We all know that wardrobe essentials are, well, essential, and that one of the things that makes them so, well, essential, is that they are super versatile. This is why I’m starting to prefer the word essential over the word basic. These ultra-versatile and wearable pieces are definitely staples, but that doesn’t always mean that they are basic. They can have an element that makes them feel more like you, whether that’s the fit or the fabric or the silhouette. Sure, simpler equals more versatile, but if plain isn’t your thing, then don’t do plain.
This dress is a great example of this. It’s not the quintessential little black dress that is often labeled an essential. That’s usually a black sheath or shift style, or maybe a more casual t-shirt dress. But this black slip dress from Express is so much more me, and it’s equally versatile.
And of course black is just one of many neutral colors you could choose for a dress like this. Any solid neutral dress with a simple shape will do!
I took this dress and styled it 5 ways using accessories and items that I already own, and I encourage you to do the same. Create your own versions of these looks using your own fave accessories, or go in a different direction entirely. The point is to experiment and to try wearing the same old piece in fresh new ways, something we often fail to do in the daily rush to throw something on and head out the door.
Simple yet elegant and evening-worthy, I jazz up the dress with a gold metal belt that has been in my closet for years. Chain and jewelry style belts are happening right now and I think this adds a fresh element. A belt is an easy way to completely change a dress, if you are comfortable wearing them. I completed the look with my super comfy Sarah Flint Perfect Pump 100 in black suede (use code sarahflint-banada), gold beaded bracelets, and my modern gold hoops. A simple date night look, done!
Try This At Home: I added shine with the belt, bracelets, and earrings here, and then matched the shoes to the dress. You could do the same with your metal and neutral of choice. Keep one of the items in the neutral, and the others in your favorite metallic. Sparkly jewelry would make this even more of an evening look.
I created a version of a colorblocked look by accessorizing this dress with two bold pops of color, the hot pink faux leather moto jacket from 7 For All Mankind and the Zara slingback pumps. The oversized tropical motif earrings from SheIn tie the pieces together, but this would have worked just as well with a more subtle earring.
Try This At Home: Take a simple neutral dress and pair a colored jacket and shoes with it for an instant update. Any two colors will work, but the easiest way to pull this off is to keep the colors related in terms of intensity, so brights with brights, lights with lights, softs with softs, and deeps with deeps.
Who says you can’t dress down your little black dress? And don’t feel limited by the fact that it has a dressy detail, like the shiny fabric here. As long as it’s not overly embellished or sparkly, it can be worn casually without a lot of extra effort. Here, I’ve tied my white Everlane button-down over the top, and then paired it with my Superga sneakers and subtle earrings for an easy Saturday look.
Try This At Home: Any casual jacket, shacket, or button-down would work well in this formula. You could try a linen, chambray, flannel, or even a plaid shirt or shacket, and then add the fashion sneaker of your choice.
This is a feminine but still funky look, thanks to this floral moto jacket from Blank NYC. I used silver chain mail earrings to pick up on the color of the hardware in the jacket. I topped the look off with my new custom lug sole boots from Sumissura. I designed them myself with white leather in the front and wine velvet in the back. They are so me, and they are super comfortable. The wine also happens to pick up the tone of the flowers in the jacket.
Try This At Home: Pair your versatile dress with a moto jacket and your favorite boots. Any fun style will do, from a moto boot to a Chelsea style to your favorite booties.
I took this dress in a different direction by adding summery accessories, including this straw hat and my Viscata espadrilles, both of which combine a light neutral with black trim to pick up on the black in the dress. I topped it with a denim jacket but any casual jacket would work in this look. Linen, a cotton moto or bomber style, or even a button-down shirt.
Try This At Home: Espadrilles and a straw hat make every outfit feel like summer. You can skip the jacket if it’s too hot. Try this look with any summery shoes, from slides to sandals, and add an element of straw (bag, hat, even earrings) for that summery vibe.
What did you think of these ideas? Would you like to see more videos like this? And which of these looks was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!