17 Black Dress Outfit Ideas That Are Anything But Basic


(Image credit: @alllisonho)

When it comes to our wardrobes, there’s an ongoing divide between two camps: those who live for the biggest color trends of the moment and those who live in black only. Of course, some of us revel in wearing a bold shade as much as a little black dress (ahem, me). But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that some black dress outfit ideas can lack that pizazz that slipping into a colorful outfit does. So how exactly do you make the LBD a little less boring? Ahead, we rounded up some of 17 black dress outfit ideas that will help you add a little color to this colorless staple piece. From casual to cocktail, there’s a pairing in here for every occasion.

1. Black Printed Dress + Cowboy Boots


(Image credit: @styleidealist)

The best thing about black dress outfits is that they’re the staple piece you probably already own. But if you’re looking for a way to add a little flair to that printed black dress in the back of your closet, try pairing it with one of the season’s biggest accessory trends: cowboy boots. It’s a look that will make you want to say, "Yeehaw!”

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2. Statement Coat + Black T-Shirt Dress + Knee-High Boots


(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

Looking for a way to transition your black dress into the fall? Try styling it with a statement coat and knee-high boots. It’s a fail-proof outfit for those crisper days.

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3. Faux Fur Coat + Turtleneck Black Dress + Tights + Knee-High Boots


Faux-Fur Coat + Turtleneck Black Dress + Tights + Knee-High Boots
(Image credit: @emmaleger)

When it gets chiller, you don’t have to put away your favorite little black dress. Pairing it with a faux-fur trim coat, hat, tights, and knee boots is a simple way to get extra wear out of the staple piece even in the dead of winter.

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4. Black Puff Sleeve Dress + Chelsea Boots


Black Puff-Sleeve Dress + Chelsea Boots
(Image credit: @chainkyr)

Nothing beats a puff-sleeve dress if you ask us—it’s the perfect year-round staple piece. To make it feel more fall-forward, pair your dress with Chelsea boots for a perfect black outfit.

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5. Blazer + Black Slip Dress


(Image credit: @femmeblk)

Let’s be honest: You can’t always buy a new outfit for every single occasion, which is why this simple black dress outfit idea is perfect for pulling out in a pinch. Just pair a black slip dress of any kind with your favorite blazer and shoes of the moment for a timeless look.

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6. Black Leather Dress + Statement Earrings


(Image credit: @laurennicolefk)

The key to taking any black dress to the next level is by shopping for unique iterations of it (think: black dresses with embellishments, cutouts, or even leather). Our rule of thumb when it comes to black dresses is "the bolder, the better.” Don't be afraid to opt for a risqué cut or layer on the bling. 

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7. Strapless Black Cocktail Dress + Mules


(Image credit: @alllisonho)

Big night out coming up? Don’t fret over what to wear—whip out or shop for a black cocktail dress and pair it with heels for the perfect look to wear out on the town.

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8. Leather Blazer + Little Black Dress + Ankle Boots


(Image credit: @aimeesong)

What happens when you pair two of the most significant wardrobe staple pieces? You get one of the best outfit ideas to wear season round. Trust us when we say your little black dress and leather blazer deserve to wed in styling matrimony.

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9. Black Button-Up Dress + Colorful Mules + Jewelry


(Image credit: @cassdimicco)

Possibly the most effective way to make your black dress pop is through accessories. Don’t be afraid to layer on necklaces, earrings, and even anklets to make your LBD shine. And if it’s still not bright enough, add in a colorful statement mule for good measure.

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10. Statement Sweater Dress + Ankle Boots + Shoulder Bag


Statement Sweaterdress + Ankle Boots + Shoulder Bag
(Image credit: @aniyahmorinia)

Not going to lie—a black sweaterdress is the hero piece of a fall wardrobe. But if you’re looking to spice up this staple, may I recommend looking for unique iterations of it? Opting for a sweater dress with cutouts, one-sleeve, or embellishments is the perfect way to give this staple a much-needed reboot.

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11. Mesh Turtleneck + Asymmetrical Black Dress + Knee-High Boots


(Image credit: @venswifestyle)

While we all have that black dress we love so much, we know it can be a bit too risqué for those day-to-day activities. You can note this black dress outfit idea and use layering to your benefit. Adding a mesh turtleneck underneath your black minidress or asymmetrical dress and some knee-high boots can make any dress a bit more modest.

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12. Black Maxi Dress + Corset


(Image credit: @sallyomo)

Not to sound like a broken record, but when it comes to spicing up a black dress, layering is the ingredient you need for any outfit. Case in point: this corset is put on top of a black maxi dress. It adds the perfect amount of va-va-voom without bearing it all.

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13. Black Cocktail Dress + Opera Gloves + Sandals


(Image credit: @jeannine.roxas)

Need a way to spice up that black cocktail dress in the back of your closet? Add one of the runway’s most interesting accessory trends: opera gloves. Trust us; it will give that dramatic flair to your outfit.

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14. Embellished Black Dress + Sandals


(Image credit: @shhtephs)

Yes, black dresses are an essential wardrobe piece, but that means that every LBD is actually basic. Case in point: a dress with a bit of crystal fringe. As we re-emerge, there’s no better way to do so than in a black dress, with a little sparkle.

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15. Bucket Hat + Oversized Black Blazer Dress + Jewelry


Bucket Hat + Oversize Black Blazer Dress + Jewelry
(Image credit: @michellaccc)

Don’t want to buy a new black dress quite yet? Take that oversize black blazer and style it as a dress. Bonus points if you add a fun bucket hat and accessories into the mix.

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16. Black Lace Dress + Contrasting Bralette + Boots


(Image credit: @chanelmckinsie)

There’s always that one black dress that veers on the hard-to-style territory. You know the ones where they’re entirely made of lace, mesh, or organza? The easiest way to make that black dress work for you is to lean into the opacity. Invest in some great undergarments, pair them with your favorite boots, and let the dress do the talking.

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17. Black Polka Dot Dress + Contrasting Print Top + Sneakers


Black Polka-Dot Dress + Contrasting Print Top + Sneakers
(Image credit: @thisisjessicatorres)

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve realized that while the black dresses may be a universal staple found in wardrobes, that doesn’t make it any less unique. It all comes down to styling—being unafraid to pair your black polka dot dress with a contrasting top or opting for a unique black dress makes any ensemble one-of-a-kind. 

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Next: 29 Outfit Ideas That Will Make You Excited About Working From the Office

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.