Attempting to be Cheap and Chic of the Week: LBD

Audrey Hepburn
What is it about the “little black dress”? Its so iconic, so stylish, so simple, and yet seemingly unattainable. 
Grace Kelly
I have an event coming up in NYC that is a black tie event for which I have absolutely nothing to wear. Obviously being the poor student that I am, this causes quite a problem because I am not exactly rolling in the dough. So, buying a long, true “black tie” dress was out of the question, because I won’t exactly have many occasions to wear it in the near future.  Anything I buy needs to work for many different things over and over again.  
Marilyn Monroe
I decided that what I needed was to get a little black dress that was black tie appropriate, and could be worn to many cocktail parties over the next few years. In essence the perfect LBD. 
Audrey Hepburn
Who knew that something so seemingly simple, could turn out to be so exhausting, and not nearly as simple as one would think. 
I started my search on the low end … scouring the likes of Ann Taylor Loft, Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic, hoping to find an amazing deal on a diamond in the rough. It was not to be. 
Sophia Loren
Material is an issue when you are looking for a black tie dress, as the material needs to be formal enough.   Many of the dresses I came across were jersey or a cotton blend … neither which are really appropriate. So I decided to set my sights a bit higher and start looking at some other stores that specialize in “party dresses” per se. 
Angelina Jolie for St. John
The trouble with looking for a simple little black dress, is that no one makes a really simple little black dress. All the styles either have some embroidery, a ruffle, a belt, one shoulder etc … and when you’re planning on wearing something as much as I planned on wearing this dress, memorable is not exactly what you are going for. In fact, you would prefer the less memorable the better, something that essentially acts as a vehicle for jewelry, hairstyle, or a clutch–that way people are less likely to notice that you have been wearing the same dress for every occasion year after year. 
First stop, BCBG. Love this dress, but a little on the risque side for the more conservative crowd at the benefit I will be attending. Too bad, because I think its terribly sexy. 
Next stop: French Connection. I have had great luck at this store over the past couple years, and there are always gems to be had. I really like this dress, but I think that it is lacking in the sophistication factor that is required for the type of event I am going to … Too bad, because this is a great basic LBD.
On to JCrew, where I determined that this was the dress that I should buy. Perfect, not exactly cheap at $250, but it could have been worse. I love the ruffle neckline, and the cinched waist–great for a conservative crowd and a great dress for a fun necklace. Oh, but wait, this won’t ship until the end of June! Bummer! 
Final stop, Milly. And the dress I bought. It has ruffles, and one shoulder, two things that I think are too memorable for the “go to” little black dress, but what’s a girl to do, I had officially been on every website, and I’m in the middle of finals and shouldn’t be focusing on this! This one really topped out my budget. Oh well, I did get a big tax refund this year …  

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  • I love what you ended up with so chic! Next time maybe you can try out Rent th Runway? It’s modeled after bag borrow and steal and perfect for those dresses that cost you a few HUNDRED dollars and can’t be worn again (generally due to running in the same social circles)You choose from a list designers, pick a shipment date and can have them send TWO sizes. Then you send it back and they take care of the dry cleaning.
    Have so much fun you’re going to look AMAZING!

  • Chic Geek: And I am a member of Rent the Runway, and didn’t even think about it!–Great idea. For the next event, I will do that! Thanks so much, you’re so sweet, I hope so!