What ever happened to that 'little black dress'?
As the weather gets warmer and we shed our winter skin, we are able to dress up a little more. There is no salt or snow on the streets, so we can liberate the fabulous pumps that have been hibernating in our closets for the past season.
In warm weather, dresses are genius. They are one-piece ensembles that zip up as easily as they come off.
Some of us got a taste of this delicacy while partying it up on spring break. For all those who were unable to break out, spring will soon be here to enjoy.
One of the best ways to welcome the season is through finding a great dress to dazzle in. Who could argue with a confident woman in a kick-ass dress?
Interestingly, a trend that has caught my attention is why young women don't dress up more. It is understandable that during the school week students worry more about upcoming tests that looking absolutely fab; but is the college realm too relaxed?
Times have changed from the creation of the original Chanel black dress. Women have become more liberated and less pressured by society to "dress like a lady." I definitely appreciate the societal norm allowing me to roll into class with sweats on, but I feel like our generation is simply missing something.
And though I hate to say it, that something is class. Not your 8:50 lecture, but rather proper taste in dress. Many college students wear what is comfortable to them, usually excluding a nice dress or blazer. It seems almost deviant. Our parents made us dress up for special occasions, and since beginning college, we have explored the freedom of not being told what to do (or what to wear).
This freedom also comes from us not having to work a 9-5 in working attire. Why dress up now when you will have to in a 'real' job? "Live in the moment," my roommate tells me, as he throws on the same t-shirt he wore yesterday. I guess we do have that added pressure after college to grow up, in both our professional and fashion lives.
Although it may hang over our heads, it is not a definitive reason why we can't look and feel our best. Like getting dressed for a job interview, we want to impress. Whether it is the internship of a lifetime or a job to keep your parents off your back, we want the rest of the population to take us seriously.
Beyond the job search, we students are judged by our elders based on what we wear. Of course they are going to think our shorts are too short and we wear too much makeup. It is their job to be critical of the people who will eventually take over.
Aside from our fashion responsibilities to others, what about to ourselves? I personally feel like I can take on the world when I have a great pair of heels and a comfortable, chic dress on. This world may be the Madison bar scene or yuppie bars in South Beach; it doesn't matter.
Through my little black dress, I exhibit my high standards of fashion and feel beautiful. I look to Audrey, Grace and Marilyn as strong, confident women who dressed up not only because they were famous but also because they appreciated the perks of being female.
What bothers me is that dressing up can also carry status stereotypes. Dating from forever ago, dressing up was a luxury that only the high status members of society could exhibit.
In today's world, there are ample opportunities for a person of any status to look their best. We have access to these luxuries, yet they still may carry connotations from the past.
This is extremely unfortunate because it can hold us back from expressing ourselves. Many people dress down because they don't want to look like they are trying too hard or be viewed as 'better' than another person. It is obvious that a girl in a dress is not 'better' than a girl wearing jeans.
I am calling for a re-birth of old-school style, not societal norms. Everyone has reasons why they dress the way they do. There was a reason why Chanel made that little black dress. She did not come from the upper class but wanted every woman to feel beautiful. As Christian Dior put it, "With a black pullover and ten rows of pearls, she revolutionized fashion."
Don't judge the 'little black dresses' of our time; embrace them. They can offer a whole lot more to our personal style and journey to adulthood than dressing monotonously.
Melissa Eisenberg is a sophomore planning to major in journalism. She can be reached for question or comment at [email protected]