By Patty Soltis, Guest Columnist
While “the little black dress” made its debut in the 1920’s courtesy of Coco Chanel, it became forever famous when actress Audrey Hepburn wore it in the iconic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
We all remember the opening scene from the 1961 American romantic comedy. We watched Holly Golightly (Ms. Hepburn) exit a New York City cab just after sunrise and then longingly gaze into the store windows of Tiffany & Co. still sporting her stylish black dress from a long evening out.
The little black dress is now back in the news with the recent passing of Hubert de Givenchy, age 91, who had the ability to transform fabric into a glorious garment. Fortunately, the famous French couturier who dressed Ms. Hepburn in the movie (and others equally famous) left behind for us the legacy of the little black dress.
The little black dress has moved through many phases over the years. We have seen it draped by Donna Karan, cut on the bias by Alexander McQueen and in classic American design by Michael Kors. Hemlines have gone up and down with even an asymmetrical hem from time to time. We have seen it in a multitude of fabrics from practical wool and cotton to synthetic fibers of polyester and scuba to the luxurious fabrics of silk and satin. Sleeveless to a short sleeve to long sleeve, the little black dress has gone through many transitions.
Today, the little black dress breathes life into every woman’s wardrobe as a staple. Each woman — and that means every woman who owns one — repurposes it for the occasion from the office to dinner to a cocktail party.
Wear this dress for the day with a pair of pumps and a pearl necklace, for the evening, switch it up with a pair of glitzy sandals and a swipe of red lipstick.
This little black dress can be proportioned to fit every woman’s figure and for the many phases of her life from the young, fun years of her 20’s to relaxing with the ease of life as she matures. While hemlines may go up and down over the years, for now, pick the one that works best for you but never more than one inch above the knee when standing.
Accessorize this dress with the metallics of gold, silver, pewter, and bronze in shoes, handbag, and jewelry. Add a bit of animal print in the shoe or handbag. And much like the little black dress, animal print is a forever trend. A pop of bold color can add levity and whimsy to the look.
Madame Vionnet showed how to cut on the bias, Yves St. Laurent popularized the safari look, Hubert de Givenchy was one of the first couturiers. While his life has moved on, he has left a legacy for decades to come. And while “people don’t belong to people,” Hubert de Givenchy made sure that the little black dress did.
Patty Soltis/Photo courtesy of STYLEdge®
Patty Soltis is the CEO/Founder of STYLEdge®, an image consulting business that specializes with alpha business leaders to establish credibility to their audience without saying a word. A first impression is made far too quickly and has lasting effect. STYLEdge® ensures that this impression is one of power, competence and confidence.
Patty’s background in retail management for over 20 years, mostly as a vice president/general Manager for companies such as Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields developed her experience in business, retail and fashion. The training and education that she received has led to her success as an image consultant; this combines her business acumen with her lengthy knowledge of fashion, style and attire needed for success.
For the past three years, she has worked with business leaders and their organizations to understand image and how it reflects on their brand. The STYLEdge® clients will tell you with energy, enthusiasm and excitement how this has improved their performance and results.
See an earlier guest column by Ms. Soltis on AliveTampaBay: Great Ideas for Festive Formalwear