The next time you're in a panic over what to wear to an event, turn to one of the most classic and versatile wardrobe staples -- the little black dress.
"The little black dress has long been a timeless icon of style within our popular culture," says Roberta Lacey, director of communications and image development at Avon Canada.
But with so many choices of styles and fabrics on the market, where do you begin when looking for that essential wardrobe item? Here are a few tips to get you started on shopping for the perfect frock.
Where to start
• Assess what types of functions you attend most.
• Remember that the right style and accessories can make your dress suitable for both day and evening.
• If you plan to get as much wear as possible out of your dress, you'll want something that will not be outdated in a year, that washes well and that transcends the different seasons.
What style should I buy?
"One thing you learn as you're trying to look your best is to accentuate your most positive features," explains Peter Duck, professor at the school of fashion at Ryerson University. Women want to look for a dress that is right for the proportions of their body.
Lacey looks for classic lines and small details that make the dress unique. She'll look at the design itself before checking the label for a specific designer. Most women will agree with Lacey that a knee-length dress is the most versatile length if you want it to serve as a multi-occasion garment.
Where to wear it
Right now anything goes, says Duck. You will find some people dressed for the theatre in extremely formal attire while others are in jeans. You have to assess what type of event you're going to.
But in most cases nowadays, you can wear a long or short black dress to any function. "You as an individual have to be confident to wear whatever you feel comfortable in to an event, " advises Duck.
Lacey will wear her little black dress to work with a jacket. She explains that different accessories pull an outfit together to determine whether it's for daytime or nighttime. Pearls are a classic look that can be worn everywhere but she also likes to pair the dress with unusual accessories like beads -- a hint of something unpredictable.
Look for comfortable fabrics that will let your skin breathe. Duck considers designers lucky these days because there are a lot of new man-made fibres out there that are unique and easy to care for.
Some are more expensive than others. You have synthetics that look like silk and brocade, faux suedes and pleather. Some of these new materials can give your dress an edge -- and many of them look like the real thing.
What you choose to spend on your little black dress is ultimately up to you. However, considering the wear you can get out of this versatile piece, it is a sound investment.
Page 1 of 1