How To Accessorize A Black Dress For A Formal Event

Accessorizing a little black dress can seem tricky, especially for a formal event where you want to look elegant and put-together. But with a few simple guidelines, you can easily take your basic LBD from day-to-night and make it appropriate for any formal occasion.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: stick to minimal, high-quality accessories in metallics like gold, rose gold, or silver. Look for accessories like a statement necklace, cocktail ring, elegant heels or clutch, and don’t forget classic makeup like red lipstick.

Read on below for more tips and ideas to make sure your black dress accessorizing is on point!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with tips and suggestions to ace your black dress accessorizing for any formal event, from weddings to galas and more. You’ll learn principles for choosing the right accessories, styling different silhouettes of black dresses, top accessory dos and don’ts, and plenty of specific accessory and styling recommendations to take your LBD to the next level.

Principles for Accessorizing a Black Dress

When it comes to accessorizing a black dress for a formal event, there are a few key principles to keep in mind. These principles will help you create a polished and elegant look that is sure to turn heads.

Whether you’re attending a wedding, a gala, or a black-tie event, these tips will ensure that your black dress stands out in all the right ways.

Keep it minimal

One of the most important principles for accessorizing a black dress is to keep it minimal. The beauty of a black dress lies in its simplicity, so you don’t want to overwhelm it with too many accessories. Opt for a few carefully chosen pieces that complement the dress rather than detract from it.

This could include a statement necklace, a pair of elegant earrings, or a simple bracelet. Remember, less is often more when it comes to accessorizing.

Choose metallics

When it comes to selecting accessories for a black dress, metallics are always a safe bet. Gold, silver, and rose gold all pair beautifully with black and add a touch of glamour to your look. Consider wearing a metallic belt to cinch in your waist, or opt for metallic heels to add a pop of shine.

These metallic accents will elevate your black dress and give it a luxurious feel.

Pick one standout accessory

To make your black dress truly stand out, consider choosing one standout accessory to be the focal point of your look. This could be a bold statement necklace, a colorful clutch, or a stunning pair of shoes.

By selecting one accessory to be the star of the show, you can create a cohesive and eye-catching outfit that is sure to make a statement.

Consider texture and interest

While a black dress may be simple in color, you can add visual interest by incorporating different textures into your accessories. Consider adding a faux fur stole, a beaded clutch, or a lace scarf to bring depth and dimension to your look.

These textured accents will add a touch of intrigue and make your black dress more visually appealing.

Remember the occasion

Finally, it’s important to consider the occasion when accessorizing a black dress. Different events call for different levels of formality, so be sure to choose accessories that are appropriate for the occasion.

A black-tie gala may call for more extravagant accessories, while a wedding may require a more understated approach. Always keep the event in mind when selecting your accessories to ensure that your black dress is perfectly suited for the occasion.

By following these principles for accessorizing a black dress, you can create a stunning and sophisticated look for any formal event. Remember to keep it minimal, choose metallics, pick one standout accessory, consider texture and interest, and always keep the occasion in mind.

With these tips, you’ll be sure to turn heads and feel confident in your black dress.

Styling Different Silhouettes

Little black dress

The little black dress is a classic choice for any formal event. Its versatility allows for numerous accessorizing options. For a timeless and sophisticated look, pair your little black dress with statement jewelry such as a chunky necklace or a pair of chandelier earrings.

Consider adding a pop of color with a bold clutch or a pair of vibrant heels. To accentuate your waistline, cinch your dress with a stylish belt. Don’t forget to experiment with different hairstyles and makeup looks to complete your ensemble.

Maxi dress

A maxi dress offers a more relaxed and flowing silhouette, perfect for those who prefer a bohemian or romantic look. To accessorize a maxi dress for a formal event, opt for delicate and dainty jewelry such as layered necklaces or stackable rings.

Add a touch of glamour with a pair of strappy heels or embellished sandals. Consider tying a belt around your waist to define your figure. For a whimsical touch, accessorize with a floral crown or a statement headpiece.

Bodycon dress

A bodycon dress is a form-fitting option that accentuates your curves. When accessorizing a bodycon dress for a formal event, choose minimalistic and sleek jewelry to maintain a streamlined look. A delicate pendant necklace or a pair of stud earrings can add a touch of elegance.

Opt for heels that elongate your legs, such as nude pumps or stilettos. Consider adding a structured blazer or a tailored jacket for a polished and sophisticated look.

Off the shoulder dress

An off the shoulder dress exudes femininity and elegance. To style this silhouette for a formal event, focus on highlighting your shoulders and neckline. Opt for statement earrings or a bold necklace that draws attention to your upper body.

Consider styling your hair in an updo or a sleek ponytail to showcase the dress’s design. Complete your look with a pair of strappy heels or elegant sandals. Don’t forget to choose a clutch or a small handbag that complements your outfit.

Slip dress

A slip dress offers a sleek and minimalist look, perfect for those who prefer understated elegance. To accessorize a slip dress for a formal event, layer it with a tailored blazer or a chic cardigan for added sophistication.

Choose delicate and minimalistic jewelry such as a simple pendant necklace or thin bangle bracelets. Opt for heels that match the color of your dress or go for a metallic shade to add a touch of glamour. Consider carrying a sleek clutch or a small crossbody bag to complete your ensemble.

Accessory Dos and Don’ts

Do: Statement jewelry

When it comes to accessorizing a black dress for a formal event, statement jewelry can be your best friend. Bold and eye-catching pieces can elevate your look and add a touch of glamour. Consider wearing a chunky necklace, oversized earrings, or a statement bracelet to make a stylish statement.

These pieces can help you stand out from the crowd and add a unique touch to your outfit.

Don’t: Clunky jewelry

While statement jewelry can be a great choice, it’s important to avoid clunky or overwhelming pieces. Jewelry that is too large or heavy can overpower your black dress and distract from your overall look. Opt for pieces that strike a balance between being bold and elegant.

Remember, the goal is to enhance your outfit, not overshadow it.

Do: Structured handbag

When choosing a handbag to complement your black dress, a structured bag is a great option. A structured bag adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to your ensemble. Consider a classic clutch or a structured tote bag for a polished and put-together look.

These types of bags not only add functionality but also add a stylish finishing touch.

Don’t: Casual bag

Avoid pairing your black dress with a casual bag such as a backpack or a large tote bag that is more suitable for everyday use. These bags can make your formal outfit appear too casual and detract from the overall elegance.

Stick to more formal options like a structured handbag mentioned earlier to maintain a cohesive and polished look.

Do: Metallic shoes

Metallic shoes can be a great choice to accessorize a black dress for a formal event. They add a touch of glamour and can complement the sleekness of a black dress. Consider silver or gold heels or flats to add a pop of shine to your outfit.

Metallic shoes are versatile and can be worn with various styles of black dresses, making them a go-to option.

Don’t: Sparkly/embellished shoes

While metallic shoes can add a touch of elegance, it’s best to avoid sparkly or heavily embellished shoes. These types of shoes can clash with the simplicity of a black dress and create a busy or overwhelming look.

Stick to metallic shoes or other simple and sleek options for a more polished and cohesive ensemble.

Styling Suggestions

All black

One of the classic ways to accessorize a black dress is by opting for an all-black look. This creates a sleek and sophisticated appearance. You can pair your black dress with black heels, a black clutch, and black jewelry. The monochromatic look is timeless and elegant, perfect for a formal event.

Metallic accessories

If you want to add some sparkle and glamour to your black dress, consider incorporating metallic accessories. A statement necklace with silver or gold accents, metallic heels, or a shiny clutch can instantly elevate your look.

The contrast between the black dress and the metallic accessories creates a striking and eye-catching combination.

Bold lip

A bold lip color can be a great accessory to enhance your black dress. Opt for a vibrant red, deep plum, or even a bright pink, depending on your personal style and the occasion. A bold lip adds a pop of color to your overall look and draws attention to your face.

Remember to choose a long-lasting formula to ensure it stays put throughout the event.

Dark nails

Matching your nail color to your black dress can create a cohesive and polished look. Consider painting your nails with a dark shade such as deep burgundy, navy blue, or even black. This subtle detail can add a touch of sophistication to your overall outfit.

Hair up vs. down

Deciding whether to wear your hair up or down with a black dress depends on your personal preference and the formality of the event. Wearing your hair up in an elegant updo can create a more refined and polished look.

On the other hand, wearing your hair down in loose curls or a sleek straight style can create a softer and more romantic look. Consider the neckline of your dress and the overall vibe you want to achieve when making your decision.

Clutch vs. wristlet

When it comes to the choice of bag, both clutches and wristlets are excellent options for accessorizing a black dress. A clutch adds sophistication and glamour, while a wristlet offers convenience and ease of use.

Consider the size of the bag you need to carry your essentials and choose the option that best suits your style and comfort.

Remember, accessorizing a black dress is all about personal style and expressing your individuality. Have fun experimenting with different combinations and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in whatever you choose to wear.


Accessorizing your little black dress for a formal event doesn’t have to be complicated. Stick to the principles above for choosing minimal, high-quality accessories in metallics and colors that complement the black dress.

Consider different silhouettes and use our dos and don’ts, as well as specific styling suggestions, to take your look to the next level. Confidence is the best accessory of all – with these tips, you can dress your LBD up or down and show up looking and feeling amazing!

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