We over talk it, over wear it, ignore it and glorify it.
But the black dress is the one wardrobe essential we never really leave behind.
I crush on all-black and then renounce it for being dull. Who am I kidding? There is nothing dull about a good black dress if it is worn correctly. Speed watching who wore what the other night had me thinking an all-black dress very infrequently gets it wrong. It may be considered dull or unimaginative – that’s not really fair – we all know as much effort goes into choosing the right black dress as it does for a rainbow equivalent.
These fabulous women, celebrating 2016 and shot by Annie Leibovitz pay brilliant homage not only to the black dress but also to their signature styles. Each outfit may be uniform in colour but there is no sameness about any two.
The women are wearing the pieces, not the other way around, there is no doubt about that.
Choosing a black dress over a colourful option may seem easy, lame almost but it is most definitely not. A good black dress must work hard for the attention it deserves, whether it sparkles, covers-up, or accentuates.
I might even say it has to work harder than a multi-coloured peer for the same effect.
Some of us revel in all black and others feel it’s not for them.
Most women work it well and for those who don’t love an all-black outfit, it’s possibly more mental than the reality of how they look. Perhaps not uplifting enough? That’s when I feel it’s about how you wear it. The shoes, the hair, the jewels – even the make-up.
Recently I found myself in a ‘what to wear’ dilemma because I so frequently choose all-black when it comes to my best. My daughter’s wedding is coming up in a few months and I struggled to feel comfortable in anything other than that. The dilemma has passed, I forced myself to be creative and think outside my comfort zone and find an alternative. It’s not easy to commit to wearing something unfamiliar but I have and am delighted. Will I feel as much “me”? Probably not, but I am happy with my choice and won’t give it another thought. The flipside is to find a beautiful black number for her rehearsal dinner – so I will be happy on all counts.
What is it that makes me feel so right wearing all-black?
I like it with my grey hair; the contrast works.
Usually, a dark colour is more forgiving and flattering.
When I invest I feel an all-black is ageless and timeless.
These reasons could equally be applied to navy, cream or emerald green but for me, it’s never the same.
An all-black piece is – well – it’s forever. xv
Hard To Resist: Any Occasion, Now And Forever
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image, annie leibovitz for vanity fair 2016