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How to Make a Simple Black Dress Snazzy

Updated on April 6, 2010

Every red-blooded American woman has one. Tucked into a shadowy closet corner it waits for the opportune moment to emerge, dark and slinky. No, not the family skeletons -- the ubiquitous little black dress. Versatile and flattering on all shapes and figures, no female's wardrobe would be complete without one. A black dress is almost never inappropriate for the office, and it's perfect for a night on the town. But what's a girl to do in order to take her black dress from classy professional to chic and snazzy? With the right accessories, it's a simple task to make a plain black dress a little more fancy.

Which accessory do you prefer?

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The right necklace or pair of earrings can either make or break an outfit. It's important to find the right balance regarding the amount of jewelry to don at once. A good rule of thumb when wearing larger earrings to leave off a necklace and slip on a simple bracelet. This is an especially good option for a dress with a higher neckline. Dangling silver earrings look great with a black dress. To add a little more flair, try colored earrings, especially for a less formal event. Of course, diamonds (or an alternative like cubic zirconia) take any outfit to the next level.

Smaller stud earrings are another a classic addition to a black dress, and diamond studs are particularly lovely. With studded earrings, feel free to indulge in a necklace, especially with a lower square or V-shaped neckline. Pendants or simple chains make a quiet statement, and larger, more elaborate necklaces are fun as well. Pearl strings of both the long and short variety look great with a black dress as well.

Go easy with rings -- another good scale here is to wear no more than one ring per hand. When opting for rings, be sure to wear a simple bracelet or even forego one entirely to avoid making the hands and wrists appear too heavy. Again, silver, gold, and precious stones in such items are timeless, but try out more colorful beads and even threaded bracelets or necklaces to add more personal style.


What is it about shoes that catches the eye of a female shopper like no other accessory? The right shoes can take a little black dress from office attire to evening wear. Instead of donning close-toed shoes, try an open-toed pump with a little heel. For those brave and strong-ankled women, add a little more height in the heel to make an even fancier statement.

Also, don't be afraid to add a little color to the feet, especially when wearing plain black. Silver or gold shoes topped by black looks fantastic, and sequins and glitter lend fun and funky evening flair. Feeling really bold? Try a turquoise or pink shoe, although be sure to wear minimal or more simple jewelry with this route.

Scarves and Warps

A little black dress ensconced by the right scarf or wrap can make quite a snazzy statement. A thin scarf draped around a neck is very elegant, as is a full wrap. Even a simple black wrap, perhaps of a gauzy or sateen fabric, takes an outfit to an entirely new level of dressiness. Faux fur is a great cold-weather option, adding both a fancy touch and utilitarian warmth.

Again, colorful options lend new life to a plain black dress. Try a sheer red shawl with a fringe for a night of dancing, or perhaps a green and gold wrap for a dinner party. The options are endless with this versatile accessory. For those with a more creative touch, try using a wrap or scarf as a belt, knotted artfully at the hip.


A unique or dressy hairdo is an "accessory" that has nearly unsurpassed power to make an outfit more formal. Sweep long hair up into a classic twist or bun worn either high or lower at the nape of the neck. Curly crops (or patient women armed with a curling iron) can achieve updos that send sumptuous spirals cascading down the head and back. Add a shiny clip or barrette or even a little flower for extra flair.

Making a black dress more fancy does not have to be a stressful venture. These dress are, in fact, made to be able to easily transition from office wear to evening couture almost at a moment's notice. By using the right combination of accessories, just about any black dress can make a splash at a formal event.

All writing copyright of Beth Morey, 2008.  Previously published on Associated Content. Reproduction/reprinting is prohibited, although linking to this hub as an information source is permitted.

Talk back! How do you like to fancy up a black dress?

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    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      9 years ago from Montana

      Thanks, Red Elf! No black dress? Shopping might be in your future... ;)

    • RedElf profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      I love your opening - great hook and very clever. Had me chuckling. I don't have a black dress right now, little or otherwise, but I may have to go shopping now ;)

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      9 years ago from Montana

      Thank you, Pamela! You can't miss with a black dress. They're great for just about any occasion and every body type.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love black dresses and you made some good suggestions. good hub.


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