Category5 is a fabulous online fashion experience dedicated to truth in fashion, shopping, and all things style. Lauren is dedicated to giving women all the tools they need to come away with an insightful, honest, and humorous look at where their style truly resides.
By Lauren Deloach, Editor of Category 5
For years and years, all we’ve heard about is the LBD. This magical little black dress that is supposed to fit all occasions and be a go-to when in style doubt. Stylists swear you simply must own this mythical dress that can be transformed from work to cocktails, and that without it you somehow have a gaping hole in your wardrobe. Well I’m here to tell you the truth, which is that the little black dress is really just a “lazy boring default” designed to keep you from thinking outside the box when it comes to your style. It’s the easy way out. And while I don’t think that style should be hard, finding your real truly perfect style shouldn’t be easy either. It should take thoughtfulness, contemplation, and a drive to put on the best style show you can. That’s how you know you’re destined to feel fabulous—when you see your reflection looking back at you in the mirror. So let’s breakdown why the little black dress is truly a curse in the world of style, and what the best options are, particularly when thinking about events.
The biggest curse of the little black dress is centered around the fact that this dress is automatically black. If it was called the little colorful dress, I suppose there wouldn’t be so much controversy over it in the first place. But why are we telling women that their default should be the color black? Obvious answer: Because black is forgiving and hides body parts one might not want others to see. But here is exactly where we find the lie. Wearing amazing and vibrant colors can still do the same job of hiding what you don’t want others to see. Since when couldn’t the color burgundy or forest green hide a woman’s flaws? They are still very rich colors with depth that are dark enough to hide problem areas. What about a shimmery gold shift dress with three quarter length sleeves that can be worn year round? This look comes off super chic and elegant, and could be worn with a tweed black blazer to “business” it up or nix the blazer and add a gorgeous statement necklace (think Elva Fields) to glamour it up for night events. Remember not to get caught up in wearing the color black, as more than anything it’s the fit of the dress that you should be most focused on when thinking about a “go-to.”
This segues me into the second part of the curse, which is the fact that at the heart of this mythical dress it’s the fit that is constantly overlooked. Example: If you have an apple body shape and carry all your weight in the middle, what good does it do for you to purchase something like a Herve Leger “Little Black Dress” that is beyond body hugging to the point of labored breathing? NONE! It would be the ruler and hourglass body shapes that would benefit most from this silhouette, and even then with bodies like that it seems ludicrous to decide on the color black when stepping out in such a fitted dress when you could choose a beautiful shade of plum or dark teal.
Taking fit into account, the apple body shape would keep her focus to the shift dress, which is forgiving in the midsection, all the while remembering that the more colorful the choice, the more vibrant her style will come off. As for the pear, as so many pears I know tend to run away from their hips and backsides, with such a small waist they would benefit best from a dress more fitted on top that flares at the waist (think Alice + Olivia’s Ophelia Lace Dress, which also happens to work great for apples since the top half is corseted!).
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Finally on to the third part of the curse, the quitter factor. I gotta be honest and say that I don’t want to own some bland and boring black dress that I wear every time I get in a style bind and can’t think of anything else to wear. It’s that same thinking that lands women with dated hair and cakey makeup. Thinking that you’ve got your wardrobe so figured out that you no longer need to challenge yourself means you’ve left the style game. Challenging yourself is what it’s all about! It’s where you find the reward of winning the battle between the fear of trying something new and pushing through that anxiety to come out fabulous on the other side. Refusing to settle is what separates us from wearing our husband’s t-shirts to grocery shop and skimping on eye shadow in the name of confusion.
So the next time you read some recycled article telling you to invest in a little black dress, ignore their big white lie and find a colorful dress that accents your body shape and showcases your fabulous personality. Anything less is a sham and disservice to yourself and the next generation looking up to you for inspiration.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.