Since French fashion designer Coco Chanel introduced the little black dress in 1926, it has become a clothing staple for women worldwide. Its simplicity is what women find attractive because the knee-length dress is so easy to accessorize, said Lori Boyd, owner of Shoe Candy, a designer shoe boutique near Hamilton Place mall.
Pairing animalprint stilettos and a matching handbag with a simple black dress is an ideal ensemble for a cocktail party, she said.
“It makes the outfit come together,” Ms. Boyd said.
Katrina Craven, marketing director at Hunter Museum of American Art, said the little black dress has been the “epitome of chic” for her since she first saw Audrey Hepburn wear one in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
“It’s such a universal garment,” Ms. Craven said. “You can find one to fit any shape, size, personality and budget; it’s appropriate attire for so many occasions, and you can really make it your own with different accessories.
“I love to see a woman give the little black dress her own personal stamp, whether she wears it with high-end or low-end jewelry or with stilettos or combat boots.
Ms. Craven said she has several little black dresses in a variety of styles, including a couple of vintage dresses. “One is a dress my aunt bought to take on her honeymoon back in 1969. That dress is so timeless in its style, and (it) is incredibly well-made. It has been passed around the family for years,” she said.
Courtney Gravett, manager of Francesca’s Collections, a women’s fashion boutique in East Brainerd, said every woman should own a little black dress.
“Women of all ages and sizes can find a black dress that will look good on them,” she said, noting that older women will go for the more fitted dress while younger women favor strappy, slinky styles.
“We carry black dresses year-round. It’s a fashion that you can wear with a jacket during the day and with cocktail jewelry into the evening,” Ms. Gravett said.
And you don’t have to break the bank to purchase a little black dress, she said. “Our prices range from around $28 to $55.”
COCO CHANEL’S LITTLE BLACK DRESS
“In 1926, American Vogue likened (fashion designer) Chanel’s little black dress to the Ford, alluding to its almost universal popularity as a fashion basic. The concept of the dress suitable for day and evening did become both a staple for Chanel throughout subsequent seasons and a classic piece of 20th-century women’s wear.”
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...