Little black dress: An iconic milestone


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If you look around the dance floor at winter formal, you will see almost every girl wearing a little black dress.

For many girls, getting ready for formal is a long process with picking out the perfect dress and doing their hair and makeup. Girls want to look stunning the night of formal.

The little black dress has been a timeless fashion staple. One can buy a high-end black dress from designer brands like Armani Exchange or Guess, or an affordable black dress from stores like Forever 21 and H&M. Some girls have found black dresses to be classy, flattering and make their figure look slimmer.

A black dress can be worn to a formal event or during the day depending on the cut of the dress and how one styles it. For example, one can accessorize their black dress to a formal event with some sparkly jewelry and high heels. Another alternative is for one to wear a black dress during the day with a cardigan and sandals.

According to “Little Black Dress Transcends Fashion” by Cynthia Nellis, black dresses were not always worn to formal events. Before the 1920s, black dresses were worn only when one was mourning. Many women considered it unacceptable to wear them in other circumstances, until Chanel released a photo of a simple short black dress in Vogue Magazine. After the photo release, the popularity of the dress boomed because of its simplicity and its sophistication.

Sophomore Anna Shutovska said, “[Black dresses] are simple yet they look good on anyone. They are also easy to accessorize with.”

In the 1950’s, Dior released a new look, portraying black dresses as “dangerous.” The craze for black dresses continued as women began seeing other females on television wearing them in various styles and designs in contrast to the conservative look.

Sophomore Sydney Salzman added, “I personally think it’s fun to dress up in fancy clothes, but there are limits. In the context of winter formal, the ‘little black dress’ is very common and in most cases classy, but when the dress gets too little, it loses its class.”

One of the most famous black dresses was worn by Audrey Hepburn in her famous movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which showed in 1961.  She paired the dress with a pearl necklace and black elbow length gloves. The dress was a floor length sleeveless dress. Hepburn wore a shorter black dress in the film similar to this one. The long black dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and auctioned off for £467,200 ($923,187). According to Shine from Yahoo, this dress is one of the top 10 most iconic dresses of the past 50 years.

Some students find black dresses the easiest to accessorize and offer a variety of designs.

Emma Lin, a sophomore said, “[People wear them] because they are slimming and there are just better black dresses out there. Some are really cool with cutouts or lace and some colored dresses don’t have that.”

Shutovska believes that although black may be flattering to all shapes and sizes, colored dresses are more original. At formal, girls end up wearing similar styles of black dresses because some share the same perception of the black dress as a formal look.

Shutovska added, “Many people wear black dresses, so it’s not very original. Whereas with a colored dress, it’s less likely to find someone with a similar dress.”

However, some people believe that black dresses can be worn inappropriately and aren’t always considered classier than dresses of colors.
Angela Perez, a junior at Carlmont, believes that one should choose their dress that is fit for their personality and style.

Perez noted, “I don’t really have a preference because I think what really matters is the style of the dress and what sort of formal event it is you’re going to. You also want to keep in mind how old you are. You wouldn’t want to look too mature for your age, that’s not always a good thing.”

Although the little black dress can look classy, some believe that these dresses can be too short and revealing at times.

“Some people are conservative about it while others are not. The way you wear it and the type of dress makes a difference,” noted sophomore Ravina Gujral.

With many young girls and women favoring the sophisticated yet affordable look of the little black dress, this dress will continue to be a timeless favorite for it’s elegance and simplicity.

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