When I first posted about my closet crisis I mentioned how not having a basic black dress was the catalyst for realizing I needed a new approach to my wardrobe. I initially set $250 as my budget to buy a nice, versatile black dress but that was easier said than done - this is apparently not the price point for black dresses as the ones I found were either too high or too low. So, I decided to give myself a few months to decide if saving $500 for a black dress was something I wanted to do but in the meantime I didn't feel I could wait a few months to have a black dress in my closet.
I purchasing this Nic and Zoe dress from Nordstrom Rack for $96 and although its a softer material that I was looking for it did meet my big requirements of having sleeves and a flared skirt. For being a heavy knit it has pretty good structure and I'm very pleased with the purchase and the quality of this brand - I see future items making their way into my closet.
In general I think one should always have the items in their closet for the following occasions - a nice dinner / cocktail party , a formal event , a business meeting , and a funeral. Obviously a little black dress is not going to work for a formal event and while I might typically have individual outfits for each of these occasions a black dress is a good starting piece as it can be made to work in a variety of situations. And sadly I did wind up needing my dress for a funeral recently.
Here's some of the ways I've turned my one purchase into the work horse of my closet:
When attending a funeral I think classic and understated is best. Here I'm wearing some plain gold earrings, a pearl necklace and kitten heels and carrying a non flashy purse.
When it comes to business wear I think this is the one area where women have it easier as we can throw on a blazer and bam - professional. Ordinarily I would wear a suit to an interview but for some jobs that's too stuffy, and sometimes buying a new suit isn't in someone's budget. My blazer add a little more structure and polish but also a little character without being loud or distracting.
My office is actually very casual so even this look is "dressed up" at my office, but I recognize that most people do need to dress business casual during the day. Although there's nothing inappropriate about this dress on its own for the office I think a fun cardigan brightens the whole outfit and looks less formal. I wearing boots here but I'll switch to ballet flats as the weather warms.
For the weekends adding a denim jacket gives the dress a laid back vibe and adding accessories like a scarf or wearing different shoes is a great way to get two different looks with the same two pieces.
When going out to somewhere a little nicer but not an event I'd want to buy a new outfit for I like to add some sparkly accessories (you cant see my fun earring here, boo). After Easter I will wear my white glitter heels and carry a white clutch but until then my silver wedges work. The black dress is also a good way to let jewelry be the star of the show - my necklace here was a Christmas gift from my husband and is made with crystals.
One dress, six looks - I'm pretty pleased with the return on my investment.