Stylists see the black dress as a blank canvas
Posted: Friday, October 3, 2008 10:28 pm
AP Fashion Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — How to do more with less? When it comes to fashion, the answer usually lies with mixing and matching.
A little black dress— it could be new or several seasons old — can look modern and fresh with the right snakeskin heels, a cozy long-sleeve tee, a leather jacket or a bunch of bangles.
Choosing the perfect pieces doesn’t always seem easy, but it can be, say stylists Kate Young and Anda Gentile.
Young and Gentile are among the fashion insiders responsible for striking the balance between fashion-forward and wearable in the styles we see on runways and red carpets as well as in advertisements and magazine spreads.
They both say a classic black dress is one of their favorite canvases. In fact, for a new video series on Style.com called “The Stylist,” Young picked a pretty, plain black sheath to work her magic.
The idea, she says, is to show viewers how a dress with minimal hanger appeal can turn into a “Wow!” outfit. Other pieces to get this treatment in other segments include a ruffled shirt and high-waisted pants.
The noteworthy detail on this particular black dress — a $129 Kenneth Cole version from Dillard’s — is the zipper that runs down the front, but it’s one that allows the look to go in so many different directions.
“You could wear a button-down under it, you can wear it over pants, leggings, even leather leggings. If you’re thinking about work, a simple black dress like this — you could wear it with a tweed jacket and then take that jacket off and put fishnets on and wear it to dinner,” Young says.
Each layer you add to the outfit adds a bit more personality to your look. “I love layering, it’s why I prefer fall as a fashion season. It’s much easier to have a defined style when you have layers to work with.”
Gentile would like to see the dress worn with a cropped leather jacket and either a classic dainty pearl necklace or layers of bracelets. Diamond-stud earrings would work with the dress anytime, any day, worn any way, she says.
“I would do anything in this kind of dress. I would wear color and so could the woman who is a little more sophisticated or has a job like a banker — you would just have to be careful of the specifics,” Gentile says. A red scarf, for example, might be OK for a situation that red stilettos would not.
But, she adds, colored heels certainly would get you attention during a night on the town.
The little black dress wouldn’t be the timeless classic that it is without all the versatility it offers, Gentile says. “In a dress like this you could be Edith Piaf, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn.”
Published in The Messenger 10.3.08