Category Style Inspiration

10 Ways to Wear the Little Black Dress

00-Ten-Ways-to-Wear-The-Little-Black-DressOne thing that Beth and I want to stress as we are on this #DressWellDoGood journey is that we are not about increasing the amount of things that we are buying. We are not about buying things just to buy them. We don’t want to be about consumerism, even though that is frequently what fashion is about. We are not even about buying things just because they support a good cause, which can frequently move us to purchase something we don’t need!

We think we can combat one consumeristic view of fashion by utilizing clothes that get miles of wear. Versatility is key! And today we want to demonstrate what we mean by that with the traditional LBD – little black dress.

I have had this black shift dress that I inherited from my mom since 2012.  She purchased it in the early 2000s. We thought this simple dress would be a great example of versatility. Beth & I flat-styled it with jewelry and clothing that we already owned. Let’s get started, shall we?

Little Black Dress – Boho


Kimono from Beth’s 4th Stitch Fix – Papermoon Mauna Mixed Print Sheer Open Cardigan made in the US / Noonday Bethe Rope Necklace / Giving Keys XL Necklace / Noonday Octagon Hoop Earring / Noonday Delta River Bangles /Noonday Laguna Cuff / leather purse from Torino, Italy in 2005 / thrifted T-strap sandals (similar ethical version here)


The drapey kimono contrasts with the structured shift dress to create a more casual silhouette. Layering the long necklaces gives a traditional bohemian feel, and the hobo-style clutch rounds out the laid-back outfit. This combinations is great for a more casual work environment or weekend brunch.

Little Black Dress – Animal Print


ThredUp (*referral link) Thrifted Animal Print Cardigan / Noonday Monaco Necklace / Arched Arrows Earrings / Noonday Woven Wonders Cuff / Brass Cuff from Etsy / Booties from BC Footwear/ Old Navy teal skinny belt


A black dress and cardigan is a pretty traditional pairing, but we gave it a little twist by adding some animal print on the cardi. The skinny teal belt adds a pop of color in an otherwise neutral outfit, and simple booties round out this work appropriate look. The Monaco necklace really adds a level of sophistication. If you are a classic style girl and looking for a great piece, this is the one for you!

Little Black Dress – Work Blazer


ThredUp (*referral link) Thrifted Stripped Blazer / Noonday Tidal Necklace / Noonday Resin Wood Bangle / Noonday Crescent Moon Earrings / purse and shoes from DSW


We decided to try a play on blues for this look, using cobalt, teal and navy as the accent colors to the LBD. Staying within a color range is always a great way to play with color! The blazer adds a bit of texture and some more structure for this meeting appropriate work look.

Little Black Dress – Preppy Polka Dots


Noonday Botanical Bag / Noonday Scattered Steps Necklace in Plum / Noonday Empress Earrings / Old Navy Polka Dot Button Up / Thrifted from Ebay Mustard Cardigan / Shoes from Target in 2005


Pattern mixing is all the rage right now, but if you are nervous to try two patterns on your body, it’s easy enough to add some interest with a bag! By pairing the small scale polka dots with the larger woven flowers, the contrast in scale makes this pattern mixing work! And layering button-up shirts with cardigans is a quick way to look polished and put together. Black and white are not great colors against my skin, but black dresses are so versatile! I combat this by adding a statement necklace in ‘my best hue’ as described by Hillary and Jesse during Noonday Style School or adding a cardigan in a color that complements my complexion.

Little Black Dress – Edgy Casual


Be Kind Sevenly T-shirt / Noonday Roar Necklace / Noonday Large Cow Horn Hoops / Noonday Botanical Bag (the back!) / Noonday Gold Etched Bars Bracelet / Wrap bracelets are vintage Noonday, found here / gifted mustard tights / Black Booties from Nordstrom Rack


An easy way to dress down a structured dress is to throw a t-shirt over it! That instantly brings a more casual feel. Here, we tied a knot at the side to cinch in the waist and added some mustard tights to bring some color interest. The texture from the clutch works well with the graphic tee text, and the Roar Necklace adds just a little more edge.

Little Black Dress – Concert Ready


Noonday Botanical Bag / Noonday Arabian Nights Bracelet / Noonday Cobalt Feathered Fringe Earrings / Noonday Pagoda Necklace / ThredUp (*referral link) Thrifted Jean Vest/ Thrifted Espadrilles (similar here and here)


Denim and black are a complimentary pairing that will work just about every time. Here, because it’s hot in Austin, we paired the dress with a casual denim vest (a denim jacket would look great as well), some hip fringe for earrings and necklace, and a bright crossbody purse to set everything off. I am all about the denim vest right now because it dresses everything down and is a layer I can pull off in the Texas heat (most of the time!). I especially love wearing it over tops that would otherwise require a strapless bra because it hides my bra straps while adding style!

Little Black Dress – Summer Travels


Noonday Vintage Feather Fringe Earrings / ThredUp (*referral link) Thrifted Cargo Vest / Hand Knit Aristida Shawl (by Beth!) / Noonday Bethe Rope Necklace (as bracelet) / Vintage Noonday Coral Sophie Square Bracelet / Tom’s Chambray Sandals (linked similar) / very old ebay thrifted purse


When styling a neutral clothing item, take advantage of pops of color! For this outfit, the neutral khaki, neutral dress, and neutral scarf serve as background for the bright purse and colorful earrings! The scarf serves double duty since it can be used as a shawl if your arms get cold on the airplane.

Little Black Dress – Casual Fall Transition


Vintage Noonday Earrings / Vintage Noonday Purple Tassel Necklace / Vintage Noonday Purple Scarf/ Vintage Noonday artillery bracelet / very old ebay thrifted purse / Sandals from DSW (similar here)


Layering with chambray tops is a reliable standby for us. It makes this LBD more casual and adds interest. Purple and yellow/gold are complimentary colors, which makes everything appear cohesive. Adding a button-up over a dress is a great way to get more mileage out of your wardrobe because it really will make your dress look like a totally different piece!

Little Black Dress – Winter Wear


ThredUp (*referral link) Thrifted Poncho / very old Old Navy striped t-shirt / Express skinny belt / thrifted ombre heels / Vintage Noonday Acai Bead Necklace / Noonday Sahara Hoop Earrings / Old clutch purse


Layering a bulky sweater over a sleek dress is a fun way to play with scale and texture. Again with the pops of color over the neutral stripes, poncho and dress. The belt cinches in the waist to keep the proportions flattering.

Little Black Dress – Fancy Night Out


Ellie’s Nana’s pearls / Beth’s Nana’s clutch / thrifted heels / StitchFix Scarf/Shawl (*affiliate link) / Kendra Scott earrings 


Sometimes a string of pearls and a good pair of pumps go a long way to dress up an outfit. Here, a light-weight scarf serves as a wrap to add a bit of texture and color to this simple outfit.

We hope that this will encourage you to play with items that are already in your closet and try new combinations to extend the life of your clothes! And if this post makes you put together some new combinations, we want to hear about it! Comment here or tag us on Instagram at #DressWellDoGood.

Not everyone has a hand-me-down like this in their closet, so if this post makes you think you might need a little black dress, we have some suggestions for you from companies that are doing their part to be ethically conscious: Fair Indigo – Square Neck Organic Fair Trade Dress, Threads for Thought – Sienna Dress,  Raven + Lily – Madina Hand Emroidered Sleeveless Dress (on sale!), People Tree – Naomi Party Dress (on sale!), Everlane – Silk Tank Dress, and Elegantees – Lindsey Dress.