The demise of the Little Black Dress is big fashion news this fall. Prints and color blocks are stealing the headlines. At a cocktail party recently I felt like one of the staff in my favorite LBD. Even though my dress was YSL, sweetly cut with a tulip-shaped, short skirt, all I needed was a clipboard to complete my look.
What used to feel like an easy fall-back just does not work right now. Not only do the PRs and guest list guards wear all-black, so do the waiting staff. This means that color, pattern and shape are compulsory unless you want other party guests trying to check in with you. This fall more than ever, the LBD just feels wrong.
Luckily, there are hundreds of colorful options to choose from. One of my favorites is by British designer Amanda Wakeley, spied on Net-a-Porter. With rectangular panels of contrasting wool fabric, the body of this flattering number is gorgeously fierce, purple stretch-crepe. Yum! My eye is also on printed numbers by Erdem, Peter Pilotto and Lanvin. I love the stark color-blocking going on with Preen and Roksanda Ilincic too. The architecture of these dresses is interesting. From fiercely fitted to boxy-knee-length or flirty and full, current dress looks can be matched to any body type. It is such good news for the female form in all its incredible guises.
One thing strikes me about the dress prints the big designer names have chosen. So many resemble gorgeous vintage patterns I see on 1950s silk shirts and scarves in my favorite out-of-town stores. Old fashioned shades of olive green, mustard, jade and turquoise are popping up everywhere but the contrast in fabric brings them to modern life. Despite being such a vintage fan, I can't help but love modern fabrics so much when it comes to dresses. The stretch, sheen and sheer wearability of good quality means they really do last. During my fall wardrobe-a-geddon, none of my discarded dresses were worn out or torn, OK maybe a little saggy in the case of the odd old favorite, but that was all.
Modern fabric's durability makes an even stronger argument for recycling. Yet, whenever I visit those consignment or 'New To You' stores the prices disappoint me. It is easy to see how someone might be looking to recoup money on an expensive purchase but that still does not account for too-high pricing. Second-hand sellers need to realize many vintage shoppers do not have the cash for full-on designer prices but love the colors, fabrics and quality. Surely, consignment stores would sell more clothes if they dropped their prices. If you ever visit these stores regularly you will notice that the stock hangs around. People do not buy at the prices they try to charge in many places. My advice to shoppers is always the same: bargain, bargain, bargain.
Whoops I've done it again in terms of offending shop keepers but it is important to remember some areas of fashion retail are a buyer's market. As a potential purchaser you have amazing power. Now I am straying on to another topic, our power and confidence in stores. More of that soon, I promise...