The Little Black Dress has been a wardrobe staple for the best part of 100 years. What is it about this simple item of clothing that’s hung in our wardrobes for a century?
Black was acceptable as a symbol of mourning pre – 1920s. John Singer Sargent, an artist, painted a picture which made the dress sassy as opposed to scary. Coco Chanel coined the LBD in 1926, when it was featured in Vogue. It was simple and had potential for long lasting success. It freed women from continuously wearing a corset and gave them liberation and more time after dressing. In the 1930s, the little black flapper dress appeared. It became a classic piece because of the beads and loose fitting design. It was associated with jazz, and with jazz came unruly behaviour- again emphasising liberation.
in the 1940’s, the Little Black Dress became a wartime classic. It was simple and elegant, and required no effort whatsoever, because of how easy it was to accessorise with. It was perfect for any occasion and simplicity was key during the war. Hollywood took over the world and with it, the Little Black Dress became more fabulous. It switched from a conservative, do-it-all piece to an elegant, sexy and sophisticated wardrobe staple. It was glamorous and showed no sign of falling out of fashion. The 1960’s showed the dress change into something much more controversial. It became shorter, with netted detailing and slits up the leg. Fashion finally became something women could take part in for fun – something to be enjoyed. Audrey Hepburn wears possibly the most memorable and iconic Little Black Dress of all time in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Throughout the 70s onwards, the Little Black Dress continued to chop and change, making it perfect for any era, and any woman.
If this timeless piece is so elegant, sophisticated and classic, why are more stylists every day telling us to avoid it at all costs.
A style editor will never tell you this, but the Little Black Dress doesn’t suit everyone. The colour black can make you look washed out and ill. It can make you appear older than you are. It may be slimming, but that’s not to say it acts as a time machine and takes the years off. 70% of British women should think before they take to wearing black. As a nation, we are primarily pale skinned and pale haired. Black is the darkest of colours, so if deep maroon doesn’t suit you, black probably won’t either.
The little black dress has been around for 100 years and given that it is a classic item looks likely to be around for at least another 100!