Dare to be different

When it comes to wardrobe staples, the little black dress is always at the top of every woman’s shopping list. Books have been written about it. There are arguments in the fashion world over who really popularized the little black dress as a modern wardrobe staple. Was it Yves St. Laurent who primarily worked with black fabrics for years? Or was it Hubert de Givenchy, the designer of arguably the most famous little black dress, in his costume for Audrey Hepburn in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We all have at least one and we can never seem to have too many. The little black dress is almost always a safe sartorial choice.

If you really want to stand out at your next event, instead of buying an outrageous print or item that’s so unique you can only wear once or on occasion, dare to be different and invest in a little navy dress this fall. Thirty six percent of all women’s clothing purchased is black — navy comes in at a paltry five percent across all women’s clothing. It’s rare to hear a friend looking for a little navy dress, especially one intended for the evening or special events. Navy suits and casual wear are common and easy to find, but something a little dressier is rare.

Navy is often overlooked as the preppy neutral, but it is just as versatile as the little black dress. Navy is actually universally flattering to more skin tones than black. Jewel tones in general make your skin glow in a way that gray or black cannot. Navy is the softer, more cerebral version of the little black dress. Blue, after all, is the color we associate with trust and intelligence. Our Lawson cocktail dress looks polished, sophisticated, chic — and not the least bit preppy especially with the right accessories. Navy is understated and always elegant.

You can make navy fit your personal style in the way black does not. Wearing black always telegraphs a more urban style no matter where you are. All black outfits always drum up thoughts of New York City, even for people who have never been or lived in the city. Leopard print shoes or a cheetah coat paired with a black dress is a bold and slightly edgy look. The same prints paired with a navy dress, instead softens the look and is more retro than edgy.

Colored accessories, especially Kelly Green or Schiaparelli pinks, look far more vibrant when worn with navy rather than black. Sure, black is the ultimate neutral since it’s the combination of all colors. But black paired with certain colors, like yellow or orange, can make your overall look harsh or downright campy. No one wants to look like they got lost on their way to a college football game or costume party.

A navy dress also allows you to pull together a chic, monochromatic look. Shades of blue coordinate much easier than shades of red whose undertones vary from blue-reds to orange-reds. For the evening whether it’s a dinner or party, I love to wear the Lawson cocktail with a pair of aquamarine earrings, a London blue topaz ring I inherited from my mother and a costume necklace made of various shades of blue pearls.
I also like to pair the dress with our English Garden scarf, which has a Tiffany blue border for more daytime or more casual parties where I still need to dress up. The A-line silhouette makes it easy to top with a jacket or shrug when it’s chilly. The ultra lux silk wool fabric is rich and interesting enough to stand on it’s own with a simple strand of pearls, as well. Costume designer Debra McGuire created a more youthful look for Zooey Deschanel on Fox’s New Girl adding a collar and pairing the Lawson cocktail with tights and flats.

The simplicity of the overall design creates a perfect sartorial canvas no matter what your personal style is and navy has a way of never looking out of place. A little black dress in the middle of summer can look out of place, while navy works whether it’s July or January. The little navy dress — it’s the wardrobe staple you never knew they needed.

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