How to Style a Black Dress for Spring

I love the versatility of wearing black. It’s a great opportunity to play with the other elements of my outfit. Because I wear a lot of black, I have tons of experience styling it for all seasons. A reader challenged me to show how to wear a black dress in the spring. I just love a good challenge so here goes. Ignore the glare from my pasty white legs, I haven’t started using my self-tanner yet this season.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life styling a black dress and denim jacket

The first thing I do for Spring is to lighten my shoe. I’m wearing Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing the Stella shoe by Adrian AllenJennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing Adrian Allen shoes

This is the most casual look. I chose a light wash denim jacket, white and pale green jewelry and a straw handbag. Lighter accessories go a long way to making a black dress seasonally appropriate. I also lightened my toenail polish from burgundy to blush pink.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing black dress with pale blue scarf

This dress has less texture than the first one so it is dressier. I chose a pearl and crystal bib necklace with hoop earrings. I added a bracelet in the same fresh blue as the large silk scarf that I tied as a wrap. My bag is a black and beige straw whose texture screams Spring. Mixing black with paler colors makes it feel more spring-like.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing black dress and blue wrap

The formality level goes up with a blue and black silk shawl and shiny black handbag. Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing black with blue for spring

Notice the cute tassels at the back of these sandals. I love how the straps of the shoes match the pattern on my shawl.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing Adrian Allen shoes

This dress has multiple layers of sheer black fabric. I topped it with a black and pink jacket, changed to pearl earrings and a crystal brooch. This is wedding ready and appropriate everywhere but a black tie event.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing black and pink jacket from Talbots

These sandals are designed by Gwen Allen who started her company to bring us elegant, low heeled dress shoes. Her sophisticated designs are wearable all day thanks to their wider toe box and cushioned insole. Check out her entire collection here.

This challenge was fun, do you have one for me? Please share in the comments.

Thanks for reading and have a great day ladies!


Thank you to Adrian Allen for partnering on this post and providing these shoes. I was compensated and all opinions are my own.


Thanks to you, my readers, for supporting the companies that allow me to continue this blog and bring you new things. You are the best!


  1. Annette Strausberg says:

    Love all the looks except maybe the last one. I think the white jacket, especially combined with a brooch, is kind of matronly looking. I adore the shoes!

  2. I have that denim jacket but because I have two others I was going to donate it today. At the last minute, I changed my mind. Three denims are not too much for this gal.
    I have a challenge for you if you want to take it. I feel most comfortable in capris versus shorts. I know I’m not alone in this. Would you show us what’s in and how best to wear them to not look frumpy?

    1. You do know that “too much denim” is an oxymoron, Joanna! One can never have too much denim :-D. Capri’s are really tough for short women. I have only worn shorts once in the last 30 years. You’re on but remember it is not my best look:)

      1. Run with it!

  3. Welk done! Also love the shoes and will check them out. Btw, even without self tanner you have great legs!

    1. Thanks Janet! I am blessed to have gotten my Mum’s legs:)

  4. Julie,Melbourne,Australia says:

    I really love your idea of tying the scarf as a wrap as it is so useful and clever.I have a few black dresses in my wardrobe that would look great with a scarf wrap.Thanks once again for your ideas.
    Also,it looks like it’s time for you to get out the self-tanner!I use Bondi Sands self-tanning foam and it works really well.It’s an Australian brand.
    Now to think of a challenge for you……….hmmmmm!

  5. You’ve given me some great ideas, Jennifer. I especially like the denim jacket styled over the LBD. Boy, those Stella sandals are to die for! I’ll have to look for something similar that’s a little more attuned to my budget. I’ll consider it a challenge! As usual, you look lovely in each photo.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I am always thrilled to know I have inspired a woman to try something new.

    1. I exfoliate with a loofa in the shower and then apply Jergens Natural Glow when I get out. I use the weakest formulation and it builds slowly. Avoid your ankles and knees.

  6. Great ideas to wear black. Thank you for the post. I also love the textured dress. I would like to see a similar post on how to wear black in summer. Black is by far my most favourite colour, and not only in the colder months; all year round.

    1. I do wear black year round. It’s not that different in summer except the fabrication change to natural fibers. Post coming in the future!

  7. Love all the suggestions. I no longer wear dresses much, but do this with black pants and a simple black shell/top and/or jackets. It’s such a great basic that can be dressed so many ways.

  8. Kathleen O'Brien says:

    I love my black dresses as well – I love styling mine with a kimono over or a wonderful black lace poncho that I have, it looks very dressy and fancy!
    And as for hiding legs problems – often I wear sheer black hose or even lacy hose. I have many very visible scars on my legs from multiple operations. While it doesn’t hid them completely, they are minimized and folks would have to stare to see “stuff”. But it looks nicer and adds some interest to the outfit.

  9. I love this post! I just bought a to the knee, sleeveless black dress and want to wear it for several occasions. This gives me ideas to dress it or down. The LBD is back in my wardrobe.
    Those shoes are adorable! Do they fit narrow?

    1. Not narrow. I have medium to wide feet and they fit perfectly. If you have very narrow feet they might be too wide.

  10. Challenge…. High school reunions look. 50th to be specific. Needing some inspiration.

  11. L H Carter says:

    Those black Stella sandals look great. Oh, to have cute feet and slender ankles like yours. You certainly met this challenge well.

    1. Thanks! I’m fortunate to have narrow ankles:) I believe in playing to your strong suit.

  12. Seeing all the different looks one after another is really inspirational. We’re still waiting for spring here in Colorado so your breath of & peek at spring ( & bare toes) brightened a COLD rocky mountain morning. Thanks

  13. Love the looks! Very helpful since LBD is my goto for any occasion.
    I’d love to know more about your self tanning methods. I too do not do sun and the elf tanners I’ve used in the past have not been satisfactory!
    Thanks again for a great post!

    1. Debbie Davis says:

      I guess you could tan an elf, LOL…. but of course I meant self tanners!! :)))

      1. I love the Jergans. It’s light like a moisturizer and darkens gradually. I avoid my ankles and knees.

  14. Have you seen the Sleevy Wonders? They are a type of sleeve that can be worn under a sleeveless dress if one desires more coverage. Not as bulky as a blouse or T. They come in various fabrics and colours and can be very dressy or more casual. Just an idea for those thinking a sleeveless dress might not make it through the cooler months. They can be worn under any sleeveless top as well and can be worn front to back depending on the neckline of the dress. There may be similar products like this by other names but Sleevy Wonder was one I saw on line.

    1. I got my arm tights from Spanx and they do the trick for a casual look

  15. Love your inspirations! I would love more info on the last dress that is layered. I am new to your blog and really enjoy all your ideas!!!

  16. How about a snug striped tee or white tee underneath to take down the dress a notch?

    1. That could work. I wouldn’t do it because it would highlight the width of my shoulders.

  17. Love all the looks! Can you please share the maker of the textured black dress and the tan & black straw bag? LOVE the SHOES!!

  18. I have some denim jackets (mostly Chicos), and I never thought about pairing one of them with a black dress. What a great look! Thank you, Jennifer, for the inspiration and expanding my fashion horizon.

  19. All of these looks are awesome and this sandal looks amazing with them. You gave so much inspiration here…thanks!!

  20. Thanks for the great idea! I just bought a couple of black dresses thinking only of tights and boots. This motivates me to wear them more often. I have nice shaped legs but full of veins. Any suggestions for coverage?

  21. Julue Flavin says:

    Yes yes yes! I have a wonderful black dress I bought…oh so many years ago, but I just love it. It has a highish square neckline and no sleeves, but the most wonderful drape! I love it with a silk kimono over it, or a lightweight pashmina, or a light linen jacket,

    Black rules whatever the season. It is so easy to lighten the look with bright or light accessories

    1. I totally agree. I hold onto black dresses because they’re so versatile.

  22. THX for the suggestions…I just bought a black long midi and I can’t wait to style it for spring/summer….So versatile…I love all of your looks…A black dress does indeed go from casual to dressy with a flip of the accessories…Great post…

  23. Deborah Broughton says:

    Wonderful looks! Thank you for the great ideas!

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