28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things: Day 2 – Own a True LBD

02/02/2011 § 2 Comments

**QC’s 28 Days**
In February I will be bringing you daily tips
to cultivate more classiness and fabulousness in daily life!

Drawing of the “Ford” dress by Chanel (1926) © Chanel/Courtesy Vogue Paris
Via MOMUBlog

Day 2: Own a True LBD
The origin of the Little Black Dress, or “LBD,” is usually attributed to Coco Chanel’s 1926 illustration for American Vogue of a simple black sheath.  Revolutionary for the time because black was a color generally reserved for clothes worn while in mourning, Vogue christened the design “Chanel’s Ford” and touted it as a universal design — accessible elegance for all women regardless of their social standing or bank account.

The LBD is a wardrobe staple, and most women — myself included — usually have a collection of them.  So what is my tip for today, you ask?  When accessing your LBD collection, cast a skeptical eye on your closet.  Do you have at least one black dress that is truly universal – a True LBD?  A dress that is elegant for its simplicity and grace?  Something that you could easily wear to either a wedding or a funeral or a cocktail party or the opera?  A dress that is modest, yet stylish at the same time?  Something you could dress up or down?  Wear to work and a gallery opening afterward?  And lastly, a dress that you actually adore?  When faced with a special event this last summer, I realized that my collection — that I love! — was not of LBDs, but rather of dresses that happened to be black.  Some are strapless, some are elaborately detailed, some are body con, some have plunging necklines, some are rather short, and on and on…  Beautiful, all — but nary a True LBD to be found.

Thus began my quest for a timeless True LBD to add to my wardrobe — something that would never go out of style, never look dated, always look “classy and fabulous.”  After a bit of searching, I somehow found my way to the J. Crew wedding collection, and I found exactly what I was looking for.

J. Crew’s silk tricotine Sophia dress

Marketed as a bridesmaid’s dress, the Sophia comes in a number of colors, fabrics and two lengths (the length shown above and full length).  I favored the silk tricotine because of how nicely it drapes and the fluid way the gown moves when I have it on.  The small gathers at the shoulder adds an elegant detail to the bodice — it’s not too much, doesn’t distract the eye.   The Sophia is a true a-line that hits just below the knee, has a nipped-in waist, is universally flattering and is available in sizes 00 through 16 (also available in petite).  I’ve dressed this dress down with pearl earrings and black pumps, and dressed it up with evening sandals, statement jewels and a red lip.  The fact that this dress is only $165 — and frequently goes on sale — truly gilds the lily!  If you find your closet missing a True LBD, get thee to J. Crew!

J. Crew silk tricotine Sophia dress available here.

Earlier: Quite Continental’s 28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things

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