10 Ways to Reinvent Your Little Black Dress

The little black dress — aka LBD — is a mainstay in any stylish woman’s closet. Audrey Hepburn made the style famous when she played Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s — and it’s very likely you have at least one in your closet, too.

Little black dresses are known for their versatility. You can dress them up, down, and wear them just about anywhere — within reason. But if you wear the same dress time after time, it’s bound to feel more like a uniform than a style statement. Below, we’ve found 10 innovative ways to hit the refresh button on this wardrobe staple.

1. Slip a shirt underneath

Actress Emma Stone attends "The Croods" premiere

Wearing a shirt underneath makes your LBD perfect for any season. | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Your treasured, yet decidedly summery, strapless dress may be perfect for the warmer months, but it’s taking up closet space come fall. Our advice? Slip a thin sweater or T-shirt underneath your dress. The ’90s have been making a major comeback over the past few years, and this simple tweak to your LBD will look current without being too trendy. Plus, when did adding an additional layer hurt anyone?

2. Break out a new pair of shoes

Emma Greenwell attends Miu Miu Cruise Collection show

Emma Greenwell shows the power of funky shoes. | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

When paired with traditional black pumps, your LBD deserves a one-way ticket to Boringsville. An easy way to spice up your style is with a pair of statement shoes. Whether studded, velvet, or metallic, a pair of high-octane shoes will pull the attention away from your dress and onto the fabulous pumps or flats.

3. Keep it professional

Nicole Warne attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show

Nicole Warne looks beyond sophisticated by adding a blazer to her black dress. | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Take your LBD from cocktail party to cubicle with a smart, fitted blazer. You might not wear a blazer beyond the confines of your office, but it’s an easy way to take your wardrobe staple from day to night.

4. Rethink your makeup routine

A model presents a creation by Galia Lahav

Adding a pop of color is unexpectedly refreshing when you go with an otherwise classic look. | BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a wonder how much of a difference makeup can make. If you’re guilty of rocking the same smoky eye every time you wear your dress, rethinking your makeup routine is an easy solution. The only difference may be swapping your nude lip for a cherry red pout, but you can expect to receive a lot of compliments.

5. Get glitzy

Ilfenesh Hadera attends the world premiere of Paramount Pictures film 'Baywatch' at South Beach

Ilfenesh Hadera sparkles in this look, and the jewelry certainly helps. |John Parra/Getty Images

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and that’s definitely true when it comes to stepping up your L.B.D. game. If the dress in question has a simple silhouette, it can easily look frumpy. With the help of a couple accessories, you can transform your frock from “meh” to “marvelous.” A bold necklace or set of earrings will frame your face and make a world of difference.

6. Add a brooch

Nowhere Boy: Closing Gala Inside Arrivals

Simply adding this embellishment makes your outfit totally new. | Fergus McDonald/Getty Images

Speaking of jewelry…

Brooches might be a staple in Grandma’s closet, but if you choose one that’s equal parts stylish and decadent, it can be an outfit-saver. Since you pin a brooch directly to your dress, the sparkler can trick onlookers into thinking you’re wearing a completely different dress.

Grandma’s selection of brooches probably cost her a small fortune, but if you want to update your L.B.D. on the cheap, we recommend scouring your local vintage store or estate sale.

7. Play with the hem 

Natalia Dyer arrives at the Netflix FYSee Kick Off Event

Your LBD might look even cuter with a shorter hem. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Okay, this tip is more of a commitment. However, if you like the fit of your dress, but hate the length, it’s something you might want to try. Most dresses are capable of being hemmed a couple inches — and that simple alteration can completely change your look. While there are some great hacks for faking the perfect fit for a suit, we recommend you consult a tailor for this one. 

8. Try it on with pants

Kendall Jenner attends the Editorialist Spring/Summer 2016 Issue Launch Party

Kendall Jenner shows just how cool a classic black dress can look. | Victor Boyko/Getty Images

We’ll be the first ones to admit this look isn’t for the sartorial wallflowers. But if your dress is flowy or short, it can double as a cool tunic — all you need to do is add a pair of cropped pants. This combination makes your L.B.D. significantly more casual. Casual enough to wear a pair of sneakers? We’d like to think so.

9. Belt it 

Zosia Mamet attends "The Big Sick" New York Premiere

Zosia Mamet uses a belt to great effect. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

When in doubt, belt it! Whether it’s a tailored sheath dress or flowing sundress, adding a belt breaks up the slab of black and, depending on the silhouette, can create a new, interesting shape. It’s basically two dresses in one. The size and color belt you choose will vary based on your L.B.D., but we think a thin, leather belt is a great starting point.

10. Layer up

A model walks the runway at the Delicatelove PF Selected show

If you love layering, this is your look. | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Another great way to give your overplayed dress a fresh spin is by adding a jacket. The beauty about this tip is you already have it in your closet, and the sky’s the limit. Give your look a cool, downtown vibe with a leather jacket or channel your inner lady who lunches with a feminine overcoat. If you want to keep it casual, what’s the harm in pulling out your jean jacket? The options are limitless, so choose a jacket that best matches your style.

You can follow Kelsey on Twitter and Instagram.

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