Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Little Black Dress Must Die

I know, I know, I already published it. But I had to remove this article because of some freaky code problem, and I want it to be in the blog. So here we go again:

Say bye-bye to the immortal classic

It’s time to desecrate some shrines, ladies. Since we are lucky to live at the beginning of a century, it’s our great mission to create new standards and build new stereotypes for generation to come. For we are going forward and no old clich├ęs shall stand on our way. Today I want to dethrone her majesty Little Black Dress. Is it really so fabulous and almighty?

«Every woman should own a simple, elegant black dress»? Come on! These days we’ll be lucky if every woman owns a pair of panties, all the more a special type of dress.

“It can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion”? Get out of here. There is only one occasion, screaming for a black dress, and it is a funeral.

“It is a no-fail option”? In your dreams! For most women it is all-fail option: starting with a notorious “simple and elegant” cut and ending with this absence-of-color.

If you just think for a moment you’ll realize: there is nothing good about it! Black is actually a very difficult color to wear. Only those with flawless skin and radiant complexion look good in black. Black makes an average working girl look dull and unhealthy. Again, a fitted silhouette requires a slim figure, otherwise you just think you look like Audry Hapburn when what other people see is Betty Boo.

LBD is captious and makes you look bad. If it was a person you wouldn’t make it your friend. But the most important thing: it is so boring and lacking of individuality. LBD is a uniform for women without imagination. It says “I have no clue how to dress myself and frankly I don’t want to learn, because it involves risk and I am a coward”. If you wear one to the party, the chances are there will be a whole bunch of single gals of your age in LBDs, looking like sad clones, mourning for good old days when they still had hope. LBD is a safety net for fashion cripples an urban camouflage for dating veterans.

So, why do we long for it? What is so special about it? Why does this simple black jersey dress became a fashion fetish and gained a reputation of an everlasting classic?

At the beginning, LBD wasn’t classic, it was hip. Can you imagine how daring it was at that time – to dress women in black for the work and for the party? The significant, tabooed color of mourning became a color of edgy socialites. This was a stroke of genius. Well, it was 1926. Get over it!

The fabric also was totally innovative. Before Chanel people didn’t flaunt in jersey outside the bedroom. It was an underwear fabric, and the idea of making a cocktail dress out of it was not only unorthodox, it was choking. But it does not look so choking now, does it? I bet you have a number of nice little things made from a fine knitted fabric, similar to what your lingerie made of, may be even a dress or two.

Actually, most of the contemporary LBDs are made of anything, but jersey. And usually they are quite decorated: we can’t stand an original faceless design and add some thingies and blingies here and there. So, technically your contemporary LBD is just a pallid imitation of genuine Chanel creation, not the classic thing, not even its progeny, but just a hi-tech replica, like artificial pearls, that you wear with it.

And why oh why we still call it “little”? It covers the knees, for god sake! Did you ever see a “normal” size dresses nowadays? You can make three of them from the original “Ford dress”.

Now, it’s not so little. It is usually made from different fabric. And there is nothing special about the fact it’s black. Wake up and smell Chanel №5: it’s just some dull dress of neutral color you keep in the closet in a case of going-out emergency. It is a fashion dinosaur, a steamboat with ragged paddlewheels, suitable only for a museum or a theme park. It was a long run. A good run. Now it’s time to retire.

So, next time you are getting ready, don’t do LBD, but try something fun and fresh. Wear patterns, wear some cute separates, wear vintage pre-Chanel things, wear a classic man’s suit with no top or bra underneath, but don’t take the same road again. There are no treasures left there.

Same thing happened to other great fashion favorites. For example, powdered wigs, which were worn through XVIII century, looked indispensable. But at the beginning of XIX century people just stopped wearing them, and thank God, because wigs became a nice sanctuary for louses and fleas.


  1. I have linked this in my blog. Every girl on the planet should be informed.