Tag Archives: Fashion Advice

Fashion Lesson #32: What To Wear To A Wedding

It’s springtime, love is in the air and you have been invited to a half a dozen weddings this summer.  So what do you wear without breaking your budget?

Today’s Fashion Lesson will illustrates how to use some basics that you may already have in your closet to create a new look, without spending loads of money.  Best of all, all of the looks will be based on your specific body shape.

To make things easier for you, I have included all the shopping information for each of my examples.  There’s no need to stress out searching for your outfit, just click on the links and start shopping!  Oh, one other thing to note, you may click on the underlined link for each body shape for more information pertaining on how to dress your particular body shape. 

Ok here we go…

Pear

These simple strapless dresses on sale for $38.46 at NY & Company are so inexpensive you could buy two.  This may be a good idea if you are going to more than one wedding with the same group of people.  You can mix and match the necklace and the bracelet with either dress, but do NOT wear them together.  There would be just a little too much sparkle with the two accessories and the sequin shoes.

I am not a fan of the black belt that comes with this dress, so I layered two pink belts from Target instead.  If you really must wear earrings, I would choose a pair of diamond studs; but with all that bling from the bracelet or necklace, earrings are not necessary.

Pear Wedding

NYandCompany.com, City Style Strapless Dress, black, Heartthrob pink; Target.com, neon pink belt; Forever21.com, mixed stone bracelet, Necklace; NineWest.com, Udell black pumps.

 

Apple

I love this gown.  I have two weddings to attend this summer and being an apple myself, I just may buy this dress.  The empire waist pulls you in at just the right spot to give you the appearance of a tiny waist and the long length is not only slimming, but will make you look taller.

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OPTION 1: Macys.com, black gown, Lauren Ralph Lauren glass pearl necklace (two strands), Guess gold sandals

OPTION 2: Target, black clutch; Macys.com, red Nina evening sandals; JCP.com, silver bracelet, red bangle

 

Hourglass

The girls I most envy—you hourglass gals.  This polka-dot dress will be sure to give you just the right amount of attention without bride envy.  One thing that you may already have in your closet is a pashmina.  If you have several weddings to attend, switch up the colors you wear to give the dress a different look.  The shoes illustrated below are an absolute steal for $19.99 at Payless!

Hourglass Wedding

Nordstrom.com, Maggie London polka dot dress; ThePashminaStore.com, yellow silk pashmina, peacock blue pashmina; hot pink pashmina; Payless.com, Jane T-Strap Sandal; Cusp.com, Amrita Floral Cuff

 

Enjoy your special occasions and have a wonderful Memorial Weekend!

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Filed under Apple Shape, Fashion Lesson, Hourglass Shape, Pear Shape

Fashion Lesson #21: Picks For Your Shape at NY Fashion Week S/S 2009

Now that Fashion Week in New York is wrapping up, I thought it would be interesting to use some of the pieces from the shows and match them to a respective body type.  So for this Fashion Lesson, let’s all pretend that we have well toned and fit bodies for our corresponding body shape category.  After all, Fashion Week doles out a liberal dose of fantasy, so why not just pretend?

(click on images for source and designer information)

Apple

The main objective for the Apple shape is to camouflage the tummy without sacrificing a feminine shape.  Pockets on the hips also helps to make the waist appear smaller.  I do not endorse the knee high nylons with this look from G-Star, but the jacket really appeals to me.

I also chose the gray and orange ombre dress for the figure flattering drape and the beautiful illusion of a dress on fire.  The flesh toned dress to the left of this photo is a great example of creating a proportioned body shape with beadwork.  In addition, I like it for an Apple Shape because of the V-neck.  Many Apple shaped women have a large bust and need to break up the voluminous appearance of their bust.

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Straight

With a straight figure, you want to create an hourglass shape.  The examples below do just that.  One easy way of doing this is to add a belt to your coat or sweater this season.

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Hourglass

One of the most envied body shapes on the spectrum, the job of the Hourglass is to show off those amazing curves!  Be sure to choose a garment that defines your waist, but is not too tight everywhere else, unless you look like the model in the Hervé Léger by Max Azria dress.

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Pear

The Pear woman shares some of the traits of an hourglass, but she needs to make sure that her shoulders are well defined to balance out her hips.  I know the Oscar de la Renta outfit is a repeat for me, but I think it is a lovely example for a pear shaped woman.  The top enhances the waist, adds definition to the shoulders with the geometric piping and the pants are nice and loose at the hips without sacrificing a feminine shape.

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If you have any suggestions for future Fashion Lessons, be sure to write me or leave a comment!

Photo Source: Style.com

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Filed under Apple Shape, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Week, Metro Detroit, New York City, Pear Shape, personal shopper, runway, straight shape, Trends

Fashion Lesson # 20: First Impression in 1/10 of a Second

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For today’s Fashion Lesson, I wanted to share with you a fascinating and eyebrow raising book that I have been reading, The Power of Body Language by Tonya Reiman.  Ms. Reiman is a renowned body language expert, consultant, motivational speaker and appears weekly on The O’Reilly Factor. 

In her book, she explains the power of our body language in social relationships (romantic or otherwise) and business interactions along with the silent power they hold over our success and happiness.

While I found some of her supporting research to be somewhat controversial, it certainly grabs your attention and provokes you to think twice about what sort of messages you may be sending out unexpectedly.

First Impressions

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According to Ms. Reiman, others make their judgments of us within 1/10 of a second upon meeting usOne tenth of a second?  That’s less than the time we can bat an eye lash or flash a smile!

Which brings me to the focus of our Fashion Lesson for today.  If others make judgements of us this quickly, we have some preparation to do before, we have a chance to make our first impression.

The Top Ten Things That Turn Them Off Immediately 

(There are seventeen in the book, but I don’t want to infringe on her book rights, so I’ll let you get the book to see them all.)

  1. Scratching your head
  2. Nervously biting your lips
  3. Raising your eyebrows incredulously
  4. Shifting in your seat
  5. Crossing arms or otherwise displaying superior, conceited, or overbearing body signals
  6. Looking distracted and losing concentration or attention
  7. Looking down or avoiding eye contact
  8. Standing rigidly in place
  9. Keeping your hands in your pockets
  10. Not using any hand gestures

The Secrets To A Favorable “Snap Judgement”

Gather Information

Before an interview or social engagement, do a little legwork.  Find out what the dress code is for the company you are interviewing with.  If you can, try to find any personal bias’ the interviewer may have.  As we saw with The Great Debate: Wear or Go Bare, some managers still expect women to wear hose.  You wouldn’t want that to get between you and your dream job.

 

 

Also, if you are going to a social engagement, find out what the dress code will be.  You want people to notice you, not to be distracted by your inappropriate wardrobe choice.  Reiman also suggests women wear an outfit that exposes the “Suprasteral Notch” which is the area between your collar bones. 

If you want to flirt with someone, she recommends lightly touch this area to express your openness, not to mention call attention to your attractiveness. 

(Be sure to check out her Body Signal suggestions for further information on successful techniques in flirting.)

Lose Weight

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Unfortunately there is a very strong cultural bias toward our appearance and weight, especially that of women.  Tonya encourages us to reduce that bias and lose the weight once and for all. 

She backs that assertion with the following statistics:

“In 1993, a landmark Harvard study found that overweight women earn an average of $6,710 less a year than women who are not overweight-and that was 15 years ago!  Newer research has found that larger women earn at least 12 percent less than thinner women who have the same qualifications.

The Harvard study also found that obese women are 20 percent less likely and obese men are 11 percent less likely to get married than thinner people.”

(Easier said than done.  Even after having my mouth wired shut for weeks, I have yet to lose that last 10 pounds. But I’ll keep trying!)

Baby Got Back

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In her book, Reiman encourages women to wear clothing that calls attention to their bottom.  Most of us may be thinking that this is one of the last places that I want to show off, and I would agree with you.  I have one of the flattest bottoms on earth.  Who wants to see that?

But, in an equally surprising and interesting assertion Reiman notes that, “A round derriere is a powerful subconscious reminder of the rear-entry sex preferred by most primates.”

Shocking?! Yes.

Is this why your male colleagues seemed to take you seriously when you wore you latest tailored suit?  Maybe. 

Honestly, this is all too much for me to think about.

I think Reiman’s point is “show off your best assets”, but in a very subtle way.

She goes on to say that “overt sexual overtones are likely to damage your credibility in all situations other than a bar.”

So what is her fashion advice? 

To wear impeccable suits tailored to your proportions in blue, black or gray and wear a button-down shirt to once again show off the neck dimple (the open area gives an appearance of vulnerability, warmth and an air of openness minus the heaving bosoms.)

I cannot stress to you enough, that the point here is not to dress sexy.  Tonya suggests one aims for a suit or blouse and skirt that gives the illusion of a hip-waist ratio of 0.7.  According to Reiman, this will project an image of health and confidence which will translate into a strong work ethic for a prospective company.

Try to look taller.

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If you’re short wear heels.  According to research, every inch translates into 1-2 percent of higher income.

Choose your accessories sparingly.

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You want the focus on you and your personality if meeting someone socially for the first time.  Likewise when interviewing, you want the interviewer focusing on your ideas, not your twenty bangles clanging away each time you make a point using hand gestures.

In another bit of controversial advice, Reiman suggests that engaged women leave the ring at home.  She feels that a female interviewer may feel threatened because of it. 

(As a side note, I once had a interview with a woman who told me that she would still hire me even though I was involved in a serious relationship and of childbearing age.)

Groom as if you care, but not as if you’re obsessed.

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The point here is to pay attention to the details; clean hands, fingernails (no chipped polish) and clean teeth.  Also, pay attention to any strange facial hair that may arise.  That includes nose hair.  You know who you are. 

Use neutral makeup, even on your lips.

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You may love to look like one of those Merle Norman makeup models, but hold off for that first meeting.  Better yet, go in for a make up consultation and learn how to get it right.

Are you ready for her research on this one?

She cites a study of 136 people who felt that women whose makeup was “invisible” to be more qualified for a position and recommended a higher salary than those with the painted on faces.

Here’s where the research gets juicy.

Reiman warns against wearing red lipstick to an interview because according to anthropological studies, men equate it with that certain lady part during arousal.  (Where does she get this stuff?)  She goes on to say that you can get the same enticing effect with more subtleties by wearing colored lip gloss (re: glistening) without being so overt.

Perfume and cologne should be applied very lightly if at all.

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According to research, your natural smell elicits a more positive response (assuming you shower each day) from both men and women at a first meeting, rather than a strong dose of Obsession cologne.

Reiman also brought up an interesting point involving memory recall in association to certain scents.  Let’s say you decided to wear that Obsession to the interview.  When you walk in to said interview the scent recalls a painful memory of a bad breakup with the interviewer.  This may not occur to the person consciously, but may impact the way this person perceives you nonetheless.

Be conservative with your hair.

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Today is not the day to show off your new hairstyle.  Keep it neat, conservative or up.

(By the way, that was the most conservative looking woman that I could think of.)

I hope you found this information interesting and useful.  I highly encourage you to stop in to your local bookstore or library to check this book out for yourself.

Reiman provides some other very interesting and useful information pertaining to body language that I think anyone would find beneficial.

Be sure to also check out her website for more information and tips.

Photo Sources: Click on each image

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Filed under books, Business, controversial, dating, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, fit, Hair, Love

InStyle- New Style Rules

I keep hearing that there aren’t any “rules” when it comes to fashion by various writers.  So it piqued my interest when I received an e-mail from InStyle Magazine, sharing the “New Style Rules” for fall.

After reading their “Rules”, I decided to review them here on Fashion Sensei with my own viewpoints.  I welcome your comments and impressions on my opinion and InStyle’s. 

Let Your Roots Show

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InStyle encourages us to leave about one inch of our natural color, but with this caveat, they must be within a few shade of the dyed hue.  So no sporting black roots with blond hair.  That just looks a little too trashy.  Follow gal pals and trend setters, Madge and Gwyneth Paltrow instead.

Stay in Sandals

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As with last year, it is still acceptable to wear open toe shoes and even sandals with opaque tights. 

I agree with this with one monition. If you live in a warmer climate in the winter months, you can sport this look all season long.  However, if you live in a cooler climate like Michigan, tuck away those sandals and open toe darlings until the thaw sets in. 

There is nothing sillier than salt stains on the tips of your tights.  This may be common sense for some, but inevitably I see some young fashionista making the aforementioned faux pas.

Grow Out Your Hair At 40

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I advised this suggestion in Fashion Lesson #16  Forty and Fabulous.  I do not see any reason why a woman who takes good care of herself should limit herself to short tresses.  I will reiterate that if you have long hair at this age, keep your cut and color maintained and try to avoid the “frosted” or over highlighted look as you start to gray.  Your stylist can assist you in maintaining a natural look. 

One other tip,  bring in a picture of yourself as a child to illustrate your natural color.  It may have been decades since you have seen your original foundation, and a youthful picture can help in reduce the signs of aging.

Go Sleeveless

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Ok, first lets look at InStyle’s poster girl Sara Jessica Parker.  If you have arms like SJP, then I say go for it.  But if you tend to have overly skinny, jiggly or heavy arms, ignore this style rule.  You can modify this rule with short sleeves that flatter your individual physique.

Don’t Match Your Stocking To Your Shoes

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I consider this to be quite a precarious rule and to be followed with extreme caution.  It is very easy to look like a mismatched clown. 

I highly advise that the multi-colored look be left to ladies under 25.  Also, skip the crazy blue raccoon eyes.  Enjoy Fall’s gem tones in moderation.

Pick A Print That Makes You Look Slimmer

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I love this tip!  With all the patterned blouses and dresses to choose from, this is an easy rule to follow.  Look for patterns that enhance your figure such as contrasting panels or prints that slim your waist and ruffles that add proportion.

Let Your Brows Grow Natural

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Gone are the days when overly arched, drawn in eyebrows are acceptable.  When going for this look, be sure to only allow enough growth that your features can handle. 

Consider Brooke Shields, she is a tall woman with very strong features.  She has a face that can handle such dominant brows. 

Conversely, if you are petite and have fine features, work with your anesthetist to see how full of a brow your face can manage without looking too masculine.

This doesn’t mean that you should just let them grow wild.  Be sure to keep your brows neat and shaped if you are doing this on your own.

Swap Your Skinny Jeans For Pleated Trousers

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This look has been captured in countless shots by the Sartorialist this past fall.  It also dominated the runway this past winter during fall Fashion Week. 

Here, you see Naomi Campbell donning the cropped pleated trousers.  InStyle claims that these pants have a lower waist, but I’m not seeing it. 

These pants are meant for skinny girls only.  Anything over size 4 or 6, may want to reconsider.  They are just not flattering for the masses.

Wear Horizontal Stripes On Top

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When I see Mariah Carey as the poster girl for any trend, I run away screaming.  Come on, look at this picture of her!  She’s not even wearing pants. 

On the positive side, if you are a slim curvy girl, you can get away with this look.  Just please lower the hem of your dress or put on some pants.

To see more InStyle Rules click here for the full list.  Be sure to come back and weigh in on their advice!

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Filed under Accessories, Aging, Beauty, blogging, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Sensei, Magazines, Metro Detroit, Photography, pop culture, retail, runway, Style, Trends

Mad About Mad Men

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If you haven’t tuned in to Mad Men on AMC, you’re missing out.  Mad Men is set in the 1960’s at a fiercely competitive Madison Avenue advertising agency in New York City.  From the onset, one can’t help but be a little surprised by the dynamic of the men and women depicted during this era.  The men run around like dogs in heat and the secretaries are subjugated to sexual toys for their male counterpart’s amusement.  But it’s so much fun to watch!

While Mad Men is overtly politically incorrect by today’s standards, I’m fascinated by the complex characters, each of whom seems to be harboring an unethical secret of their own. 

Holding true to the time period, pregnant mothers are seen smoking and drinking, unseatbelted children climb from the back to front seats while their mother is driving and smoking cigarettes reign supreme.  It was this sort of behavior so acceptable to that era, that will have you asking yourself, “What are we doing now that will be considered so deplorable in 40 years?”  It certainly gets you thinking.

For the fashion lovers out there, you will not be disappointed.  Fantastic full skirts with petticoats, perfectly coiffured hair and sweater sets, all hide the dirty secrets that lie beneath; suffocating girdles, garters and the pointed bra.  And we complain about panty hose…

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Then there is the antithesis of the prim house wife and office girl; the bohemian artist…

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After one season, this show has already made a big impact on fashion.  Michael Kors unveiled his Mad Men inspired Fall line this week with the following looks.

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Don’t forget that if you are going to wear one of the above form fitting dresses like that little purple number, you must wear some sort of shapeware.  My only exception would be if you are a size 2 and are absolutely without cellulite.  Proper foundation will give you a killer, smooth silhouette.

If you haven’t caught an episode of this fantastic show yet, it’s not too late.  Season one is out on DVD (and On Demand for you Comcast subscribers) and Season 2 is now underway (you have only missed one new episode).  The show is on AMC on Sunday nights.

Light up a cigarette, pour yourself an Old Fashioned and enjoy!

 

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Fashion Lesson #18 "Closet Control"

I am reading an interesting book by Barbra Horowitz entitled “Closet Control“. It discusses techniques on how to edit your wardrobe, arrange your closet and turn old treasures into new.

Barbra starts her book introducing readers to her three wardrobe philosophies: Eco-Selfish, Sweaters In Your Head and Small Space, Big Dreams.

First, she defines Eco-Selfish as “…working with what you have rather than constantly buying more”.  Readers are encouraged to renew old items by having them tailored in a different way (i.e. sleeves cut or dress shortened into a top) or by shrinking or dying old pieces.

Ms. Horowitz is known for her interesting techniques in cutting old t-shirts into a new designs.  Below, is a video demonstrating how she reconstructs a new T-Shirt.

I’m not exactly sure about that T-Shirt for me, but she does have some other interesting designs in her book.  One useful tip that I did walk away with, was to not be afraid to cut off the bottom of my T-Shirts.  I have an extra long shirt that was really popular about two years ago, but now looks a little dated.  I cut off the bottom and pulled it so the edge rolled (to hide my uneven cutting) and now it looks great.  Now that I think about it, I have another really cute shirt tucked away that I could use this same technique on.

The Second philosophy she discusses is Sweaters In Your Head.  In her book, she relays an encounter with one of her clients who remarked, “It’s hard to let go of that sweater in your head”, referring to the struggle we all have in purging old items that have a story or represent a meaningful period in our lives.

Barbra’s solution is to either re-work the old garment in a new way by re-tailoring, cutting, dying or shrinking it; or to re-sell or donate it when possible.

For most people I work with, I think that letting go of an old wardrobe is very difficult.  However, giving away a garment go doesn’t mean that you are letting go of a memory, it simply allows you more room in your closet for more.

Moreover, how many times have you looked in your closet and said to yourself, I don’t have anything to wear?  The truth is, you may not, so it’s time to purge.

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Which brings me to the last of Barbra’s philosophies Small Space, Big Dreams.  With this philosophy, she urges us to keep our “wardrobes lean and light.”

How many times have you walked into your closet and felt overwhelmed by the disorganization and the sheer volume of your wardrobe?  Many times we wear a select number of pieces and ignore the rest.  Barbra purges her closet 4 times a year (once for each season) and either donates or resells her clothing. 

If it has been a long time since you have purged your closet, you may have a very large donate pile due to all of your dated pieces.  But, with regular editing, the resell pile will become larger and you will have more money to re-invest in your current wardrobe.  Further, I agree with Barbra that one should not hold on to items older than three years.

When it comes time to break free from your old wardrobe and create room for your new abundance, Barbra has the following “Closet Commandments”:

  1. Remove everything from the closet.
  2. Clean the space-don’t be afraid to use a little elbow grease!
  3. Paint the space (optional, of course, but worth the effort).
  4. Plan how you will fill the space-grab a pen and paper and start diagramming.
  5. Purchase storage and organizing pieces.
  6. Put everything back.

If you are looking for some great ideas on how to maximize space in your closet, click here for some inspiring illustrations.

Finally, in reading “Closet Control”, I felt that Barbra had several interesting ideas and is well worth the time to read.  Her philosophy may give you that gentle nudge you have needed to pay attention to your closet and its contents.

To read more about this book or purchase it, click here.  Don’t forget that you can also pick this book up from your local library (I did).

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Fashion Lesson #17 The 411 On The LBD

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Last week I was asked to write a piece about the Little Black Dress.  A staple in any woman’s closet, The Little Black Dress has an interesting history involving icons, war, “Sex” and even safety pins.  The Little Black Dress first originated in 1926 with Coco Chanel.  The first archetype was silk, calf-length, straight, and decorated only by a few diagonal pin-tucks as decoration.  American Vogue dubbed it the Chanel “Model T”, because like the original automobile, it was simple and accessible for woman in various social classes. Vogue further predicted that the LBD would become “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.”

200px-Breakfast_at_TiffanysInterestingly, prior to the 1920’s the color black was only for women in mourning.  However, due to the number of fatalities in WWI, in addition to the overwhelming fatalities during the Spanish flu epidemic, it became more common for women to appear in public wearing black.

With help from Hollywood, (black was the color of choice for film making during this period as the color would not be distorted on the infant technicolor film), the LBD grew in popularity.  Further more, during World War II, when women began entering the workforce, and a widespread rationing of textiles existed, the Little Black Dress became the uniform of choice for the new legion of civilian working women (with accessories of course).tatiana1

In 1961, Hubert de Givenchy inspired women with his sexy black sheath dress worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“.  Then after a decade of sparkle and sequins in the 1970’s disco era, the LBD experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1980’s.  Remember Tatiana Thumbtzen in Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” video?  I wanted nothing more as a teenager than to look like that in the fashionable tube dress.

b5c6c2f012048903337307In the 1990’s where grunge and heroine chic ruled, Elizabeth Hurley’s famous safety pin Versace gown dazzled us while she escorted then boyfriend Hugh Grant.  Closing out that decade, the gals from Sex And the City personified the LBD and how woman wore them.

After a fall from grace with certain designers at the start of the millennium, the color black ruled the runway for Fall 2008.  Be it the bleak economic out look, or a newfound appreciation for the Little Black Dress, they’re here to stay.

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Per Nothing Fancy’s request, I have some LBD’s for your consideration. 

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Source: Wikipedia; The Little Black Dress by Jenna Wallis; click on images for photo sources

Related Articles: Vintage Textile; Black Magic People.com;

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