So far this week I’ve had 3 formal events. On each occasion I agonised over what to wear, and on each occasion I begrudgingly opted for a black dress. Now, black is all well and good for daywear: it’s slimming, makes cheap fabric look more expensive, and means you can dole out authoritative makeup advice when you loiter in department stores and are inevitably mistaken for a salesperson (the number of metallic eyeshadow disasters I’ve prevented! You’re welcome, humanity). But black is the worst for evening events. You just end up blending into the crowd and looking like a sad dismembered ghost in photos.
So I should really break out of the habit. But not this weekend, because my college is putting on a banquet and the theme is… well, actually I’m not quite sure. The invitation was on faux-parchment, with masonic(?) watermark, newspeak(?) terminology and politburo(?)-y allusions… so it’s either Stalinism, 1984, Doomsday Cult, Revolution or something similar. It’s probably an Emperor’s New Clothes situation and I’m just one of the ovine townspeople too scared to clarify. But in any case, we’ve been instructed to wear black.
Here are a couple of the best of the black dresses I found online:
Like gouache painting and chocolate bark, little black dresses are elevated by texture. I can imagine Angelina Jolie’s gold-digging lionfish from Shark Tale absolutely rocking this one-shouldered number.
Dion Lee Line II Twist Cutaway Dress (50% off!)
Dion Lee is the doyen of draping and detail. I’m not even joking when I say he can make a skivvy look sexy. I think this sliver of skin exposure is gorgeous, and a refreshing step back from the ubiquitous shark-bite/Pretty Woman ‘You’re obviously in the wrong place’ street-walking cut-outs.
I came across this in the “dresses” section on Shopbop. It is officially dubbed a “mini dress”. “Dress”, you guys(!)
I can think of 3 situations in which this outfit would be appropriate:
- You are a heavily pregnant woman going to get a plaster of paris belly cast made. You wear a jacket over this to the studio.
- You are cast as a streaker in a low budget Real Crime re-enactment TV shows, instructed by the producer to wear your own modesty panels so they don’t have to add black bars/pixelation to your naked body during editing.
- The ‘cage’ in the dress name refers to what you’re dancing in.