In Adoration of the Little Black Dress
Part of me feels like it’s boring to adore the little black dress. There are so many other types of clothing to find adoration for in life. Why did I choose the little black dress? It often feels basic in the worst type of way. It even has its own acronym. It’s quite possibly the most universal item of clothing in existence today, somehow simultaneously always on trend and passé at any given moment. It is everywhere. Yet, I love it despite what I’m afraid it says about me.
If I truly dig deep, it probably has something to do with my mom’s style and fascination with black. We were at a family birthday party at a Russian restaurant in Brooklyn and she wore a sleeveless black sequin mini dress with strappy black lace-up sandals and nude tights. I don’t even remember whose birthday it was. The point is, I was eleven years old and watched my mom with awe as she danced effortlessly with my dad to a band singing the song, “Coco Jambo” by Eurodance group, Mr. President. The cover band sang in a thick Russian accent. Toddlers in layers of tulle chased each other across the dance floor. A disco ball projected flashing lights across the room. Everything in the background no longer seemed important. All I saw was my 5’8” statuesque mom, smiling and enjoying life in a little black dress. She looked so elegant, stylish and fun. Ever since that one fateful night, I have been searching for a sequin black mini dress but nothing seems quite right.
The LBD is the simplest and yet most challenging item of clothing in my closet. I have about fifteen different versions of it, all coming in various silhouettes and designs. It has a reputation of being a classic but also lacking creativity. The challenge arises in making a boring item of clothing interesting again. Maybe that is what I find most exciting about it. Every time I reach for it, I subconsciously challenge myself to wear it differently and show a side of it that is unexpected. In this case, with snake print booties and a third trimester belly.
Is there any item of clothing that gets more attention and press? An article on the top ten pieces you should have in your closet always includes the little black dress. A capsule wardrobe is never complete without it. I’m writing about it right now. There are so many other options and trends to incorporate into your wardrobe – colors, prints, mixed prints, color blocking, the list goes on. Yet, the LBD has remained timeless despite its competitors. Does it say something about my sartorial perspective that the little black dress is still this exciting to me?
Perhaps what I cherish most is its sense of loyalty. It’s always there. In tragic moments and happy celebrations, it rests in my closet, eager to be picked up and appreciated for its simplicity. There are times when I skip right past it, looking for something that makes more of a statement, something shiny, something special. In other times, there is nothing I find more comforting than when I see my favorite black dress hanging in the closet, ready to be appreciated and embraced for what it is.
It’s still the item of clothing I get most excited about. Somehow this iconic garment has been so engraved in my mind that it has sparked years of LBD obsession without my even realizing it. When I see a plain black dress with sheer lace panels, a bungee cord-like strap or a subtle cut-out in just the right place, I immediately want it. If it has a bustier silhouette or a low back, I’m sold. If the model wearing the aforementioned dress looks incredibly put-together and sophisticated, my mind starts wandering to how this one dress will encourage me to be the best version of myself and fix all my problems. Obviously, I add to cart.
It is a blank canvas by definition, malleable and ready to be molded to whatever you need it to be. To however you are feeling at the moment. Just add the correct accessories. The possibilities are truly endless. Maybe that’s what I love most about it. It seems simple at first glance but it is actually quite nuanced and complicated.
If there is one good thing the little black dress has brought me, a pregnant woman in her third trimester who lately has been wearing mostly leggings and her husband’s oversized sweaters, is that wearing something from your past is a great way to get back to normalcy, a glimpse of who you were before the sleepless nights and heartburn.
Outfit details: Dress: Privacy Please via Revolve (similar here) // Booties: Steve Madden via Nordstrom // Jacket: Nordstrom // Bag: Zara (similar here)
In the spirit of a diary entry (aka Little Blank Diaries), I wrote this post in my journal, with plenty of cross-outs and scribbles in the margin. I really missed that trusty delete button. It is more stream of consciousness than my other posts. This is my way of saying, I hope you don’t think it’s terrible.
Photography by Sarah Jessica Hall