Safe or smokin': The LBD

My friend Susan just scored a ravishing LBD from our favourite resale/vintage shop, Thrill of the Find. And I bought one just before the holiday season, so we're going out for a cocktail in our dresses.

There are books celebrating it, bands named after it, shops with nothing but LBDs, but some of us wonder, just like when you have a first baby: once I've brought it home, what the hell do I do with it?

LBD can become Little Boring Dress without TLC.

Silver Small Organic Hoops in oxidized silver by Ten Thousand Things $190, from Ylang23. (Charming, but too sedate with the LBD.)

Diamond studs under 3 ct. tw will not pack the presence you need. Even if you have big honkin' skating rinks, I think you could wear more interesting earrings with your LBD.

Miguel As
es Coral Bead Chandelier Earrings with Oxidized Silver and 14K Gold Fill Beads $374 at Twist. You don't go to a party in these, you are the party!

a Paxton Sylvie Necklace in handworked beads and sequins with draping chain section, £140 from Kabiri.


Though there are loads of killer heels out there, I'm going to assume you'll want shoes you can actually stand in, or walk from a restaurant to the theatre.


Naturalizer "Endless"in black leather, $75 from Naturalizer. This shoe screams suit, and will take the fizz out of a festive dress.

Not quite Smokin':

When in doubt, wear slingbacks wit
h the LBD. Naturalizer's "Whitmore" is better, if you're looking for a lower-priced shoe ($75) that's well-balanced.

But it doesn't raise my pulse; still too Safe. For Smokin', we need lots more money! Yeah, baby!

no we don't!

RSVP's "Valorie" with cushioned foot petals has comfort features
and printed python, for only $89 from Zappos.

Or if you absolutel
y have to encase your heel, RSVP's "Dolly" in Geranium Masacra Patent, should get your feet in a party mood. ($110, from Zappos).

Available also in black, lemon yellow and linen patent.

The Coat


A classic trench (shown, the Somewhere trench from Sears, $129), too utilitarian for the LBD's drama.

his embroidered trench from Talbot's, $229, is not too office-y.

At a higher price, but so chic: A formal take on the traditional trench, the Celyn dress Mac by Erdem, in an ethereal dove cotton lined in printed silk, $1, 310 from Net-a-porter.

Resale/vintage stores are often great sources for evening coats, because they don't get worn
much, and are generally well-kept.

This gold lamé and sea green 60's number is $115 from Chi Chi and The Greek.


Deja Pseu said…
Great examples, Duchesse! I have the jewelry, bag, shoes, metallic trench...still haven't found my LBD.
materfamilias said…
Helpful to see examples of both -- sometimes safe's appropriate; sometimes a bit of flame is called for. What's great about getting dress and accessories lined up is that you can be ready to go to almost anything just shopping your wardrobe. I've got a metallic trench, dramatic costume earrings and/or small gold hoops, an LBD-worthy clutch for sedate and one for a bit of attention, and a few pairs of stiletto pumps I can walk in (one gold-black patterned, the other Candy-apple red patent). Of course I occasionally like to add something new to the mix, but that can be done without much expense.
metscan said…
Guess what- I don´t have a LBD, never had and maybe never will. I do, however,have a linen black suit with 3/4 sleeves. It is a couple of years old,but I still like it. I do have the shoes,clutch and jewelry and a mink coat,but lack a nice coat for warmer weathers. The trench you mentioned in your post looks interesting, but it is so difficult to shop online ( I just sent back 2 coats ). My coat should work with jeans too,just like the mink coat does.
Sher said…
I have 2 LBDs and play with them all the time :)
Imogen Lamport said…
Unfortunatly the LBD doesn't suit everyone, but some sort of attire you can dress up with ease in a good dark neutral is always a great wardrobe investment.

Though, please don't anyone wear those safe shoes with a LBD!
Maggie said…
Dare I inquire as to the "style" of your LBD?
Duchesse said…
Maggie: My LBD is described in my post of 11/29/08, "The Dress: Magic Times Three".
Anjela said…
Such fun reading that. I have my Ghost UK BD from about 5 years ago and it is just about the lovelist thing to put on and see how it becomes part of the bady- I love how they cut the fabric anyway. But one can never have too many BDs or white shirts.
Thanks Duchesse!
lagatta à montréal said…
There is also an aesthetic that is not "safe" but not involving the injection of a lot of bright colour (much as I love red). It is pared down to black, with perhaps a bit of significant jewellery or accessories.

I can't wear stillettoes due to arthritis but Cuban or tango heels can smoke as well, especially as one can dance to dawn. The iconic tango images are not necessarily young - often he and she are past 50, sometimes well past 50.
Christina Lee said…
Just came across your blog from Imogen's- I am enjoying reading through it! off to read more- take care!

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