Some women are forever searching for the perfect little black dress. When they finally find it, their joy is so profound that a national holiday should be proclaimed. Me? I believe just as there’s more than one Mr. Right, there’s more than one perfect little black dress out there.
My first perfect LBD came in my mid-twenties courtesy of a talented seamstress – my mother. Sewn from a Vogue pattern, it was truly a custom fitted garment. The simple jersey shift that hit just above my knee, with a boat neck and three-quarter sleeves was anything but simple because, when I turned around, the dress featured a daring, plunging, V-shaped back. I wore that little number on dinner dates, on New Year’s Eve, to the theatre, and to one very memorable cast party with a group of quirky but hunky Shakespearian actors.
In my thirties, when all of my friends were getting married, I found the perfect LBD on a sale rack at Needless Markup aka: Neiman Marcus. Reminiscent of the iconic long black gown Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, this sleek, silk dress was ankle length, but with a deep slit up one side. Even though I didn’t wear Holly Golightly’s opera length black gloves and tiara, this dress was magical, for it made me look taller and thinner than I am in real life. It got me through the wedding blitz, and eventually I donated it to a young classical musician who needed a formal black gown for her performances.
My cousin’s upcoming wedding is cause for celebration, and for yet another perfect little black dress. I was delighted to find a vintage-style, tea-length dress, embellished with appliques and lace, and a label that promised it was machine washable. Although not my usual style, it was Boho Chic, like something Stevie Nicks would wear. I liked it because it was different, and all was right with the world. Until I washed it. Despite following the care directions, when I took the dress out of the washer, I was horrified to see that the applique work had unraveled. The dress was ruined.
With the wedding only two weeks away, I made the rounds at several fave dress shops. Bad news travels fast, and one of the sales ladies had heard about “the woman with the shredded dress” and was eager to help. The shredded dress turned out to be a happy accident because it brought me to my new perfect LBD. This one is timeless, ageless really. And since I’m now a woman of a certain age, timeless and ageless is a good thing. This ladylike sheath dress is sublime, with delicate capped lace sleeves and the same lace yoke around the gently rounded neckline. I will wear this one for a long time to come.
Just like the men who come into our lives, who are the perfect fit, at a particular time, so are these little black dresses. Be assured ladies, this is no urban myth – there really is more than one Mr. Right and more than one prefect little black dress for the taking.