The ‘little black dress’, the LBD, was associated with my teenage imagination, as the pinnacle of sophistication, sexuality and adulthood. I knew I would ‘get in’ and that I would ‘pull’ in my slinky black number, as an underage clubber in a sleazy club. Although I believed I was a sophisticated fifteen-year-old vixen, in reality I was a child wearing slutty cheap lycra with sequins and thus the LBD became a tainted memory of childish sexuality.
As a result I had very ambivalent feeling about the LBD, and by the time I was eighteen, I found the LBD a boring wardrobe choice. I became obsessed with metallic silver dresses worn with over-sized Jack Wills shirts, hot-pink tutu skirts worn with large graffiti converse boots and leather jackets and a striped dress from Kai Kaur rai. I had a Topshop LBD obsessive blip for a few months but it wasn’t until recently, at the tender age of twenty-three I discovered why LBD, how LBD and when LBD.
Why do magazines covet them, why do women wear them, what distinguishes the LBD from the little grey dress, the little blue dress, the little red dress? The truth is, my teenage association of the LBD as sophisticated adult sexuality was right. There is something dangerously flattering about black, when worn in the right way, for every woman.
The elongated black silhouette cuts a powerful figure, accentuates your curves, and flatters your sides, in a way that no other colour manages. Think of the LBD as the shadow effect, smoothing everything out and emphasising your curves. The colour is safely sophisticated, yet dramatic, and that is often what we require ourselves to be.
As a teenager the LBD looks like a child dressing up and asking for fun. For the powerful woman and her proportions, the LBD works in a much more interesting way. It needn’t be a boring wardrobe choice, wear LBD’s with ruffles, interesting silhouettes and the longer the better. Try not to wear it with too much colour as you’ll undermine its striking effect, avoid completely shapeless designs and obviously smutty designs – the perfect middle ground is needed to make the perfect LBD purchase.
For some great LBD’s, check them out on House of Beth!
By Rosalind Kendal