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Ballin' on a Budget: Back to Black

Any girl who wants to work in PR must remember this—you will need a lot of black dresses.

When the PR team rolls up for a show during Fashion Week, you can always spot them by the sea of black. Black dresses, pants, shirts, blazers and black heels.

Fashion Week lasts, well, a week. That’s a whole lot of black outfits. Granted, everyone’s running around from show to show, sometimes you see editors more than twice a day. No one really remembers what day it is, or if they saw you in that black dress or the other black dress.

The reason PRs wear black is simple. You’re there for the designer—it’s all about them.

But it's still Fashion Week. Everyone’s at the top of their game. And you don’t want to look like a waitress or an usher at a theater.

If you’re simply balling, this is not a problem. There are millions of beautiful black dresses—little and otherwise—to be had. We’d love to have this $470 A.P.C belted dress, but that's one zero too many for ballers on a budget.

Black is harder than it sounds. Sure, every store sells an LBD. You can get them for as low as $15. The problem is, cheap black fabric looks cheap. You can usually tell when a black dress is a cheap dress. It’s got a weird sheen to it. Or it's fuzzy after the first wash. Thrift store black finds are usually that sad non-intentional grey that black clothing becomes after being hung out to dry too many times.

My two go-to stores for this are Zara and Uniqlo. While there are plenty of black dresses in plenty of high street stores, these two are the best for black tops, pants and dresses. Two years ago I got a dress at Zara for fashion week. It’s a mini, with short sleeves, a bow at the waist and a flared skirt. It’s classic, it’s cute, it’s flattering, and it was on sale for $19.99. It also, in two years, hasn’t faded, or torn at a seam, or anything else that often happens to cheap black dresses.

The fabric quality is high here, and the garments are constructed pretty well (for mass produced goods)! Also, they have sizes that aren’t itty bitty. Unfortunately, they don’t go up much past “really not itty bitty,” so I’m often trying to squeeze myself into an XL that won’t go past my hips.

This season, I walked into Uniqlo and saw a number of cute black dresses. This one was the winner. It fit right, it wasn’t too short, it had POCKETS, it was a heavy wool twill that will be great for Fashion Week in February, too, and it felt almost luxe. It’s actually a dark charcoal grey, but as everyone referred to it as my “Little Black Dress,” I think it passed. I’ll probably replace the belt with a skinny leather one, maybe black, or maybe something really bright.

I can’t lie, $49 hurts a little, but it really is a dress that will take me far. It’s one of those outfits that’s totally respectable for a family get-together, looks put together for a meeting, and has a little bit of cool for when you're hanging out with your very cool friends.

If anyone out there has any black dress recommendations, I’d love to know!

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ballin on a budget