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Who wore it better: Meryl Streep or Meryl Streep?

The black dress - still good, 30 years later.

The little black dress: the right one and the one for right now.

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She rocked it at the Oscars in 1979 and then brought it out for the BAFTAs in 2009 – so, who wore that black dress better? Meryl Streep or Meryl Streep?

While there’s no prizes for guessing who the award goes to, this screen hero proved, once again, that style is ageless and there is nothing wrong with thriftiness.

She is, after all, the woman who once said, ‘You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing’.

Ironing or not, there’s another takeaway from the legend that is Streep: and that’s the value of finding the perfect little black dress, the one that will see you through the years (or in her case: decades).

The legacy: the little black dress.

It’s the dress that’s like a second skin. Pioneered by Coco Chanel, you should feel beyond comfortable in it, beyond confident.

Says London-born designer Stella McCartney: “The little black dress is something to rely on – to fill you with confidence and ease.”

The black dress has long been a fashion symbol: it went from being a mid-century icon (thanks Audrey), Liz Hurley wore hers with safety pins and Princess Diana made hers the revenge dress to put all other revenge dresses to shame (sucked in Charles).  

And so, it’s reinvented season after season as designers make it their own. So, how can you find the perfect LBD for you?

Make like Meryl: how to find the RIGHT little black dress

Looking for a dress that will see you through the decades? The right black dress – like LOVE – is all you need.

Before you cough up the cash, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:

What can you wear it with? Karl Lagerfeld said, ‘one is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress’ – it’s the ultimate multitasker, taking you from desk to date to dinner and wherever else you can dream of. Make sure you can wear yours with your favourite heels, with slides, with flats and – most importantly for those in-between occasions – with white kicks.

Can I move in it? Wedding buffet? Don’t hold back. Limbo? You go girl. You need a dress you can move (and breathe) in. Don’t go for anything too tight. If you want something figure-hugging (calling all the single ladies), go for a ponte fabric or anything with a little give.

Is it MINE? You want something you can OWN (see the next question), that screams, I got this no matter what the situation at hand is.

Do I feel like Beyonce / Rhi Rhi / Tay Tay with their powers combined (kind of like Captain Planet)? The answer to this should always be YES. Remember this is an investment, not an expense.

And, the dress that’s right for right now.

For those trying to save. Dresses under $100.

These are you feel-good, quick fixes that won’t break your bank. We’ve dug up black dresses that are a total steal (and on sale!). 

For the just-because.

These were our faves we found while searching - just in case you didn’t get enough above. 

Want more? Explore.