11 January 2007

Yes, please.

You might have picked up on the fact I like black. A lot. Especially when it comes to evening dresses.

My favorite kind of LBD is a simple one with a slight edginess to it -- like this utterly gorgeous strapless, lace-accented, drape-hemmed bubble frock by Oscar de la Renta that Penelope Cruz wore to an event at Cipriani in NYC last night.

As pretty as it is to look at, this dress is full of difficult cuts that make it one very few women can pull off. But, as you can see on Penny, when it's done correctly, it brings down the house.

Here are some guidelines in case you were thinking about purchasing this or a similar piece:

First, the billowy nature of the bodice will make every woman who tries it on look 10 pounds heavier in the middle than she actually is.

Second, because of the exaggerated sweetheart neckline, the wearer will need just the right size chest (large B/small C) to hold it up. Too small and it will look deflated, too big and your ladies will heave out the top and sides and look lascivious.

Third, because it's tea-length, to rock this dress right, you must have thin ankles. No exceptions.

And fourth, because it's tea-length sans a waist-cinch, it'd do you good to have slim, bird-like calves. To put it in celebrity terms, this is much more a Thandie Newton dress than it is a Jessica Biel dress.

And if all those restrictions hadn't whittled down the field enough, because it's an Oscar de la Renta, you should also have a cool eight grand to drop -- plus another one or two for the shoes and clutch.

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