Michelle Oliver: How to dress up a little black dress

05/03/2014 12:00 AM

10/20/2014 2:45 PM

I am a firm believer that every woman should own a little black dress. They are versatile and perfect for almost any occasion.

I happen to own a few little black dresses, and they all have different characteristics.

One thing I always struggle with is how to style a little black dress differently every time I wear one. I have found that accessories, shoes and coverups seem to do the trick every time.

Accessories can completely transform the look of almost any outfit.

My favorite go-to accessory is a statement necklace. I own about 100 of them and each one serves a different purpose. Some are sparkly, some are chunky and some are ridiculously bright and edgy.

You have to have a clear idea of what look you are going for with your little black dress. That clarification normally comes with what type of event you will be wearing this dress to:

• For weddings, I would tone it down and wear a necklace that is on a small scale.
• For a night out on the town, I would recommend a more edgy alternative like a bright, chunky necklace.

Another great addition in the accessory department would be a clutch or a small handbag. You will need something to put your phone, lip gloss and debit card in.

When it comes to shoes, I would recommend ones that complement the dress instead of takes away from it. I normally will wear black heels with a black dress because they aren’t distracting and tend to make you focus more on the accessories. You can wear a different colored shoe and it will look just fine. If you do, I would recommend you coordinate your shoe to a color that appears in the necklace you are wearing.

Use your best judgment and, like I said, remember the event you’re going to to make sure it’s an appropriate combination.

Choosing the perfect little black dress can be harder than you’d think.

Some have prints on them, some are solid black, some are short, some are long, and the list can go on and on.

I tend to gravitate to the plain black dress. I really like accessorizing and find that if I get a plain dress I have more freedom to style it.

The photo below is a perfect example of styling one of my little black dresses. This dress is plain yet has some simple pleats and hidden pockets, which I love.

I added a blush-colored cover-up to give it some color and to help keep my arms warm.

I highly recommend finding a sweater, blazer or a little jacket of some sort for your dress. You never know when a gust of wind will show up, and you’ll be freezing.

I then added a very sparkly necklace that definitely made a statement.

Throw in some shiny black heels and I was ready for a dinner in Napa. Hope this helps next time you have to shop for a little black dress.

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