If you have ears, which I assume most of you do, I know you’ve all heard the advice that every woman should own a plain LBD, a.k.a “Little Black Dress”. Now, I realize I may stand alone when I say this, and it may not be in tune with your own line of thought, but my feeling on that bit of advice is this….it’s overrated. And, well, kind of a cop out too. Why? Well, I think it’s “safe” for many ladies to buy plain black, because they feel like it’s slimming or classic, that it’s “formal” simply because it’s black, and they may not want to risk choosing to buy a dress they really like in a great shade they absolutely love, for fear that it will attract attention that they’d be uncomfortable receiving, that it’s not “practical”, or that they don’t know how to maximize the versatility of it’s styling once it’s in their closet. Give me the cash to buy a new dress, and I promise you, the last color I’d ever willfully choose to buy would be black. I’m a color-lover at heart; black is the anti-color. It just doesn’t do it for me. It’s BORING. Look in my closet, and you see I lie not. I do not own a plain black dress. The two LBD’s I do own have a slight pattern to them, the one I’m wearing below and Anthro’s Layered Column Dress which you’ve seen me wear here.
I think there are many ladies out there who feel under-confident in their ability to style an outfit, and the LBD provides them with a “safe” option, a no-brainer solution for dressing up. Don’t you? It has been ingrained in our lady-brains as being a wardrobe piece that is sexy, easy to wear, and timeless. I don’t argue that a black dress is timeless. It certainly is, because it’s a totally blank slate. But blank slates are super boring when you don’t gussy them up, and sadly, many LBD wearers I’ve seen don’t make the effort to gussy at all. I don’t argue that the LBD is easy to wear either….anything can be categorized as “easy to wear” based on the attitude of the wearer. (My green Beda dress , in my opinion, is one of the easiest dresses in my entire wardrobe to style). As for sexy, well I think the LBD is where some ladies take it a bit too far. The “little” in LBD shouldn’t mean as little fabric as possible, yet quite often this is what I see at more dressed-up occasions. Lots of skin and a sea of black. So I have this ….well, I guess you could call it a prejudice (though I hate that word) against LBD’s. Got a formal to go to? Just pull out the LBD. Show some cleave. Show a
little lot of leg. That’s the only accessory you’ll need! See? I’m ruined. I’ve seen way too much. The LBD has become such a cliche. And cliches are BORING.
What to do then? Do I abandon the LBD altogether? My personal LBD solution is to buy one that has a bit of a neutral pattern going on, so it becomes an LBPD (Little Black Patterned Dress). It’s still a blank slate, just more interesting. But I don’t just call it good there; I add more. It’s like the white box challenge for the HGTV Design star….build on it. Add layers of interest with color, texture, and razzle-dazzle (or shine), as Stacey and Clinton (gods of What not to Wear) have shouted again and again. If you walk into a cupcake shop, do you buy a plain chocolate (or plain vanilla) cupcake without any frosting? I bet you my in-utero baby that answer’s a ‘no’. Of course you don’t! Why? Because that would be boring. And you deserve better than boring. You add to it, choosing your favorite flavor, perhaps a colored frosting, toppings…making it ultimately more delicious and interesting to your taste buds, in other words, more YOU. Dressing your body deserves the same consideration as your taste buds. Don’t you think?
My personal advice is if you happen to own a great LBD with a flattering shape, that’s good quality, doesn’t reveal too much of what your mama gave you, and has proven versatility, I would keep it….but only if you could spit and shake on a promise to gussy it up and show you know you’re better than a plain cupcake.
What’s your solution to the LBD? Do you own one? Has it proven it’s versatility by being styled differently each time you wear it? Or do you have an LCD (little colorfied dress) that stands in for more “formal” functions instead of black? Or, do you subscribe to the LBPD line of thought?