Everyone needs a Serious Black Dress

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Forget the notion of the Little Black Dress—that’s for the kids. What I’ve got on my mind on these days is an S.B.D.—one that’s chic, grown-up, and very definitely sophisticated. Like this gorgeous heavy wool twill number, which I could see wearing to a holiday party, or to the office (if I went to one), with a cashmere cardigan.

Click through and check out the silhouette in profile of this lovely crepe dress from Vince—it’s really good.

A satisfyingly flowy dress from Rachel Comey that’s nicely feminine but still un-fussy.

I like the A-line shape of this mock neck dress—so comfortable and relaxed.

And I’m a fan of the elegant neckline here too.

A cute little sweater dress with an appealing bateau neckline.

The drapey neckline here is pretty choice too.

This has something of a restrained caftan shape, which I like, and it’s from Universal Standard, so it comes in a zillion sizes.

Such pretty draping here.

I’ve shown you this va va voomy Veronica Beard dress before, but now it’s available in sizes up to 24, which is great.

I don’t usually go for a turtleneck or a fishtail hem, but I like both of them here.

A ribbed turtleneck sweaterdress that’d be great with a pair of really statement-y earrings.

I’m a big fan of the cowl neck and dolman sleeves here, and the fact that this dress comes off both retroish and modern.

I own and love several Maria Cornejo jersey dresses, and very much like the flattering center ruching here.

This would be very good for one of those work-to-cocktail-party situations.

Another cozy sweaterdress—I’d wear it with big black knee-high boots and tights.

 

A slightly metallic wrap dress that’d be perfect for a party.

The sleeves here are very flattering, and I think the ruching adds a nice bit of interest.

This is tight up top and more flowy in the skirt, which makes it eminently wearable.

A drop-dead (and splurgy) party dress for when you’re looking to make a big impression.

This slightly deconstructed shirtdress looks both comfortable and polished.

This Isabel Marant dress is pricey even marked down (which it is) but I dig the tonal print.

And finally: a well-priced and sweetly sexy velvet option.

 

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Comments

13 Thoughts on Everyone needs a Serious Black Dress
    AK
    3 Dec 2019
    4:13pm

    What a terrific collection! And I appreciate the variety of necklines, silhouettes, etc. featured.

    3

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    Wendela
    4 Dec 2019
    1:35pm

    Thanks so much for these, Kim. I want to try them all on, immediately! I am still learning how to wear dresses- somehow they seem tricky to me but these are gorgeous and I do need a SBD. I love the Vince and Rachel Comey dresses but also wonder about that universal standard sweater dress, which looks so cozy and comforting and has a good neckline. And the Maria Cornejo dress is amazing- I’m not sure where I’d wear something like that (such an interesting combination of sophisticated and sexy but also casual because it’s made of Jersey?) but I covet it. This is a great list.

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    Kathi
    3 Dec 2019
    12:23pm

    I gasped out loud when I came across the ALC dress. Wish I needed a SBD but will file this post away because you never know. What an amazing post.

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    rachel in berkeley
    3 Dec 2019
    11:03am

    YES! Thank you! Appreciate the movement from LBD to SBD. Yet I wonder about holding out for a SND (serious navy dress) because navy seems to be kinder to my aging Scandanavian-Eastern European skin tone.

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    Tally
    3 Dec 2019
    11:06am

    OMG the Veronica Beard one!

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      Emily
      4 Dec 2019
      10:35am

      I tried it on in the spring, and I was so exhausted by buttoning all of the buttons that I had to lay down. 😉 It is a good dress.

      3

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    Sarah McGee
    3 Dec 2019
    9:57am

    Love the dresses! Are you going to be doing a Party in a Top post this season? My favorite!

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      Kim France
      3 Dec 2019
      12:57pm

      Of course! Coming soon.

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    Mindy
    3 Dec 2019
    9:28am

    Wow. Just wow. I wish I had a reason to purchase one of these, but I don’t. So, I will just scroll through again and admire.

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    Robyn
    3 Dec 2019
    9:37am

    This comes as such the perfect time for me because I need to accept and love all my serious black dresses and realize that I don’t need to spend $300 on a “maybe I’ll go to the opera one day” dress. I have so many Grownup Serious Black Dresses (thanks, 12 years in NYC!) that should I be called upon to go to actually go to the damned opera, a pair of heels and some drop-dead earrings will serve me just fine.

    My current favorite Grownup Serious Dress is the Allen Dress from Of Mercer, which somehow manages to combine a bit of the retro feel I love with the polish of a proper badass work dress: https://www.ofmercer.com/collections/dresses/products/black-allen-dress

    But if anyone needs to spend $300 to look like a lithe opera goddess, the black Madison dress from BHLDN/Anthro haunts my dreams.

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      patricia blaettler
      3 Dec 2019
      11:17am

      Wow. Office dressing made so easy by Of Mercer. And I’d never heard of this brand.
      Simple styles with quality fabrics, yes please!

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        D.Morgendorffer
        3 Dec 2019
        11:41am

        That brand is definitely going in the mental file. I am very intrigued by the “blackberry” colored one. I am fair enough to wear shade 000 in rms concealer and have auburn hair with gold highlights. So, certain shades of dark purple can function for me like black, only less harsh. (I like navy as well, but purple is my favorite color. Plus, Bonnie Erbe wears purple in what I like to call her PBS Think Tank Witch Chic.) Good on you for sharing.

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    Eloise
    3 Dec 2019
    8:26am

    Great selections! My favorite affordable one (velvet from Nordstrom) is sold out, though. Sigh.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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