This ensemble was inspired by Beth, the outstanding outfit blogger we featured earlier this week. She combined a simple black shift dress with black sandals and layered necklaces. The flats relax the outfit. The jewellery, shorter hemline and skin-baring sandals break up the expanse of black. It’s a versatile outfit that’s equal parts dressy and casual. 

I’ve created four renditions of the look, each a little different from the next. The version on the far left is a copycat of Beth’s outfit, and the dressiest of the four. The others are inspired by the original outfit, keeping the palette tonal and low contrast

Here are the components. 

Casual Dress: Choose a casual black Summer dress in a style that tickles your fancy. Feel free to substitute the black dress for one in navy, ink or dark grey. Keeping the hem just above the knee works well for flats because it visually lengthens the leg line. Wearing a longer dress works well with heels.

Footwear: The footwear sets the mood of the outfit. A little bling on the sandals picks up the bling in a necklace or pair of earrings, thereby creating a dressier integrity. Adding a pair of distressed shoes adds a little grit and hard edge. A sleek peep-toe bootie adds a dose of fashion.

Accessories: Choose a bag that works with the footwear. A metallic bag complements the jewellery. A distressed bag works with the distressed sandals. And an upscale backpack adds a Sporty Luxe element. A scarf in tonal shades of back, blue and grey could work as an extra accessory. Add watch and eyewear as desired. 

Ensemble: Casual Black Summer Dress

My personal version of the ensemble combines last season’s ink sack dress with cropped black leggings, colour blocked pointy toe ballet flats, gold clutch and new prescription sunglasses. I don’t have solid black Summer shoes so that’s why I introduced the colour block. Leggings keep me a little warmer on mild days or in air conditioning.