sadness. Black is joyful, and special, and a classic that will never go out of style.