“Something about glamour interested me. All my schoolbooks had drawings of women on terraces with a cocktail and a cigarette..” Bill Blass
Ah, the eponymous little black dress, an idiom that will never be out of fashion. Every female must own at least one—periodically replaced by something more a la mode. There are probably several at the back of your closet. The lbd can be worn on a multitude of occasions, dressed up or down, and always made to look right. From Givenchy’s contribution to the iconic Audrey Hepburn image (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) to a number from Topshop in which one daren’t sit down, the garment continues a wardrobe staple. Our mothers wore them with pearls. Today, they can be as individual an expression of who we think we are as anything in our closets.
Left: Maggy London Illusion Pleated Dress—Beautiful neckline with just a whisper of provocation. Sheer back. ‘Should skim the body, not encase it. A blank canvas for jewelry. Matte Jersey. Side zipper. Lined. $148.
Right: Maggy London Illusion Bodice Woven Sheath Dress—Ageless design. This one will suit a sixty year old as well as a twenty-six year old. The sheer fabric speaks of vintage, the sleek styling of glamour. Rayon/cotton/spandex. Back zipper & keyhole. Partially lined. $ 168.
Both from Nordstrom online.
“The dress must not hang on the body but follow its lines. It must accompany its wearer and when a woman smiles the dress must smile with her.” Madeleine Vionnet
Gola—Simple, elegant, affordable. The very slightly lower heels allows for gallery openings or walking back to the hotel. Criss-crossed straps with rhinestone embellishment. Adjustable ankle strap with buckle closure. Satin/leather. $89. From Nina Shoes.
Left: BCBG Max Azria Stretch Satin Strapless—If you’ve got a long torso, this flirty body hugging dress will flatter, flatter, flatter. Feels good too, even to brush up against. Add some glitter and dance the night away. Built-in empire waist; drop ruffle hem with attached petticoat. Boned bodice, fully lined, back zipper, $80.40 on sale.
Right: Jessica Simpson Sequin Sheath—Definitely cute. For petite or very slim women. Glitter without glitz. Falls on the figure like a dream. His dream. Scoop neckline, low-cut back, half sleeves. 100 percent nylon; polyester lining. Hand wash. $148.
Both from Zappos.
Piper Cuff—Yes, it’s a cuff! Unusually clever design. A feminine bow unexpectedly on your wrist. Catch his peripheral vision with the graceful rhinestone tassels. Oxidized silver plated crystals fringe off cuff creating movement. 2” diameter, ¾” width; 2” tassels, Hand-made in New York. $147. From Dannijo.
Badgley Mischka “Dylan” Evening Shoes—It’s the little bit of chiffon that does it, really. Find a similarly diaphanous wrap. Add a bit more rhinestone (or diamond) glitter. Opera, The King Cole Bar, or the latest underground hot spot shhhh, you know where. Gossamer, rhinestone-topped ornament, sinewy straps. Satin/leather. 4” covered heel. Adjustable ankle strap. $200. Bloomingdales.
Julia Cocco Opera Bag—Big enough to carry a hearing aid or extra panties and toothbrush. Extremely ladylike. To be trotted out when impressing the conservative great aunts or insouciantly with something frivolous. White rhinestone jeweled flower clasp. Black satin. $198. Forzieri.
Left: Sue Wong Feather Dress—For a real occasion. Float into the room like a bold, modern day, black swan queen. Seriously red lipstick is needed below the raised eyebrow. They’ll remember this one. Strapless-built-in boning; back zipper; fully lined. Polyester/silk. $528. Bloomingdales.
Right: JS Boutique One Shoulder Cocktail Dress—Knee length for those of us no longer in our twenties. Artfully draped shoulder with the counterpoint of nicely embellished side detail. Like a book with an interesting cover. You’ll look quietly intriguing. $160. edressme.
Vouelle Eva Feather–Trimmed Satin Sandals- He’ll be tickled to see you in these sexy heels. Men love things around the ankles- maybe something about bondage? Being bound with feathers is a wonderful concept. Criss-cross toe straps, feather trim, crystal embellished buckle at ankle strap, satin. $305. The Outnet.
“High heels were invented by a woman who had been kissed on the forehead.” Christopher Morley
Left: Ainsley Earrings—Fit for royalty, these unique chandeliers offer gold, gray and blue to play off. Blue eye shadow or brooch, perhaps gold shoes or handbag. Don’t be matchy, just chose a color and add a touch of unconsciously perfect coordination.3” hang from post. Adorned with Swarovski crystals and chains. Hand-made in New York $270. Dannijo.
Right: Prezzo Vintage Style Dome Clutch—It’s an accident this looks so well with the earrings. One of a kind illusion of metallic fabric and beading. Drop-in beaded strap and detachable strap. All the Prezzo bags are really interesting. And modestly priced. $62. Endless.
Jillian Strappy Kitten Heels—For long walks holding hands and after-parties that go till 3am, a lower heel with the most delicate, graceful straps. Princess shoes. (Or Queen Mother) Pedicure, ladies. 1 3/8” covered heel. Made in Italy. In gold, silver, or black. $150. J.Crew.
Right: Long Black Satin Lycra Gloves—especially splendid with strapless dresses and gowns. Add bracelets. Satin lycra. Stretchy. One size. $59. Both at Black.Co.UK.
ABS Hinged Pave Feather Bracelet—Looks extravagant, but isn’t. Marvelous Art Deco inspired design. A little sparkle in your wrap, perhaps? Fanned feather crafted of tiny white crystals set in gunmetal plate, large crystal teardrop. Easy to wear and remove. $95. Max and Chloe.
Left: Ruched Cocktail Dress by Theia—An old fashioned, perfect-for-portraits neckline. Show off a fabulous necklace or your own scrubbed and creamed skin. The draped, fitted figure is seductive and polished at the same time. All those hours at the gym should pay off. Just above knee length. $595.
Right: One Shoulder Black Lace by Sentimental NY—What man can resist lace?! They’ve been raised on old movies where women wore negligees. As have we (where’s the orchestra?)Full length single sleeve. Black lace over stretch black jersey tube dress. Just above the knee. $152. Both edressme.
Right: Badgley Mischka Lacie Evening Pump—Satin. Crystal ornament. 3 ¼” heel. $215.00 Two very graceful styles. The right height, clean lines. Attention will go elsewhere. Great jewelry and a great face. both at Jildor Shoes.
Left: Ruffled Cocktail Dress from NUE by Shani—And now for something a little different…Fluid cascading femininity. ‘Doesn’t need much in the way of jewelry. Even has a built in undergarment to smooth and slim! One shoulder neckline. Knee length. $352.
Right: Terani Black and White Bow Cocktail Dress—Pizzaz, I think, is the proper term. For the lady with confidence. You’ll look like a gift. (He’ll want to unwrap you.)Dual shoulder strap. Rhinestone embellishment on bow. Just above knee length. $260.00 Both edressme.
“A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you.” Françoise Sagan
Lulu Guinness Pewter Snakeskin Lips Clutch—Arty? Daring? The comment is innate. Where whimsy and gravitas meet…but can’t smile. Fashion history. Fastens with silver zipper and clasp. Small pouch pocket inside. $190, much less than these usually are. My Wardrobe.
Left: CZ by Kenneth J.Lane ( probably as in C.Z.Guest) Rhodium Plated Bezel Chain Earrings—Rather fairy-like, these should be shown off=hair upswept, please. The length and sway will make your neck look longer. Pear shaped cubic zirconia stones, bezel set for sparkle; connected by silver toned, rhodium -plated brass chains for optimum movement. 3” long. Post with friction backing. $150. Endless.
Right: Mariella—This handsome detailed Deco shape speaks of womanly decisiveness. Strong design but open to breezes. Rather like you. 2” from post, 1” wide at widest point. Lightweight Swarovski crystal. Hand-made in New York. $245. Dannijo.
Tessa Bag by Franchi—This one requires whomp! Big crystal jewelry, perhaps a colored wrap. The dress itself can be simpler. Satin fabric. Single crossbody chain. Encrusted jewel accent. Frame with kiss-lock closure. Satin interior lining with slip pocket. 5 ¼” x 5 ½” x 5 ½”. $161. Zappos.
Left: NUE by Shani Puff Sleeves Cocktail Dress—This is a shape that will fit most anyone. Its sleeve detail (like petals) is pretty without being teenage. The square neck is conservative without being stuffy. $286.
Right: Stretch Jersey Cocktail Dress—Here’s the Audrey Hepburn copy. Architectural and elegant. High cut straps. Discrete jewelry. An evergreen design. “Dahling,” kiss kiss. $ 138. Both edressme.
“A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.” Vera Wang
La Regale Hard Body Mesh Clutch—For the essentials only. This will never go out of style. Leaves hands free for the cocktail-of-the-week or a canapé (you’ve got to eat something!) Or the tickets he would have lost. 22” Crossbody strap. Framed closure; lined. 5.5” x 3.5” x 2”. In gold, silver, or black $105. Bloomingdales.
Kanipriya Deco Domed Cuff—An artisanal looking piece that will undoubtedly elicit curious glances from the ladies. Wear a little gold somewhere else, but careful it matches or forgo it. Luminous dome shape crafted of hammered and scored 22k gold plate. Two offset cubic zirconia paisley dtails. Adjustable. 1.5” width. $255. Max and Chloe.
Naomi Fit and Flare Dress—For what’s left of the season…or winter where it’s warmer, a girly dress with the look of hand stitching. You won’t see this one coming and going. Intricate top detailing, paneled waistband, full skirt. Concealed back zipper. Cotton/polyester. $375.00 Reiss.
Vala Necklace—For all you aspiring Anastasias (she was the missing Romanoff Princess) or Hollywood wannabes, a statement piece which fairly creates the occasion. Tone down the rest. Warning: with a fur, this will appear to be valuable vintage. Glimmering spray of Swarovski crystals adorn oxidized silver-plated necklace. 17” long with lobster clasp closure. Centerpiece is about 21/2” at longest point and 4 ½” at widest point. Hand-made in New York. $294.On sale at Dannijo.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Coco Chanel