The Little Black Dress

by lhannan on February 11, 2012

When my mother passed away almost four years ago, my daughter put together a beautiful memorial slide show for the funeral. After working many hours on this creation, she called me into the office and said, “Mom, you have got to take a look at this”. She flipped through all of the slides that included a photo of me. The one constant in each of my ‘adult’ photos was my favorite little black dress. I purchased this dress years ago and, since then,  have worn it to every major lifetime event. I have other dresses in my closet but I usually pass them over for this little frock. I have worn it to  funerals, weddings, office parties and the occasional black tie event. It is sleeveless so it is perfect for warm weather and the addition of a jacket makes it suitable for the colder months. It is simple enough to wear with sandals and it travels well so it shows up in the photos of every vacation I have ever taken. That dress has been to Europe five times.

Both my daughter and my husband have told me it is probably time to buy a new black dress so I am always on the lookout, but honestly, I can’t imagine ever finding a dress that better suites me. So, I was greatly amused yesterday when I read the blog of Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post titled:

My Favorite Black Dress: Love Story or Cautionary

She writes, ‘I want to revisit one of life’s eternal questions: if you have a dress you love, how often can you wear it before reaching an unacceptable number of “repeats”? And, further, what if all these repeat showings were for “important” occasions — Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, your sister’s wedding, your college reunion, your wedding anniversary — the kind of events that often warrant a new outfit? Is it a problem if you serially turn up in the same outfit? And is it more problematic still if you post your pictures on Twitter and Facebook, as I do?’

She goes on to talk about her  favorite Nanette Lepore dress that she has worn again and again, from a dinner she gave for Bill Maher to a Christmas party at the White House. She shows a little slide show of her wearing the dress and then asks her readers to tell her honestly if it is time to finally retire the dress.

I was amazed that a woman with all of the money in the world would have the same design dilemma that I have. She can obviously afford any dress she wants but sticks to the dress that makes her feel great.

I’m always going to be on the lookout for another little black dress but I’m in no hurry. My dress will hold up for a few more years and will show up at many more lifetime events; throw on a scarf and change the jewelry, it will be fine.  And my family has already been instructed that when I die, I’m going out wearing that little black dress.



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