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Which Dress Is Best: Carven vs. Yves Saint Laurent

Left: Carven; Right: Yves Saint Laurent

If there was a Hunger Games-like contest where detailed, dramatic clothing prevailed, both of these little black dresses would die in the first minute.

They’re both so timeless I can barely keep them straight, except for their materials and price tags. The Carven black dress (in a heavier, slightly shiny taffeta) costs $660, while the Yves Saint Laurent one (a lighter, sportier jersey) costs a cool $2,475.

But that’s pretty much where the differences stop. Both dresses are boat-necked, cap-sleeved, nipped-waisted and full-skirted. (Yeah, the Yves Saint Laurent dress has little shoulder ties, but we doubt that’s why it's $1,800 dollars more.)

Owning a piece of Yves Saint Laurent ready-to-wear— especially from one of Stefano Pilati's last collections—would be kind of amazing, since we're sure the tailoring is top notch. But the same goes for Carven, an equally covetable French label with (slightly) more reasonable prices and a celebrity following including Blake Lively and Emma Watson.

So it's a little hard to pick a winner amongst these tributes. Maybe the Yves Saint Laurent dress can slide into different situations more easily: the fabric's not shiny or stiff-looking, so it could realistically be a formal dress or a daytime one. Conversely, we'd imagine the Carven is too high-octane for the office, so it might be more limited.

But it's also about four times less expensive than its Yves Saint Laurent counterpart. For the price of the Yves Saint Laurent dress, you could buy the Carven one and pair of those obsession-inducing YSL “Tribute” sandals. (Fitting name, eh?) Oh, and still have $1,000 left over for jewelry, a clutch and a coat... and a fairly decent seat at the ballet.

Which would you pick?

Yves Saint Laurent dress: $2,475

Carven dress, plus all of this: $2,395

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