The Little Black Dress December 08 2013

There is an item of clothing that I always have in my wardrobe for "that" special occasion and that's the Little Black Dress.

As Christmas is fast approaching, ladies everywhere will be whipping out that little Black number from the back of their wardrobes, pulling together an outfit that will make them look and feel a million dollars.

Its silhouette has changed over the years but the LBD remains supremely chic.

My LBD - AX Paris £25

Many people claim that the LBD as we know it was invented by Coco Chanel.  In 1926, a picture of a simple short black dress by Chanel appeared in American Vogue and was dubbed “Chanel's Ford” after demand for Ford motorcars which were only available in Black, had soared at the start of the century.  The LBD was like the Model T car because it was accessible to women of all social classes.  Vogue said the dress was "a sort of uniform for all women of taste."

Simple in Black crêpe de Chine with long, narrow sleeves, worn with a string of pearls, Vogue proved to be correct in the prediction that it would become a uniform.

Before the 1920s, wearing the colour Black was strictly reserved for times of mourning.  It was considered indecent to wear it otherwise because mourning dresses were symbolic. During the Victorian era, a grieving widow was expected to wear black for at least two years.  Queen Victoria wore her mourning dresses for exactly 40 years!

The LBD maintained its popularity during World War II, due to the rationing of textiles.  It also became a sort of uniform for the droves of women heading to the workplace.  LBD's were popular in Hollywood during the Technicolor craze because a Black dress wouldn't clash with the other colours on the screen as a brighter dress might.

During the postwar conservative era of the 1950s and early 1960s, the LBD took a bit of a social hit.  Though still worn, it was seen as a little dangerous that the woman wearing it wasn't quite so pure as the conservative woman in Powder Blue.

But the Swinging 60s gave the LBD a bit of a revival, with the younger Mod generation sporting the mini dress invented by the fashion designer Mary Quant.  While the older more conservative set, looked to classic styles like the LBD worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  That Black Givenchy cocktail dress worn in the film sold at auction in 2006 for £467,200!!!

In the 1980s, the LBD experienced a renaissance at the hands of designer Azzedine Alaïa, "the King of Cling".

The LBD has, for the most part, maintained its popularity through the decades since Chanel brought it into our lives in 1926.  Though it's had its stylistic variations from the Mod mini dress of the 1960s and big shoulders and peplum of the 1980s to the grunge in the 1990s, the motivation behind the dress has remained the same.  A LBD makes a woman feel beautiful and glamorous.  It's a long-lasting, versatile and affordable to a large market of women and is certainly here to stay.

We may not yet know how to have it all but it helps to have a reliable outfit that can do it all and will always makes us feel modern, capable, feminine and fun.

Me in my LBD