For as long as modern fashion history goes back, the “little black dress” has been every woman’s safety when it comes to cocktail attire.
Traditionally however, black dresses were slightly less festive, primarily reserved for mourning.
So while the LBD is flattering, sexy, will match any pair of shoes, is a great backdrop to your favorite necklace and is unfailingly chic, the black dress can also be a bit serious and sad... not to mention expected.
And then there is that small problem that a black dress doesn’t show up well in photographs, all of its details fading, well, into black….
Seriously. Enter any party in a red dress and you’ll part the sea of black, everyone’s head turning your way.
Red is bold. Red is bright. Red is sexy. Red is chic. Red is definitely not sad.
And red is perfect for the holidays, which, for fashion’s more faint of heart, is a great excuse to ask Mrs. Claus to step aside and put your own red dress on.
Red is great on blonds. It’s great on brunettes. It’s great on redheads. It is regal when paired with silver hair. It’s as versatile as black… if you are brave. Why do you think Christian Louboutin chose red as the color of his signature soles? Why did Valentino make red his trademark color? Why? Because red is the color of fire. It’s the color of roses. Red is both powerful and seductive.
Red is the color of woman.
Thinking of the most iconic red dresses, the first one that came to mind was the deep crimson gown Audrey Hepburn wore in Funny Face when she was modeling on the stairs of the Louvre (pictured above).
Then there is Scarlet O’Hara in her many shades of red in Gone with the Wind.
There is the dress Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman when she re-emerged after her day of shopping, transforming into one of the most elegant and sophisticated “escorts” the world has ever laid eyes on.
Red was the color chosen for Jessica Rabbit’s slit-up-to-there, only-in-a-cartoon-would-that-stay-up gown.
We have Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in their red-hot sequin numbers in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
And then there is Kate Middleton who wears red in the most sophisticated of manners.
Regardless of how you wear it, red attracts attention. While I’m not sure I’ve met a woman who wouldn’t wear red, if putting a red dress on a certain night seems a bit much and the red soles of your Louboutins too little, you can always compromise with a measured dose of statement red: A red lip... and wear it with your black dress.
A red lip, if done right (and not worn with stripper heels and a Hervé Leger bandage dress), always finishes a look. It should make you feel polished and refined. If it doesn’t, wipe it off… and find a nice red nail polish.
However you decide to wear it, find a way to work a little red into your everyday style. Not only will it brighten up your Yuletide game, but it will unfailingly add a little intrigue to an otherwise bland, everyday look. Deep reds, like burgundy and garnet, are mysterious and intriguing. Vivid, cherry reds are more lively and flirtatious, but ultimately the more classic choice. All reds are romantic. Choose a red to suit your mood… and kiss black goodbye.