The little black dress

Happy New Year everyone! 2013 arrived amongst fanfare and fireworks and somehow, somehow, we are almost through the first month. Where does the time go? This year for FashioNZ, I am writing a monthly column and sharing with you what I think are the 12-must-have-items-in-a-womans-wardrobe. I thought I would start off with the most stylish and iconic item a woman can have – the LBD.


The LBD (the Little Black Dress) is a style icon. Created in the late 1920s by Coco Chanel, the mother of modern female fashion, the dress was intended to be a long-lasting and versatile item accessible to everyone, and in a neutral colour.

Taking a colour traditionally used for mourning periods after a death, and making it into the staple for a woman’s wardrobe sounds like such a Chanel thing to do.

After that first dress was pictured in American Vogue, other designers caught on to the fact that Chanel had, well, caught on to something. They followed suit, creating their own versions of the LBD, thus giving birth to one of the most iconic items of female fashion; one that has survived depressions, recessions, world wars, the 80s and all that hairspray, colour blocking, and every trend since 1926.

The LBD hit stratospheric fashion heights during Hollywood’s Golden Age thanks largely to Audrey Hepburn and that Givenchy LBD in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. The epitome of style, class and the right amount of ‘oomf’ – the LBD worn by Ms Hepburn is still the most iconic fashion piece of all time.

Finding your perfect LBD depends on a variety of things, from your budget and body to lifestyle and your own individual style. Your personal LBD needs to take you seamlessly from day to night, from work to party, from a casual environment to a formal one, and make you feel 100% every time you wear it.

Your LBD should make you feel sexy, confident and strong-willed. It should be your best fashion friend, making you feel fantastic, even on those days when all you feel like wearing is your duck pyjama’s and eating Pineapple Lumps by the truckload. 

So what should you look for in a LBD? Personally, I think simple is best. A dress with long fringing, peplum or a feature that is on-trend is going to wane, like all trendy things do. Finding the simple black dress may be harder than you think.

Last week I hit up the fashion stores of Auckland with my friend Caitlin Harrison. Not only do I trust her opinion, but she also happens to be a stylist (double yay). Who better to go shopping with for the ultimate LBD than her?

After scouring the shops, and trying on a bunch of dresses (just for you), I have come up with three of my favourites.


DECJUBA SECRET BELTED DRESS. $84.95 (was $169.95)


The Secret Belted Dress is made from 97% polyester and 3% spandex with a polyester lining.  It has a self-tie belt and a generous amount of fabric on the sides, giving it a dramatic look. For those with a larger frame, this dress offers shape and texture in the right places, and with its high neck-line and generous material covering the arms, it can be worn with confidence. For those with a smaller body, this dress is also fantastic. It won’t swamp slender or petite frames, and provides just the right amount of glam to be worn day or night. Mix and match bold accessories with flats in the day, and add a pair of heels with some bling for that night time look.



This beautiful LBD by Ruby is a fitted bodice dress with high, scoop neckline and a gathered skirt that sits above the knee. It is 100% polyester, and has a side seam zip fastening. The classic design of the front of the dress is typical of the traditional LDB style, but the racer-back style of the bodice allows for showing off of those tanned shoulders we all dream of acquiring in summer. Throw on a blazer for those chilly nights, or wear with wedges for a more relaxed summer look. This classic LBD is truly one of the best out there at present.

MAX ESSENTIAL DRESS. $99, (was $159)


This super, classic, sleeveless, v-neck, fitted dress with a concealed zip at the back is everything a LBD should be – slimming, sexy, and stylish. When selecting the right dress to suit your personal shape and personality look for cut, texture and fabric. This MAX beauty is made from 65% polyester, 32% viscose and 3% elastane. It guarantees to hug you in all the right places.

Not confident to wear it on its own? Why not add a long sleeve white shirt underneath for a classic look, or a coloured jacket for a bit more bite? This LBD is like the perfect clean palette, allowing you to go as crazy as you want with the accessories you feel like wearing.

Having style is a combination of selecting the right clothes for the occasion, and the right clothes for your body. Starting with the LBD, and ensuring that it is the best Little Black Dress for you, is a great way to guarantee you always have something to wear.

– Dani McAllen
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