Black Tube Dress

African American woman in a black tube dress

Not for the timid, a black tube dress adds instant sex appeal to any wardrobe. This form-fitting piece is more flattering to certain types of figures than others, but individuals who wouldn't normally wear it needn't worry. A new breed of tube dresses has brought several new cuts and styles to the forefront. Today's version is a bit more versatile than the traditional.

About the Tube Dress

You may be more familiar with tube tops than tube dresses. Tube tops are strapless and sleeveless. Essentially, they are wide bands of stretchy material that hug the chest. They're often cut short enough to bare a substantial amount of midriff, but other styles are longer and provide more coverage of the stomach. Generally, tube tops are the preferred choice of club-wear for women who wish to show off a little skin, but they're also favored during the summer.

Naturally, the popularity of the tube top paved the way for fresh takes on the look. Given its very simple, uncomplicated cut, there was nowhere for the tube top to go but south - quite literally. The new style turned the top into a dress. Tube dresses feature the same arm- and shoulder-bearing characteristics of the tube top, but are longer (in some cases, only slightly) and provide at least partial coverage of the lower body.

The tube dress enjoyed popularity throughout the late 20th century, with now-retro styles reining supreme during the 1970s and tight, body-hugging versions doing their time in the '90s. The new millennium welcomed a new crop of tube dresses to the mix, boasting more flattering cuts, less snug fits, varying lengths and even unexpected details, like zippers and buttons. Though they didn't meet the definition of the traditional tube dress, they came as a relief to those who had long shied away from the none-too-discreet, original tube style.

The Modern Black Tube Dress

The black tube dress is a multifaceted item, indeed. Despite its strong preference as a sexy, dancing-all-night-long garment for women worldwide, it also has a softer, more feminine side. Depending on where you plan to wear the dress and how you style it, you just might be able to pull off the dress in situations you would never have considered before.

Where to Wear It

Your fitted black dress can see you through a number of occasions, including:

  • Beach trips and walks on the boardwalk
  • Dressy affairs
  • Costume parties
  • Casual days out

Shopping Tips

Shopping for the occasion is key. You wouldn't wear a Juicy Couture tube dress to the opera, but you could certainly wear it to a beach party. Similarly, you probably wouldn't be comfortable donning a heavily detailed, lacy tube dress for relaxing in town with your girlfriends, but you could definitely wear it to that opera.

It's also important to recognize that, though tube tops have a standard definition, designers don't always adhere to such strict rules when it comes to creating fashionable tube dresses. You may find styles that feature a lone strap or even criss-cross straps for support. Occasionally, some designers will designate a sheath-style dress as a tube dress. The majority of tube dresses, however, are strapless and sleeveless.

What to Buy

Anyone on the hunt for a particular type of black tube dress need not worry; there is a style to suit every occasion!

  • This Adelyn Rae Maddie Woven Lace Tube Dress brings a touch of elegance to the fray with its lace overlay and bell sleeves. It's the perfect choice for a dressy party or event. If there's a chill in the air, simply throw on a lightweight wrap to warm up.
  • Jazz up your LBD with a pop of color. This Embroidered Floral Tube Dress from Forever 21 features an asymmetrical embellishment of embroidered roses. Throw a blazer over it and go from work to date night in this catchy ensemble.
Black Tube Dress