6 Quick Updates to Bring Your Little Black Dress Back to Life

Fashion insiders often refer to the little black dress as a sartorial workhorse. It is a must-have item in any woman’s wardrobe because there will always be an occasion to wear it. It travels well and is always a worthy fallback option for those what-to-wear dilemmas or last-minute functions.

But if you’ve worn yours out more times than you care to count, the LBD is also the perfect blank canvas that allows for quick style updates with one or two items you might already have in your closet.

Here are a few suggestions for giving an old favourite a fresh look that will never have you uttering those words, “What, this old thing?”


Embroidered stars velvet jacket, $139, Zara and zara.com

One of the easiest and quickest updates for the LBD is to throw a jacket over it. Not just any jacket but look for one with embellishment of some sort – sequins, beading, silk tassels. Also look for a jacket that is loose fitting or roomy (this one is A-line) – it  will most likely fit over any black sheath dress and acts like a shawl.

The Bergantino bag, $60, Aldo and aldoshoes.com

Leave the demure or classic clutch at home for now. Carry a conversation-piece of a purse. It will stand out against your black dress, lure people to you and will definitely be an ice-breaker at parties. However, the rule of thumb should be: stick to just one quirky accessory. Only true maximalists or New York fashion maven Iris Apfel can pile it all on and make it work with panache.

Poinsettia pin and collection of pins, from $49.50, at Talbots and talbots.com

Every little black dress deserves a pin. And while a brooch clasp at the chest is a classic look, play around and try pinning it at the waist of the dress. Or instead of just one brooch, try a cluster.

The Campiano boot, $140 at Aldo and aldoshoes.com

Nothing adds sex appeal to a basic black dress like a sexy pair of heels or vampy boots. These barely-over-the-knees boots can work a few different ways, depending on the length of your black dress. If the dress is long and floaty, the boots will give it a boho flavour. If the dress is more fitted and stops at the knees, the boots will add more of a polished and streamlined look. Available also in black.

Furry stole, $112.29, Ann Taylor and anntaylor.com

Instead of throwing on your go-to wrap – a long scarf or pashmina – over your little black dress, try a funky colour-blocked faux fur stole. It’s lady-like elegant but with a twist.

Knit headwrap, $18, Aldo and aldoshoes.com

Nothing would add drama to your LBD like a turban. If a full turban seems intimidating, try one of these simpler head bands (it’s open at the top.) This simple accessory is all you need to put an exclamation point to the most basic black dress.