Add a Twist of Fun to Your Little Black Dress

Add a Twist of Fun to Your Little Black Dress

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Do you own that wardrobe staple, the little black dress? The dress that transcends events, seasons and yes, even time. We all do. But even tried and true pieces like our beloved LBDs can use a little saucy va-voom every now and then. Local fashionistas clue you in on how to make your LBD draw a second (or even third) look.

“The biggest way I would change the little black dress is through the accessories,” says Diane Sweeney, owner of Coco’s on Madison. “Through accessories, and through colors, you can change the total look of the little black dress.”

But before beginning the LBD accessorizing process, you should decide which piece of your ensemble you would most like to showcase. For example, do you absolutely adore the dress, and want to make sure that’s the first thing seen, or do your shoes make you salivate at the mouth and should therefore be the featured object?

Or more simply, “Do I want to see the shoe or do I want to see the dress?” asked Vicky Schmidt, co-owner of Envy on Observatory Road in Cincinnati.

Neutral-toned shoes and accessories, in colors such as silver, gold, bronze or white, are better if you’d like your dress to be the first thing noticed about you. However, if you have to-die-for orange pumps, your dress can be the accessory.

Regardless of this question, Schmidt recommends not wearing a black shoe with a black dress, even though some may not feel comfortable wearing otherwise: “Soften the dress by putting on a neutral shoe,” she says.

Once you’ve chosen your featured piece of choice, you can begin the LBD jazz-up procedure. Sweeney recommends adding colors that will contrast nicely with the black, such as red and yellow. Cooler colors such as blue, purple or green will look good also, but warm colors work best.

“I think red and yellow are really popular right now,” Sweeney says. “Some people can’t wear yellow; so if you like the color, it’s a fun way to bring it into the handbag, jewelry or shoes.”

Belts are one of the most important steps for Schmidt, who says switching the belts can keep a dress completely new. Sheath-shaped dresses work best with belts (and everything else, Schmidt says: there are thousands of things you can do with a sheath), but many black dresses lend themselves to this accessory.

Varying width belts are popular this season, such as wide or skinny, but the choice of width depends on your body type, Schmidt says.

“Wide isn’t for everyone,” she says. If someone is tall and skinny, a wide belt cinched at the waist is best. But for more curvy types, a skinnier belt worn at the hip is better, because wearing belts at the hip have an elongating effect, according to Schmidt.

Another popular way to add to your LBD is with a neck scarf, Sweeney says. “Neck scarves are in right now even though it’s summer,” she says. “It’s just a different look, probably not practical, but it’s a cool look.” Again, when choosing the scarf, decide whether you want it to complement or contrast with your LBD.

Season is something else to consider when accessorizing your LBD. In the summer, Schmidt says less is more. A pretty shawl or brooch will do the trick, she says. However, heavy accessories like strands of pearls in addition to belts lend themselves better to winter or fall.

“Clean and basic jumpers that are sleeveless, round necked and straight to floor are great for fall because you can put something underneath,” Schmidt says.

Other accessory recommendations: lots of jewelry, sheer, patterned or colored stockings, dramatic hats and makeup to match.