There is a reason why classics are classics: it’s because they work, and they keep on working.
The little black dress is one such example; it’s put in such hard sartorial graft it’s even earned its own abbreviation.
The LBD is partywear made easy. Forget diamonds – the black dress is a girls’ true best friend. There’s nothing better than black for benevolently skimming your lumps and bumps. You just need to buy one, a good one, and the dress will take it from there.
It’s your shoes, however, that really maketh the outfit.
The best way to refresh your faithful frock for the new season is to simply select the right accessories – starting with the footwear.
So what are the best shoes to wear with a black dress?
Of course the answer to this isn’t always going to be straightforward, as there are a number of variable factors that will determine the best pair to pick. The length and style of your dress, for example, as well as the type of event you’re wearing it for will play a huge part in choosing the perfect pair of shoes to wear.
We’ve compiled a guide of all our favourite footwear choices for every style to help ensure you choose the best shoes to wear with your little black dress, whatever the occasion.
Casual shoes to wear with a black dress
It’s not just evening events that require a black dress. Here are 5 types of shoes to wear with a black dress for a laidback look.
Athleisure is a mainstream trend that’s in it for the long run and this season is taking a more refined approach to your clothing. You may have spotted tailored tracksuits appearing in the pages of glossy magazines, alongside sleek black dresses paired with, you guessed it, trainers. Look for a pair with a hint of silver or rose gold; the metallic element adds a luxe touch. Teaming sporty shoes with a black dress is a great look for travelling, as well as being perfectly practical for running essential errands.
Because ballet pumps lack a heel, they should be worn with a dress that sits above the knee – any longer can make you look out of proportion. While wearing ballet pumps and a black dress bare-legged is a great look for summer, you could try teaming a colourful pair with black tights to add a bold pop of colour. Why not switch things up and wear colourful tights with black ballet flats? The girly shape of the pumps matched with your playful outfit makes this a fun combination for weekend wear. Take a look at French Sole for some chic ballet pump options.
For the day-to-day, when you need something easy and effortless with enough star power to make it (and you) feel special, a black dress teamed with ankle boots is the answer to your style prayers. A biker-styled pair can rev up your classic black dress – we love matching ours with an embroidered leather jacket, floppy hat and round retro sunglasses for a rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
Much like ankle boots, calf boots are great teamed with a black dress and have the added benefit of extra protection against the elements. A printed black dress with calf boots is a great festival style, while wearing knitted socks that peek out from your boots not only screams stylish, but will keep your toes toasty in the cooler months.
Moccasins might usually been seen with jeans, but wearing your driving shoes with a black dress and denim jacket is a great alternative off-duty look. Usually crafted from soft leathers, moccasins are a dream to slip your feet into making them a great choice for lazy weekends in or out of the house, and they can be worn with or without tights for a year-round ensemble.
Smart shoes to wear with a black dress
The black dress is a workplace staple, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. One of the easiest ways to update your office wear season after season is to switch up your footwear, so here are 5 ways to wear a black dress with different shoes at work.
The classic court shoes and black dress combination is nothing new in the work environment. No matter how conservative your workplace, a sleek, polished court shoe is always a winner. That doesn’t mean they have to be boring; cool, modernist shapes and glossy textures can easily elevate your court shoes from staple to standout.
Much like the classic court shoe, Mary-Janes are the perfect partner to your black dress. With a strap across the ankle, they offer a more supported fit that the court making them perfect for those with narrower feet. Not to mention that straps are right on trend; the delicate buckle adds interest and gives them a dressier feel.
Borrow from the boys and pair your black dress with brogues for a smart daytime look. A floaty dress keeps the look from being too masculine and adds a vintage vibe, while a more structured number crafts a sharp androgynous silhouette. Black or brown brogues with a black dress is an easy office look, but the endless choice of colours available means you can easily dress up your black dress with burgundy, gold or even pink brogues after hours.
A smarter alternative to ballet pumps, loafers bring a more grown-up feel to flats. With a black dress, a pair of black loafers adorned with tassels or horsebits in gold or silver will draw the eye to your footwear; a pair with a panel of printed pattern is a great way to add a playful touch while staying on the right side of HR.
One of the best things about Chelsea boots is how incredibly versatile and easy to wear they are. Having originated as a formal shoe, a polished pair of Chelsea boots with a black dress gives a strong, yet feminine feel to your office wear. Look for an A-line skirt to balance out the additional volume at your ankles, and keep it just above the knee.
Party shoes to wear with a black dress
If you’re wearing black from head-to toe for an evening out, you need to mix and match your textures to avoid your look appearing flat. The more tactility you add, the better: team high-shine patents with matte textile; soft suede with sheer fabrics. To go the extra mile, add movement, too; think sequins, feathers or fringing. Read on for our favourite 5 shoes to wear with a black dress after dark.
Whether you opt for a svelte stiletto or block heel, you’ll never go wrong with the combination of peep-toe pumps and black dress. Red carpet event, fancy gala wedding reception or office party, you can pick any colour peep-toe shoes and your black dress is an instant starlet. Just be sure your feet are primed and prepped with a pre-peep-toe pedicure!
A dainty T-bar is always a pretty choice, with simple straps that not only secure the fit but elegantly enhance the foot and leg, too. First rising to popularity almost 100 years ago in the 1920s, these heels are extremely well suited to a black dress with a pleated skirt, as was the style at the time. T-bar shoes with details such as cutouts, scalloped edging and contrasting coloured panels are great to complete a vintage-inspired look. To keep it more modern, look for style with wider straps and chunky soles.
Point toe pumps
Want to tone down the theatrics of your black evening dress? Then ground it with something sophisticated like a pair of point toe pumps. Not every evening outfit has to include a heel, and a pointed toe will add the refinement you need to keep your look evening-appropriate. A plainer black pair will blend in effortlessly, or why not add a touch of twinkle to your toes? We’re also fans of patent burgundy leathers and leopard print panels when pairing pointed toe pumps with a black dress.
Shoe boots, as the name suggests, are a kind of shoe-meets-ankle boot hybrid, and can be incredibly flattering when worn with a black dress. If you pick a pair with a deep V to the ankle, shoe boots appear to lengthen the leg and as such are best teamed with shorter skirts. For a higher cut pair, wear black tights with your black dress and shoe boots to help enhance the lengthening illusion.
Over-the-knee boots are very much having a moment. Take your inspiration from the 60’s when they were worn with miniskirts that just flashed a hint of thigh. A black suede pair of over-the-knee boots will work wonders with a short black dress, and have the benefits of keeping your legs lovely and warm when the evening begins to cool. They can also be paired with a looser-fitting midi-length dress; avoid anything tighter as you will be able to see the boots’ silhouette.
What’s your favourite combination of shoes to wear with a black dress? Show us your style in the comments!