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How to Dress Up a Black Dress

How to Style a Black Dress: 10 Accessories to Elevate Your Look

Your LBD has unlimited potential. Unlock it with these 10 accessories.

By Madeleine Kim

What role does the black dress play in our wardrobes today? It would be easier to ask what this longtime classic piece can’t do. The black dress is a timeless staple; it’s a go-to on days when you don’t know what to wear; and it’s a blank canvas that can be transformed for any occasion. It’s a piece with unlimited potential. You can wear the same black dress to a wedding or a funeral. You can wear a black dress to emulate Princess Diana or to cosplay as Wednesday Addams. It’s an item whose simplicity offers a world of styling options—which is great for incorporating versatility into your wardrobe, but potentially problematic if you’re prone to decision fatigue. 

We’re here to help, and in this guide, we’ve outlined ten key accessories that can take your black dresses from work days to weddings, from parent-teacher conferences to holiday parties. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new black dress or simply need some fresh styling tips for your longtime favorites, read on for our top tips on dressing up the always-iconic LBD.

How to Dress Up a Black Dress

Tip #1: Sprinkle in Some Sparkle

The glint of a studded drop earring. The twinkle of a metallic pump. The flash of a bold belt buckle. There are many ways to incorporate sparkle into an outfit, and doing so instantly puts your look into celebratory territory.

Tip #2: Look to Layers

When you’re starting with something as simple and classic as a black dress, the layers you select can really dictate the vibe of the overall ensemble. Want to achieve an elegant yet edgy look? Layer on a vegan leather jacket. Wearing your black dress for a holiday party? Cozy up in a festive sweater.

Tip #3: Reach Great Heights

Want to literally and figuratively elevate your outfit? Simply add a pair of heels. The same shift dress you wear with sneakers and a denim jacket on Casual Fridays becomes a show-stopping piece when you sub in thigh-high boots; and the stretchy work dress you pull out on Monday mornings can be your plus-one to a wedding if you slip on a shiny pair of party shoes.

10 Accessories for Black Dresses


The Martine Earrings

The Maxine dress without jewelry: a chic but subtle office look. The Maxine dress plus the Martine statement earrings: a sparkly, confidence-inspiring, cocktail-party-ready outfit.

The Martine Earrings
The Nina Boots

The Nina Boots

The great thing about a classic LBD is that it can act as a neutral backdrop for high-impact accessories, like the thigh-high knit Nina boots. Try them with your go-to shift dress and watch it transform into a head-turning ensemble that may inspire you to make plans just so you can show off your outfit.


The Nicky Jacket

Adding a leather jacket is an easy way to incorporate some edge into your look. You could wear the vegan-leather Nicky jacket over the Chloe dress for a matching set; but we also love it with a less-expected pairing like the Pauline dress, whose soft A-line silhouette beautifully contrasts the sharp lines of the jacket.

The Nicky Jacket
The Claressa Necklace | How to Dress Up a Black Dress

The Claressa Necklace

Black dress feeling bland? Just add a statement necklace like the Claressa: bold and geometric enough to make an impact, but refined enough to wear regularly.


The Icon Print Anniversary Scarf

Nothing says “sophisticated” like a well-styled silk scarf. Next time you need to accessorize a black dress, try playing around with the washable-silk scarf our Chief Creative Officer designed in honor of our company’s tenth anniversary. You can wear it loosely draped around your neck, knotted up, or even as a headband. Have fun, and make it your own.

mmlafleur scarf | How to Dress Up a Black Dress
The Gwynne Dress

The Gwynne Dress

You heard it here first: You can style a black dress with…another dress. Specifically, the trench-inspired Gwynne dress, which can also be worn unbuttoned as a lightweight jacket. Cut from our made-for-travel OrigamiTech fabric, it instantly gives simple styles like the Maaza a styled and tailored look.


The Merritt Jardigan

Add a fresh splash of contrast to your black dress with the stretchy Merritt jardigan in ivory. For the unacquainted, “jardigan” is a portmanteau of “jacket” and “cardigan”; in other words, it looks like a sharp blazer but stretches like the cozy desk sweater you can’t stop wearing. Try it with the sash for a cinched look, or wear it without for a more relaxed vibe.

The Merritt Jardigan
The Cookie Cardigan

The Cookie Cardigan

Want to transform your go-to work dress for the holidays? Look no further than the festive Cookie cardigan—a piece that’s playful enough to make an appearance at an ugly-sweater party but way too pretty to win.


The Beebe Belt

Nothing transforms a silhouette more comprehensively than a bold, thick belt. Try adding the Beebe belt to your go-to work dress—but only if you’re ready to turn heads all day long.

The Beebe Belt
The M.M.LaFleur x Sarah Flint Perfect Pump

The M.M.LaFleur x Sarah Flint Perfect Pump

Next time you’re a wedding guest, avoid buying a whole new outfit by selecting elevated accessories for a black dress you already own. The shiny and textural pumps we released in collaboration with Sarah Flint would be a perfect choice—and in cypress, they’re subtle enough to rewear to all your events next year and beyond.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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