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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Gabrielle Union's Impressively Chic 2004 LBD

With interesting straps, curve-hugging draping and ahead-of-their-time cutouts, this little black dress had a whole lot going on.
Gabrielle Union at an InStyle/Warner Bros Golden Globes After Party in 2004.

Gabrielle Union at an InStyle/Warner Bros Golden Globes After Party in 2004.

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

When we look back at what was happening with the majority of popular fashion trends in the year 2004, we most likely don't tend to think of descriptors like "refined," "elegant" or "timeless." But even amid all of the thoroughly maximalist, faux-fur-trimmed, rhinestone-adorned, terrycloth-draped, logo-swathed looks of the day, the little black dress remained a reliable standby. See, for example, the one Gabrielle Union wore at an InStyle/Warner Bros Golden Globes After Party that year. 

With interesting straps, curve-hugging draping, a bustier-adjacent bodice and ahead-of-their-time cutouts, the dress had a whole lot going on, technically speaking. But it also was incredibly classic, even minimalist (especially considering the dominant style context of the day).

Union let the LBD lead this look, and chose to keep her makeup simple, letting her perfect complexion shine and accenting it with a classic red lip. She pulled her hair back in a tidy updo, and then appeared to have one hell of a time that night, at one point posing for a photo grinning next to Wilmer Valderrama — a very 2004 thing to do.

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Gabrielle Union posing with Wilmer Valderrama, an extremely 2004 thing to do.

Gabrielle Union posing with Wilmer Valderrama, an extremely 2004 thing to do.

The only choices that could potentially place the look in 2004 have to do with accessories: The lack of jewelry is actually incredibly chic and refined; the chunky lime clutch and paillette-adorned heels, less so. (Hey, it was the aughts.)

Shop some similar draped and cut-out little black dresses in the gallery below.

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