This Article is About
little black dress
flu pandemic
vogue magazine
first world war
mastermind
wardrobe
The Little Black Dress And Its History
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

You've been invited to a party last minute and you've no idea what your going to wear. You go to your closet, with a mild sense of panic rising, maybe, your thinking 'I just wont go' then you spot it, your fail safe dress. The one you wear, when you just cant think of anything else, the one you wear when you feel crap about yourself, the one you always feel great in. Its a little black dress, isn't it? Of course it is.

Truth be told, I have a closet full of lbd's. Yes, perhaps, I do favour buying black clothing above other colours, but, in reality, ask any woman whether she has a few lbd's and I can guarantee you she will respond with a yes. There is something so classic, so beautiful and elegant about a black dress, it doesn't matter whether you bought it 20 years ago or last week, new or vintage, its a timeless addition to any wardrobe.

So when did the lbd become so popular? There was a time when wearing black was restricted to members of the clergy and people in mourning. If someone close to you or your family had passed away it was common tradition to be seen only in black for a year or longer. It was also considered highly inappropriate to wear the colour black at any other time. (It makes me think in particular,of Scarlett O'Hara, in Gone with the Wind, who absolutely hated her own mourning attire) However, due to the extreme amount of fatalities caused by the first world war, which was quickly followed by 1918 flu pandemic (killing another estimated 75 million) the sight of women in black became the norm and was no longer considered offensive.

Fast forward yourself another couple of years, to the grand old city of Paris, where the world famous couture houses of the day were just getting started. In one of these houses a woman was about to design a break-through item in fashion, it was 1926, and Vogue magazine would quickly pronounce it to be the 'ford' of dresses, it was of course created by the mastermind behind the Chanel empire Gabrielle Bonheur 'Coco' Chanel.

The little black dress was first worn by intellectuals, artists and higher society women, but it's popularity quickly spread across the sea to the Americans, who were eager to be apart of the latest fashions from Paris. By the time the mid 1930's had arrived, an lbd was a solid feature in every single designers collection. The arrival of WWII did not slow down the little black dress.(although it did close down several fashion houses for a number of years including Chanel) Due to the rationing and shortage of materials, many women ended up adjusting the dresses they already owned, often dying them black once the colours had faded. It was both practical and courteous as wearing black was seen as a sign of respect to those at war.

If the war didn't slow down the popularity of the lbd, nothing would and its popularity continued to grow through out the next few decades, perhaps, arriving at its pinnacle in the 1960s, due to the overwhelming amount of lbd's seen on models and film stars, both on and off screen. In 1961 Yves St. Laurent claimed that “Black is the colour for every hour of the day”-and indeed it was.

By the 1980's Karl Lagerfeld had joined Chanel and as a nod to the famous 'ford' dress he ended every show with his favourite model, Ines de la Fressange wearing an lbd. Azzedeine Alaia, Thierry Mugler, and John Paul Gaultier were the newbies in fashion and all featured several lbds in their collection, although I believe Alaia's to be the most desired black dress to own, as he had been christened the 'king of cling” and his lbd's were often worn on women like Madonna, Naomi Campbell and even Grace Jones.

There are many famous 'iconic' images of women in an lbd. The most obvious one that springs to my mind is Audrey Hepburn, wearing Givenchy, in Breakfast at Tiffany's, quickly followed by Elizabeth Hurley in 'that' Versace dress. I also remember Princess Diana's famous lbd moment, the one that made the headlines not long after her split from Charles, (often called her break up dress) designed by Christina Stambolian. The little black dress is simple, classic, and easy to wear. The cut, the design, and type of fabric is all down to personal choice, but I can guarantee that there is 1 (or4) in every woman's wardrobe. The one she runs to when she's in a hurry, when she feels bad in everything else, and when she wants to look fabulous.

Find out more about fashion history at my vintage blog.


Street Talk

I'm relatively new to SA . I like your writing style. I have been in the screen printing and embroidery business tor years and I may be doing some writing in this category . So I am just looking at how its done. Good article, looks like you have done your research. Good job.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
You May Also Like
A Little Black Dress for A Curvy Woman
We all want to look and feel fabulous in our little black dress at the upcoming holiday parties. So, finding the perfect LBD to hug your curves may feel like a daunting task, but if you follow the steps below, you will be turning heads in no time. Here are…
By: heather in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Nov 17, 2011  
1
  Likes: 2

Run DLL Error at Startup: Ugh, The Computer is Doing it Again!
Tap, tap, tap, clunk, scream! Are those the sounds of you logging on to your computer? Have you considered chucking the ghastly machine out the window and being done with it? Perhaps you log on, listen to the machine whir and whir but all you get is a blue screen…
By: Yvonne Kelsinger in  Computers and Technology  >  Personal Tech   Feb 01, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

Who Says You Can’t Wear Jeans After 40 Or Larger Than A Size ‘0’
Jeans look good on anyone, no matter what age. They are clothing classics but you have to be careful to choose the correct style for your body type. However, everyone’s body is different and you may have certain ‘problem’ areas you want to downplay. Taking that into account, jeans’ manufacturers…
By: Louise Cook1 in  Health and Fitness  >  Anti Aging   Aug 08, 2012  
5
  Likes: 3

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Hi my name is Cheryl. I want to tell you a little story about fashion and accessorizing and how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This story is about my son David and his red boots. When my son David was a little over two years old he…
By: Cheryl Grubb in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Dec 08, 2011  
0
  Likes: 3

Essential Pieces Of Unique Handcrafted Jewellery to Have In Your Collection
Putting on a piece of unique handcrafted jewellery as an accessory is the finishing to an outfit and going out and they put the finishing touch to your apparel. There are many beautiful original pieces out there put there are certain items that a woman must have placed in her…
By: Penny1 in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Collectible Jewelry   Apr 06, 2014  
0
  Likes: 0

Summer Dress Code Tips for Women
With summer coming up, who doesn't want to look amazing. Unless you are a fashion guru, you probably are stuck trying to make up your mind what outfits to buy and how to match them. Just tweaking a few things here and there can make gorgeous in minutes. I believe…
By: Racheal .M. in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Jun 05, 2012  
2
  Likes: 0

What to Wear On A First Date
Oh the perils of choosing that first date outfit. You put this top on, take it off and go back to the closet. Over and over and you now have a mound of clothes piled on your bed and still don't know what to wear on a first date. You…
By: robinincarolina in  Relationships  >  Dating   Apr 07, 2011  
0
  Likes: 1

How To Wear Footless Tights In The Winter
This article aims to demonstrate how footless tights can be worn throughout all seasons, namely winter. It is often a common thought that footless tights are only to be worn in summer due to their low denier; however this is not necessarily true. Tights are an essential part of your…
By: Bernadette1 in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Sep 20, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

What Causing A Flu
Flu is a seasonal viral disease threatning seriously the health of human being on epidemic mode essentially in the both seasons fall in winter. Flus is classified as a contagious viral infection and its mode of transmission is throuh droplets containing the flu virus exhalated by the respiratoty apparatus of…
By: kenana in  Health and Fitness  >  Diseases   Aug 09, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Mediterranean Diet Foods - Be Healthy Chic NOT Skinny Sick
Now that summer is here so is the new body trend code! The fashion of the healthy shape body is back again and this time it is here to stay! So, all of us supporters of good health, can shout: Be Healthy Chic NOT Skinny Sick! After years and years…
By: Maria Karyoti in  Health and Fitness  >  Weight Loss   Jun 26, 2012  
25
  Likes: 10

Keep It Clean: Proper Care for Luxury Clothing
You do what you need to look your best, but what about your clothes? These care tips from the style experts at Coleson Fine Clothiers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will keep your fine clothing looking like new. Wool Coats Your wool coat should typically be dry cleaned twice a year—at the…
By: Shane Behmer in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Jun 08, 2016  
2
  Likes: 2

Suit Yourself: The Finest Men’s Suits In Lancaster
For the man who wants to look his best, nothing suits quite like a suit. At Coleson Fine Clothiers in Lancaster, we carry the best in ready-to-wear, made-to-measure and bespoke suits from the world’s finest suit designers. Here are three of our favorites. The Oxxford Look What do Cary Grant,…
By: Shane Behmer in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Jun 08, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Find Great Deals By Doing Wholesale Shopping For Fashion Clothes Online
When you think of buying clothes online, you probably think of going to your local clothing store to find great deals. Its may be true as many department stores do offer great deals, buy there is also a possibility that you can find better deals by shopping for fashion clothes…
By: Joe Gardiner in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Designer Lawn Dresses Are In Fashion Nowadays
Designer lawn dresses of Pakistan become famous all around the world because of their creative artwork, innovative designs and versatile look. These lawn dresses of different fashion designers and brands are becoming so much popular especially in spring summer season. These all designer dresses are well made by using finest…
By: Paklinen in  Shopping and Product Reviews  >  Fashion Style   Jun 07, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Choosing the Right Pair Of Chick Hot Pants for Women
Talking about the part of clothing that women should be really critical about is the pair of pants. It usually happens that people concentrate at the label rather than looking at how the pants will look at us. It will be very true to say that pants are just like…
0
  Likes: 52

Article Views: 6105    Report this Article