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How to Wear a Black Maxi Dress

You might think a black maxi dress is limited, but you can create different looks for a casual day to a formal night out with the right accessories.

The beauty of a dress like this is its simplicity.

You don’t have to do much to create a fresh look; work with a few better basics and the jewelry you probably already have and you’re set. 

Today, I’m taking this elegant yet simple black maxi and sharing three different ways to style it for any occasion you have this spring and summer. 

And if you have a trip coming up, these looks take up practically no room in your suitcase. 


V-Neck Tiered Trapeze Maxi Dress in Black


V-Neck Tiered Trapeze Maxi Dress, $88 

Maxi dresses are a fantastic option for warm weather, especially if you want something polished and comfortable, or are looking for an alternative to shorts

And you have so many options. 

For this post, I’m highlighting a black maxi, but go ahead and replace black with any color you have, or a print. 

Above is the  lightweight trapeze maxi dress from Express (featured in our most recent What to Buy at Express round-up).

For a plus option, I like this one from Eloquii, it has a similar style with tier detail and flowly feel.

Alternatively, you might have this stretch jersey style from Nordstorm. that we featured a while back.

You could you use in the looks below too.  It’s a little more casual, so keep that in mind. 

Available in petite and regular sizes and on sale for under $50.

Now let’s create some outfits. 

How to Wear a Black Maxi Dress Three Ways


How to Wear a Black Maxi Dress


Black Maxi Dress, Denim Jacket, Gold Hoops, Black Faux Leather tote, and white air force 1 sneakers


Air Force 1 Shadow Sneaker, $110 | Denim Jacket, $118 | Faux Leather Tote Bag, $13 | Gold Hoops, $14 

I bet you have these or a version of these items for this look. 

First, grab your favorite white sneakers. I’m using the Nike Air Force 1 Shadow Sneaker because they are chunky and can hold up to the detail and volume of the dress. 

If you are wearing something like this jersey knit dress, wear a slimmer profile sneaker, like one of the recommendations from this round-up

Next, grab your denim jacket. 

This season we love this medium wash style from J.Crew. Available in sizes XS – 3X. If you consider it, know that it has a lot of staying power in your closet. You’ll grab it season after season. 

Then, two incredibly affordable accessories starting with this faux leather tote from Amazon. I order this for myself in a couple of colors, and it’s great. 

I’d rather carry this than something with a meaningless logo for ten times the price.

You’ll want to use an organizer insert to keep your things together and help hold the bag’s shape

And because I love going back to the same thing repeatedly, these gold amazon hoops. I haven’t stopped wearing them since I bought them last month. 


black maxi dress with cognac leather sandals, wood handle straw clutch and raffia earrings


Wood Handle Straw Clutch, $68 | Leather Sandals, $155 | Rattan Earrings, $12 

The next two outfits are so simple but I think it’s important to show how different accessories completely change the look. 

Let’s start with the look above. I would wear this to a nice dinner on vacation.

I love the combination of black and tan, especially when the tan shows up in natural elements.

So I’m bring in the color with this wood handle straw clutch (first featured here). It’s adorable.

Then, I added these chic flat slide sandals from Tuckernuck. You can wear these with anything from shorts and ankle pants, to dresses. 

And  to play off the texture of the bag, these inexpensive rattan earrings from Amazon that are very light and comfortable on your ear. 


Black Maxi dress, black strappy heels, black raffia clutch, and black and gold raffia earrings.

Strappy Heels, $59 | Raffia Clutch, $105 | Raffia Earrings, $48

Have a wedding, or something you need to be dressed up for?

Just grab your black strappy sandals. I’m showing these Marc Fisher’s with a narrow heel.

Personally, I like (and own) the block heel version of them, and find they are more comfortable to stand in. 

But, as always, wear what you have, just make sure they are light and strappy. 

Then, I found this gorgeous black raffia clutch. Isn’t it so pretty?

It works really well with the weight and style of the dress,

Finally, these playful earrings fro Anthropologie with gold details that coordinate with the bag beautifully. 


52 in 2022!

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How to Wear a Black Maxi Dress

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Elizabeth Knox

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

I always wear a black maxi dress on a family road trip. It’s like loungewear in the car but then you step out looking so elegant and polished in a flash. So comfy, too.


Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Does the back strap on your Mark Fisher block heel sandals slip a lot? I like the look and you commented on their comfort, but they had several reviews about the loose, I adjustable back strap, and I have fairly narrow heels.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

I read that too. This might not be helpful but I have two pairs of them and don't have any issue.