A versatile dress in a neutral color is regarded as a wardrobe necessity to many. It doesn’t have to be black, it can be any color, but it must be easy to dress up and down. Finding the elusive black dress, the one and only, for all occasions has turned out to be more than difficult. In real life, you might need at least a couple of different versions if you live in a four seasons climate, like me.
This year I’ve hardly worn dresses at all, which is part of the reason why I didn’t finish this part of my 20/21 challenge in time for Christmas. My original plan was to sew a couple of dresses in December to wear in family gatherings and such. Parties were of course out of the question this winter.
I did manage to sew three dresses last winter and spring, and this small collection seems to be all I need for most activities: work, family dinners, seeing friends when we can. Maybe even an occasional restaurant visit, too.
From left: The Pema dress (Ose Patterns) in black viscose crepe, the Elsa dress (Mönsterfabriken) in dark purple/black patterned viscose twill and the Camber set dress (Merchant & Mills) in wool double weave.
Coco Chanel is attributed with introducing the LBD as high fashion. Black dresses were worn way earlier, but then as a symbol of mourning. Chanel reinvented the black dress by simplifying the shape, ditching the corset and the excess. What remained was a simple, elegant and modern dress, suitable for twentieth century women.
The little black dress was a wardrobe staple of the twentieth century woman’s wardrobe. Will it keep up its status throughout the twenty-first century, too? It might very well happen, but probably not without some updating. It has truly ventured out of its original polished and dressy corner, and I hope it keeps its new territory!
A dress can be worn at any occasion, that’s old. My grandmother exclusively wore dresses and skirts every day, except when she went for berry-picking in the wood. What’s new is that these days, you can wear almost any dress at any occasion, depending on the stylings. A wedding I attended last month served to prove my point – long floral dresses, short dresses, casual, formal, trousers, fluid, body conscious in bright, soft or bold colors – the guests wore a wide spectrum of styles, and they all looked fabulous and perfectly appropriate. The bride herself wore a fitted jumpsuit and looked like a movie star. Marvelous! I love this part about our day and age, that we can feel free to wear what we like most of the time.
Still: The little black dress (or the equivalent in your closet) is the dependable dress that always gets you out of trouble. You can accessorize it for any occasion, it goes with everything and anyone, and it has been consistently popular for about 100 years. That’s a modern classic if there ever was one.
After a long break from sewing over the summer, I made a fourth black dress when I came home, the Cissy dress (Homer+Howells) in black linen/tencel slub. I haven’t had the time or mood for neither blogging or sewing lately, but I will return to it eventually. When I do, I will post more details about Cissy, too. Cissy has been worn frequently during August as it is perfect for going back to working in an actual office and for the gorgeous, warm and dry weather we have been enjoying. Come autumn, I will wear it with tights, boots and a scarf. This is a modern take on the LBD, in my opinion. Comfortable, unrestricted, casual and it lends itself to many types of accessories and layering all year round.
Now I have black dresses for all seasons and occasions. I’m confident that the coming months will be a lot more social than last year, and so I’ll give those dresses a twirl, one after the other.