The entire purpose of a wardrobe staple is its presumed ability to transform itself into the perfect item for any situation. Is a white button down really a white button down if you can’t wear it with a sensible midi skirt for a wedding in the morning, then slap on some accessories, heels, and some trousers (though they’re optional) for a night out?
That said, the metamorphic properties of a little black dress, another alleged wardrobe staple, are highly suspect. Sure, you can wear it during the day to work, if you’re a high-powered attorney who takes no prisoners and/or sugar in their coffee.
But for the rest of us? I intern at a digital lifestyle magazine, where people literally sit at their desks with blankets to combat a freezing building. If I showed up in a little black dress and heels at 10 in the morning, they’d probably think I was still drunk and Ubered straight to the office from whatever nighttime establishment I’d just frequented.
I mean, it might make for a conversation starter. It also might get me fired.
So I decided to test the versatility of the LBD once and for all, and thus this post was born. I ran into a slight hiccup because my dress of choice is so short it barely covers my ass, but if you imagine an extra few inches on the hem it works. I think.
SCENARIO #1: IT’S DAYTIME AND EVERYONE’S SOBER
Maybe you’re meeting a friend for brunch. Maybe you’re en route to Trader Joe’s to pick up some reasonably-priced quinoa. Maybe you’re just taking your hungover self back to last night’s bar to look for the phone you lost, and didn’t have time to change.
The formula: button down + lbd + flat shoes.
Here I look like a retro and slightly hungover air stewardess (re: the sunglasses the size of plates). I’m into it. Particularly because I’m deeply into balloon sleeves at the moment.
SCENARIO #2: YOU’VE GOTTA GO TO WORK, AND YOU’RE NOT OLIVIA POPE SO A FULL SUIT IS OUT OF THE QUESTION
Here’s how to dress down an LBD instantly: hide it. Not completely, like with a snuggie or anything, but just enough to make it not so blatantly in-your-face-hello-I’m-a-black-dress.
The formula: blazer (or a cardigan, or a jacket) + lbd + ankle boots
The sunglasses may be a little overkill —unless you’re going for a “70s creepy uncle” kinda vibe— but the rest of the look is simple and just casual enough without being too informal. I’d probably lose the hair bun in favour of a chicer style, but I hadn’t washed my hair at the time of the shoot so it is what it is.
SCENARIO #3: YOU’RE GOING OUT! OR AT LEAST SHOOTING A GOING-OUT-THEMED BLOG POST
And finally, the LBD in all its glory, as god and the store you bought it from originally intended. If you know anything about my preference re: nighttime apparel, you know that I stay away from anything that’ll make me look like an escaped Jersey Shore cast member, so again I like to keep it simple.
The formula: one/two pieces of statement jewellery + lbd + heels
The reason I picked this dress in the first place was because the neckline reminded me of a turtleneck, and my affinity for turtlenecks is matched potentially only by Diane Keaton. Or librarians. Anyway, due to the high neckline, an updo of sorts seemed necessary.
And as high necklines = no necklace chez moi, I went with a pair of clip on earrings that look fabulous but hurt after approximately half an hour of wearing them. Similar, in fact, to these heels. But I only go out long enough to take a lap and maybe an Instagram, so longevity is not a requirement for my outfits.