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How to Change Up a Black Dress

by Michelle Ullman

The LBD or "little black dress" is a fashion staple that is versatile enough to dress up or down. Start with a basic dress that hits the middle of your knees -- a flattering length for most women. Pencil skirts look good on most body shapes, as long as the skirt follows your shape without clinging. Flared skirts are fun and feminine, especially if you want to conceal your hips or thighs. Once you have the perfect dress, you can change the look with accessories.

Jewelry

The jewelry you pair with your dress makes a big statement. Choose dainty gold earrings or an heirloom locket your grandmother wore, and your style is reserved and elegant. Get a sexy evening look with chandelier earrings or hoops that nearly touch your shoulders. Or go whimsical with plastic, bead or glass earrings, or try a necklace or bracelet in a funky, colorful design. If your dress has a simple neckline, add drama with a big necklace or a pin fastened off-center. Avoid too many pieces of jewelry, however. Piled-on necklaces, big earrings, a wrist full of bangles and several rings is too much. Limit your look to a few eye-catching pieces.

Jackets, Wraps & Tops

Toss a denim, corduroy or canvas jacket over your LBD for a fun, daytime look, or go sexy with a leather motorcycle jacket. A well-cut, flattering business jacket takes your dress to the office. Play up a romantic night out with a soft shawl or wrap in a feminine pastel shade. For a glamorous appearance at a special event, choose a metallic or sequined wrap, sheer blouse or shrug to wear over your dress. Change the look entirely by pairing your dress with a blouse to give the impression of a separate skirt and top.

Shoes & Hosiery

Change up your LBD's look by varying your shoes and hosiery. On a chilly day, pair the dress with heavy tights and ankle boots for a casual vibe. Go funky with bright tights and boots, colorful flats or novelty tennis shoes. If you're heading for the office, match your dress with black hosiery and shoes with a medium heel. If you're heading out for a special evening, bring out the sexy side of your dress with nude hose and strappy high heels in black, a vivid color or even an animal print.

Other Accessories

Change up the look of your black dress with a well-chosen belt. Give your waist definition and add style with a wide, attention-grabbing belt in a contrasting color. If you prefer to downplay your middle, pick a simple black leather belt. Scarves are another option to shake up your dress. A gauzy, floral print is a pretty daytime look, while a soft, cashmere scarf adds warmth and elegant evening style. Your handbag is another important accessory. Colorful, unstructured bags add daytime flair, while leather satchels or small handbags are suitable for the office. An evening out calls for a festive, fashionable clutch to hold necessities without overwhelming your dress.

Photo Credits

  • Charley Gallay/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images