Ever since the iconic Audrey Hepburn dazzled us in her gorgeous dress during “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the black dress has equaled class, sophistication and all around versatility.
Every woman needs at least one perfect black dress, while some women (hmm…I wonder who?) “need” one of every length, style and for every occasion.

breakfast-at-tiffanys

My name is Jen, and I admit, I am a black dress-aholic.
It is my “go to” choice whenever I can not decide what to wear, but still want to look and feel fabulous. In my opinion, every woman, no matter what size, can look great in a black dress. It may take some accessorizing, but going on the hunt is well worth it. This is definitely one of our core essential wardrobe pieces.
Finding the perfect dress for your body type may take some figuring out, but once you determine that, the sky is the limit with thrifting.

Because a black dress is a work horse item in so many closets, larger thrift stores are full of black dress choices. Yes, some are dated, but I find classic styles all the time.
You don’t find one your first time around? Check again and I guarantee with a few “eagle eye” hunts, she’s all yours.
My first dress is sleeveless. I completely understand that not everyone feels comfortable with sleeveless dresses, but remember that if you are going to be a Frugal Fashionista, you want to think outside the box.
Is is a classic? Is is a designer brand? Is the fabric high quality? Then snatch it up. A wrap, cardigan, shrug or sheer blazer/blouse gives you many options if you find something sleeveless for a steal.

Here is the Audrey look in a shorter length version. This fully lined Chaus dress that I bought for $5 at Good Will is perfect for our hot NC summers. I  have a lot of versatility with accessories.
(So, here is what it looks like to be a Frugal Fashionista model on a 90 degree day with your son taking the pictures…)

Create a fun, feisty new look just by changing out the pearls for a hot pink scarf and black earrings. Make sure you play it up a big bracelet as well.
I was thrilled to find this Jones of New York 3/4 quarter length dress marked WAY down due to the season at our local thrift store. My price $2.99. (Clapping gleefully in the dressing room of the store.) This is a style that works on every body type.
I wish I would have taken a close up of my necklace. Don’t be afraid to add drama with black dresses. Often, one focal point completes an outfit. (I’ll share more when I cover accessories).
I wanted to get an estimate of what this would cost new. This is a very similar dress that Jones New York offers, but for summer. “Think flawless fit, timeless elegance and simply chic. Think Cosmopolitan Dress! It’s the dress that will make you feel like a million bucks with every wear!” $124 at the Jones New York site. Yes, it’s a good thing.

The next few dresses I could sleep in, they are SO comfortable (and maybe I just have).
Since my closets need a complete over haul, I have been weeding through those clothes we all have that we would “never wear out in public,” but they are so comfortable. My Frugal Fashionista philosophy is allowing me to throw those out and wear around the house clothes like this. Seriously, I am not a “Miss Priss” by any means, but this dress is more comfortable than any pair of shorts or sweats that I own.
I paid $1 at a yard sale for it.
Why treat it like it’s for a “night on the town” only. My kids are finally ceasing the “where are you going” question, and I am finally feeling like a true Family Manager (well, almost…I have stuffed closet issues, but I’m working on them).

If I want to switch it in gear and dress this up, then this $1 wrap and $1 heels, add instant class.

But this GINORMOUS DOG is always an issue.
This is a perfect hit the grocery store kind of little, black dress. And if I was one of those ladies that play tennis at the club, I do believe this would work. $1 – yard sale.
I got really tired of running down stairs to go out and sweat outside. Yes, my bedroom. 🙂
Now, look at the difference a dress STYLE can make.
Same day, minutes apart. I look 20 lbs heavier below, so learn to accent your best features.
This is actually an Anne Taylor Loft dress that I love. I just picked this pic to show you how before and after’s are done. Isn’t this hideous?
With a really long necklace that comes down past my chest, and a great pair of heels that accent my legs and not the stomach, this dress can be very cute. Is it a dress that I wear if I want to “WOW” someone? No, but it’s comfortable and snuggly warm in the winter. It stays!My old time readers will remember the movie premier that I attended.
While others fretted and pondered, I blessed Good Will for providing just the right attire.
Total cost of my outfit – dress, wrap, shoes and jewelry – $11.75!
I don’t feel very comfortable in spaghetti straps, so this is a perfect example of how I didn’t pass on a beautiful dress, but I added to it, making it even better. (I was just showing off my shoulders for you all. I tied it around for the night. 🙂

This is my third premier, with the others being Black Tie events, and all of them I have dressed thrift. Oh yes, I was dressed in my Good Will glory chit chatting with Jim Caviezel, Jesus from Passion of the Christ,
I am telling you, my friends, reconsider the Frugal Fashionista approach. 🙂


These are just a few of my black dresses, and I am actually sad to tell you that my two favorites never even saw the light of day. I ran out of time, and you are probably getting tired of seeing my dresses anyhow. Some of the other black dresses are “to the ankle” dresses, a black velvet one that I wear at Christmas and a elegant JCREW dress that I bought at their outlet store ten years ago.
It is still in perfect shape. The style is still completely in…it’s a classic, and I have had years of wear out of it.
That is an example of how finding the perfect black dress which is both simple, yet elegant will be your “go to” item for years to come. Quality makes a huge difference.
So even if you are convinced to go thrift, I am all about making an investment in the perfect black dress.

So is having ten perfect black dresses a little overkill? Probably. But when this Frugal Fashionista paid $40 for TEN dresses, I’ll take a little criticism. 🙂 Now, if I didn’t wear them, then that would be different. So off, to clean out the rest of my closet.

By the way…that perfect black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s auctioned off for ONE MILLION dollars. Whew!

Contact Jen

Let's Be Friends

Subscribe to the Beauty and Bedlam Blog

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Beauty and Bedlam.

You have Successfully Subscribed!