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That Little Black Dress

If there’s one garment that must form part of every woman’s sartorial arsenal it’s the LITTLE BLACK DRESS. From the roaring 1920’s – when the LBD was seen in its sleeveless, V-necked avatar with tassels, to ‘power’ silhouettes in the 1980’s with its exaggerated shoulders, the LBD remains a classic. Which version should you own of this enduring classic in 2016? Read on…

The enduring appeal of the LBD

Designer Mridulika Menon Madiraju tells us, “I feel every woman needs a quick, go-to dress that is flattering and easy to slip on to make her look attractive. The LBD is perfect because it is classic, forgiving and perfect for most evening essentials.” The founder of slow fashion label ‘Samasta’ works primarily with hand-woven fabrics and translates beautiful Indian fabrics to chic western silhouettes. The LBD, as Madiraju, believes is a style staple because it transcends fashion trends and can be appropriate everywhere, from a hip nightclub to an intellectual book reading.

The beauty of black

We agree with Madiraju – black is the most flattering of hues. Wearing black immediately helps to visually streamline the silhouette and makes the wearer looks wonderful in photographs. If that wasn’t enough, black is also the most practical of hues to choose because it survives even the worst of chicken curry spills. So even if you invest in an expensive LBD, rest assured you won’t be heartbroken when someone spills red wine on it.

About the adornments

An LBD is also the perfect canvas to play around with accessories. Be it a bold red lip or a string of pearls, you can choose to accentuate or play down your appearance depending on the occasion. We suggest that you add a pair of classic black pumps if you have an important work meeting or play with colors if you’re attending a party. From a statement necklace to bold make-up, one is never short of options with an LBD.

Indian accent

If you want a variation of the classic black dress, Chennai-based Madiraju suggests: “Now a basic black is boring, so at Samasta we have used handloom fabrics like superfine cotton ikat with a modern motif and combined them with western silhouettes. We have our smart Triangle black dress and a sleeveless jumpsuit in superfine ikat. The jumpsuit is a great take on the LBD as it is the new fashion must-have this season!” Another trendy variation of the LBD is a long maxi dress in black. Pair your maxi with a floppy hat for a beach barbeque or sneakers and a denim jacket for a cool autumn evening.

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Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later.
A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more.
A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!