Little Black Party Dress

December 2, 2009

Daily Digest

Little Black Party Dress

By Linda Gallagher.

Christmas is fast approaching and invitations are now beginning to pop through letterboxes and into inboxes for parties and events that are being held over the festive season.

At the moment shops are awash with party wear and not surprisingly, top of the frocks is the Little Black Dress. Invented in the 1920s by Coco Chanel, the Little Black Dress (or LBD) has become a party favourite for girls who want a dress that is both chic and versatile.

While some consider the LBD to be the safe option, it has many advantages including making the wearer appear slimmer and the ability to create several different looks with  various accessories.

Currently the ‘dress du jour’ for celebrities, the Little Black Dress was recently spotted on Girls Aloud band member Kimberley Walsh at the Pride of Britain Awards and on Jessica Alba, Pixie Lott and Freida Pinto, who wore Valentino.

I’ve done the research for you and carefully put together a list of seasonal delights for you to ponder… and all for under €250!

Sequinned dress

It wouldn’t be Christmas without some sparkle. Shimmer and shine in these three offerings from the High Street.

Dip Dye Sequin dress, Oasis, €156
Go vintage in this flapper style black and silver dress with scalloped hem from Oasis. It’s sparkly enough, so simply accessorise with a boyfriend blazer, opaque tights and T-bar shoes.

Sequinned Body Con dress, Savida at Dunnes Stores, €40
In 2009, the House of Balmain dominated the fashion headlines. Their creative director Christophe Decarnin was responsible for the body con look that was reproduced all over the high street this year. And while Balmain dresses run into thousands of euros, €40 is all you have to pay for Savida’s long sleeved sequinned mini dress with the famous power shoulders. Accessorise with seamed stockings or coloured tights and super high satin court shoes. This dress suits most figure types.

Halter neck Striped Sequinned dress, Heatons, €25
Heatons have an amazing black halter neck dress with horizontal sequinned stripes on their rails for Christmas. Works well on the tall and slender figures. Wear with ankle boots or chunky platform shoes.

Ladylike Elegance

For autumn/winter 2009, there was a return to elegance and chic dressing. Textural fabrics like lace, silk, velvet and chiffon were all used to create ultra feminine designs that emphasis and celebrate the female form.

Lace Appliqué Dress, Karen Millen, €235
Among the designers to use lace in their winter collections was Dolce and Gabbana. Imitate the Italian duos style in this lace appliqué dress from Karen Millen. The fitted satin pencil dress with delicate black lace cap sleeves on the bodice and back epitomises elegance. Add some drama with a warm stole and long evening gloves. Good on hourglass figures, it is also comes in a taupe colour.

Rome Origami Dress, Oasis ,€81
Many parties will be taking place in the office this year and you will need a dress that is appropriate for both work and play. The hit TV show Mad Men influenced my choice here. With its nipped in waist and and origami shaped neckline this dress from Oasis is typical of what the character Joan Harris would wear on the programme. Transform it from day to night by adding some serious bling.The pearl and diamante encrusted ‘Singapore Sling’ black suede sandals from Office would look stunning with this dress.

Chiffon dress with Lace and Velvet Trim, Esprit, €235
For Esprit it is all about ‘low key luxury’. Their classy empire style chiffon dress with wide lace cummerbund and thin velvet band incorporates all the key trends in one. Look oh so sophisticado with pearl accessories and a tiny clutch bag. A fake fur bolero or wrap will beat the winter chill and add a touch of glam to your party frock.

X Factor Dresses

Every week Danni Minogue and Cheryl Cole cast a sartorial spell over us when they walk through the doors on the X Factor. Here, you too can steal their style with one click.

Chelsea Batwing Sleeve Dress, Forever Unique, £65, €73
Dannii is a massive fan of the asymmetrical (one shouldered) neckline and wears it a lot on the live shows. Forever Unique  has a terrific1980’s inspired black dress with a batwing sleeve and bejewelled shoulder detail that would be right up her street. For a contemporary twist, ditch the sandals and add a pair of knee high velvet or suede boots with a spiky heel.

Talia cocktail dress,, €59
Cheryl Cole looked stunning in a black cocktail number at the recent Pride of Britain awards. Irish website have recreated a similar dress with their Talia version including the flared skirt and knotted bow detail. Available in sizes 8-14. This style is perfect for petite figures.

Embellished Black Dress

Embellishment was a major fashion story on this season’s runways.  Along with studs; rivets and chains were crystals, multi coloured gems and intricate beading.

Lucy Party dress, Chica, €196
Chica in Dublin’s Westbury Mall is a treasure trove for sparkling designer gowns and accessories. Their long sleeved ‘Lucy’ jersey dress with crystal embellished neckline and fitted waist is demure yet subtly sexy.

Metal Stud Dress, New Look, £35, €39 New Look have gone all biker chic with the metal stud dress from their Limited Edition range. The heavily studded collar is very young and edgy. It would look good on slim/boyish figures as the cowl sides on the skirt create the illusion of curves. Accessorise with caged sandals or pair with leggings and shoe boots.

Recessionista black party dress

Alternatively you could customise an old dress by pinning on a few cheap diamante brooches or by sewing on some feathered or glittery trims on the shoulders

Ruffles and frills

Whimsical details like frills and ruffles always make an appearance come Christmas time.

Kirstan Frill dress, Coast, €195
Occasion wear specialists Coast is always the first port of call for evening wear and their taffeta sleeveless Kirstan frill dress would turn heads at any party. It comes with a black fitted belt but you could always replace it with a more glitzy one (try Accessorize or River Island). The ruffles running down the bodice would disguise a flat chest.

Iska Layered Bandeau dress, Asos, £35, €38
Be cool this Yule in Asos cute bandeau soft stretch fitted mini dress with cascading ruffles. Cover bare shoulders with a tux jacket. The sweetheart neckline would suit a larger bust.

Now that you have found your dress, it’s time to party!

We’ve found more info on the little black dress below.


Little Black Dress – An infographic on the history of the little black dress from Kaleidoscope

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