Back to Black

redhead in black 40s style wiggle dress

redhead in black low-backed dress with large messy bun

dress detail

black retro cats eye sunglasses

[Dress: Karen Millen 2010 (competition prize) // Boots: Topshop 2010 // Gloves: gifted // Sunglasses: House of Harlow]

Well, at least if I ever have to go to a funeral in the 1940s, I’ll know what to wear, huh? But only if it’s the funeral of my millionaire elderly husband, who I secretly poisoned in order to steal his fortune and run off with the pool boy, obviously.

I tried to dress this outfit down. No, really, I did. But the second I saw this dress, it spoke to me. It said, “Wealthy widow who is probably also a murderer.” It also said, “DRAMA”. And so every time I wear it, I tell myself I’ll try not to go too over-the-top, and then I find myself saying, “Hey, Terry, know how we were going to go to Nando’s tonight? Change of plan: we’re going to go 1940s Hollywood instead. And we’ll be murderin’.”

Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say here is that this outfit is the “Bad Guy” to my “Good Guy” outfit of last week. I don’t tend to wear black all that often (especially not head-to-toe black, like this), partly because it’s hard for me not to look like a vampire in it, but also because it’s just SO HIGH MAINTENANCE. I mean, I lint-rolled this dress right before we left the house, which was approximately 5 minutes before the photos were taken, but although it looked absolutely fine and lint-free in the mirror, once the sun hit it, it was like Lint City, population: this dress.  That kind of thing drives me mad, and is why I buy lots of pairs of black trousers and then don’t wear them: I’m just a bit too OCD to not be whipping a lint roller out of my handbag every five minutes, and that can be a bit of a mood-killer, don’t you think?

So, why am I wearing all this black when I’ve just said it makes me look like  one of The Undead and drives me crazy? Because I just can’t help myself. You see, it took me a long time to work out that black really wasn’t My Colour. Prior to that, I’d been working on the assumption that black was EVERYONE’S colour, and that it was impossible to go wrong with it. I even went through a phase where it was the only colour I would buy: I think I thought of it as a kind of shortcut to style, in a way. I had absolutely no clue what my style was at that point, and I figured that if I always wore black I’d at least be chic and mysterious, and in this way I would basically trick people into not realising I was actually a hot mess.

I learned. (Well….) But I still sometimes find myself drawn to black. I like the starkness of it. The simplicity. And all too often when a brand brings out a particularly fabulous dress, black will be the only colour they’ll make it in, so I allow myself to be tempted by it, and for some reason that’s been happening more and more frequently recently. Looks like I might need a few extra lint rollers…

Black dress with low v at back

Hi, I'm Amber. I'm a full-time fashion/shoe blogger from the UK, and this is the story of my life, my clothes, and the International Man of Mystery Next Door. You can read more from me at my other blogs, The Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman, and you can follow me on Bloglovin' here.

36 Comments

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Rakhshanda

    You look beautiful <3 This dress is soo pretty!! Love all your looks!!

    Hope you check out my blog!
    http://rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.blogspot.in/

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Sandy

    Wow! That dress is gorgeous on you!

    I find the way to wear black is just embrace the lint…if people are close enough to see the lint then they either A: quite like you so will forgive the lint, or B: standing far to close for a stranger, so therefore it’s their fault they can see the lint!

    Or something like that anyway. :oP

    • Reply February 18, 2013

      Sandy

      Oh for an edit button….
      Too….not to and that random P after the smiley…I was aiming for :P but forgot there were emoticons here!! LOL!

    • Reply February 18, 2013

      Amber

      See, this is the thing: even although I know other people probably wouldn’t notice it (I mean, I never notice it on other people, and surely I can’t be the only one walking around all linty?) it STILL manages to drive me crazy! I can’t even blame Rubin for it, either, because he doesn’t shed hair: this is how Terry always manages to talk me out of buying a kitten…

      • Reply February 18, 2013

        Liz in Paris

        Terry’s absolutely correct. I’ve got cats and the hair gets everywhere! We have lint rollers all over the house – but we adore cats so you takes yer choice… Love the dress, it’s pure drama.

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Rachel

    I love that dress! I wear a lot of black, and red. It’s become a joke now amongst my friends, “What are you wearing? Let me guess red dress and black shoes/black dress and red shoe?” I’m trying to diversify but have just bought a black polka dress! Oh dear ;)

    • Reply February 18, 2013

      Amber

      Haha, I’m exactly the same with the polka dots and green dresses: I like to tell myself I have a signature style, but I suspect I’m actually just really predictable!

      • Reply February 18, 2013

        Rachel

        I tell them it works so I’ll stick with it. I tried to branch out with a dress with unicorns and cupcakes on, I was then told that at 29 I’m too old for that. However as I’m still 18 in my head I’m sure I can pull it off :)

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Maddy

    I love your hair like this, it looks amazing! xxx
    http://unstitchedd.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Ophelia

    You look so fine! (and now Garbage is stuck in my head for the rest of the day)

    Is it strange that I like the back view even more? I kind of want a poster of the second photo to hang next to my lady in red :)

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Erika

    What a BEAUTIFUL dress! Terry is right to talk you out of a kitten. It would be the end of your sanity with all of the hair. As a fan of black and a former cat owner, I know!

    • Reply February 18, 2013

      Amber

      I know – growing up, my grandparents’ had spaniels, and you only had to look at them to be coated in hair: aargh!

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Steffi

    Wow. I actually gasped when I saw the first photo. What a gorgeous dress and outfit, and you look stellar in it!

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    maria

    I love this dress, it looks really great!

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Call me M

    What an amazing dress! And you look gorgeous in it…the back makes it even more special! Black is a high-maintenance color indeed, but I think it’s better than white, where if you spill anything on it, it will stain. At least in black you can’t see the stains as easily. And I do get many of them, I’m like you in this..hehe

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Annette

    Amber, you have done it again… another great post which I had to read from start to end. I love you sense of humour and your style of writing.
    Needless to say that you look fabulous!!

    Annette
    Lady of Style

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Alana

    Such a gorgeously unique dress.

    P.S. Am I just imagining things or did you used to have a Blogger comment form?

    • Reply February 18, 2013

      Amber

      Hmmm, I don’t think so, unless I’m misunderstanding what you mean by that… My site has never been hosted on Blogger, though, so I don’t think that would have been possible?

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Stella Kashmoney

    You are so stylish.

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    Tracey

    You may look like a widow, but you look like an extremely glamorous widow, and really, we all know that that is all that counts.

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Demi

    As a fellow redhead blogger, I gotta say that I figured out early that black isn’t the colour for me either. I think it has to do with having pink-toned skin. That’s okay though because I think I prefer navy blues as the “new black” anyways. That dress would look absolutely faaaabulous though if you accessorized it up to the nines. Something bright and bold and statement-y on that dress would look awesome.

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Sue @ A Colourful Canvas

    Very Vintage Vogue. The only thing missing from the story was the antique automobile.

    And your hair is stunning. I get my hair flat ironed about once a year, just so I can pretend to be glamorous. You just have It!

    • Reply February 19, 2013

      Amber

      Haha, trust me, if I could’ve found one…:)

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Chiara

    You look stunning in this dress. And I love the way black works with your complexion – no vampires in sight.

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Holly

    I actually can’t believe that dress isn’t vintage. It looks fab on you!

    • Reply February 19, 2013

      Amber

      Oh, thank you! That’s exactly what I thought when I first saw it – it really looks like something from an old black and white movie!

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Alison S

    Love the dress, and you look fantastic xx

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Anna

    Looking really beautiful. Good effort.

    Regards
    Anna

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Courtney

    Wow! You look good in everything! So jealous! Keeping working it, girl.

  • Reply February 19, 2013

    Janine

    Looking fabulous! I think this is a perfectly acceptable outfit for popping to Sainsburys on a Saturday afternoon too, no need for a special occasion! Go for it :)

    Also, I really must stop reading your blog so close to bedtime. I read this post last night on my mobile in bed before I went to sleep and then proceeded to have a horrific nightmare where you met Mr Bertie in our local village and he was so excited to meet you (after me telling him all about your blog every time I read it haha) that he brought you home to meet me. You then turned into a man who had murderous tendencies (no joke!) This must be a combination of you talking about all the murdering in this post and Rubin’s blog post when he accused you of being a man in disguise. It was freaky! Ok, now I have suitably weirded you out with my dream, I will leave it there haha.

    PS the outfit was in no way a reason for the nightmares, I love it!!

    Janine xx
    Bake, Glue and Trend!

    • Reply February 19, 2013

      Amber

      OMG, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – how terribly rude of my dream-self! I hope my male alter-ego was at least well dressed – lol!

  • Reply February 20, 2013

    Raluca

    I totally disagree with you, you look gorgeous in this dress, it’s one of my favourite looks, I’m jealous!

  • Reply March 3, 2013

    Charis

    The dress is absolutely AMAZING! I know that if I wore something like that I’d be convinced that I was in a Poirot movie!

  • Reply March 4, 2013

    Ariana

    Sigh…Amber why don’t you just break down and become a model already?! You always look so amazing!!!

  • Reply November 30, 2013

    @harlotqueen

    I think I’ve found a new grrl fashion inspiration http://t.co/UVBOvvvNDB Paste Link First! ;)

  • Reply June 20, 2014

    Selina

    I can’t believe that dress isn’t repro vintage, it is so fabulous!

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