10 Unique Ways to Style a Simple Black Dress for a Cool Alternative Look

three beautiful women models in a simple black dress outfits inspired by witch aesthetics

There is no need to explain the versatility and timelessness of a  simple black dress. This piece is a must-have, whether you prefer to dress casually or align your style with alternative fashion trends. Thanks to the simplicity of color (or its absence!) black dress can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. You can wear it to a formal event and accessorize it for a relaxed, casual look, such as a lunch date. 

However, in today's blog post, I wanted to concentrate on an alternative approach to this fashion piece. I believe everyone understands that it only takes a pair of white sneakers and a cropped denim jacket to get a laid-back vibe. Instead, I wanted to discover ways to style a simple black dress for an alternative fashion look. That sounds much more tempting and less conventional.

As an inspiration for today's fashion guide, I took some of the most popular and stylish icons like Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family, Nancy Downs from The Craft, Elena Gilbert from the Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of early 00s celebrities. After a few hours of research, I came up with some of the best ways to style your favorite little black dress to get an alternative vibe. 

beautiful young woman in gothic black dress and a corset is posing for the camera on a street
Obsidian Kerttu

#1. Gothic Vibe


Let's start with my favorite – a romantic, but mysterious goth look. You can transform a simple black dress into a gothic ensemble with a few right styling choices. First, pick up a dress with a flowing silhouette. Consider adding a statement belt or a corset belt to your outfit. It will add some definition to the waist, emphasizing the curves. Look for belts with bold buckles or studded detailing to add a touch of edge. 

Next, layer on a few key pieces of jewelry to complete the goth look. A chunky necklace or choker will add a touch of darkness and drama, while a pair of statement earrings will draw attention to the face. Don't forget about the makeup! It is an important part of the gothic look.

When it comes to footwear, opt for a pair of knee-high boots to add a touch of gothic elegance. Look for boots with a pointed toe and a heel to elongate the legs. If you're feeling daring, try a pair of platform boots. For instance, Wednesday Addams wore a pair of Prada's Monolith shoes and Naked Wolfe platform sneakers. Both will be great options for your soft goth outfit.

beautiful young woman in a punk black dress and a fishnets tights is posing for the camera on a street

#2. Punk Vibe


Punk fashion is all about attitude, rebellion, and pushing boundaries. Luckily, black dresses and punk fashion go hand in hand! There are numerous ways you can approach this fashion particular fashion vibe. So, for a punk-inspired outfit, pick an asymmetrical black dress with cutouts or large sequins. Add some edge to the look with a leather jacket, studded belt, and a pair of combat boots. Accessorize with a pair of ripped stockings or fishnet pantyhose. Vivienne Westwood has a stunning look, featuring a black dress and fishnets during one of her shows.

Accessorizing with chunky silver jewelry, such as studded bracelets or a chain necklace, can also add a touch of punk attitude. A bold, graphic t-shirt or a band tee worn underneath the dress can also add a cool, rock-and-roll vibe. Adding a studded belt or fishnet tights can also give the dress a more rebellious feel. To complete the look, try pairing the dress with a bold, dark lip color and a messy, textured hairstyle.

beautiful young woman in grunge black dress and dr martens bootsis posing for the camera on a street
@blackprints

#3. Grunge Vibe


A floor-length spaghetti strap dress, worn over a tee and a pair of Dr. Martens is the essence of grunge fashion style. At least, in my head! If you want to style a black dress to get a grunge-inspired outfit, you can go for this look! You can also pair your black dress with some distressed denim or a leather jacket. Add some combat boots like Dr. Martens I already mentioned or Steve Madden.

Another way to style a black dress for grunge fashion is to layer it with a band t-shirt or a flannel shirt. This gives the dress a more relaxed and laid-back feel, and it makes it look like you've thrown it on over a more casual top. You can also add a pair of Converse or Vans sneakers to complete the look.

beautiful young woman in  boho black dress is posing for the camera on a porch

#4. Boho Vibe


Nobody wore bohemian style better than Phoebe Buffay from Friends! She had a few lovely boho-inspired outfits that feature black dresses. So, to style your black dress in this fashion, start by picking up the most comfortable dress made of cotton or linen. The boho-chic is all about comfort, nature, and freedom. Pair the dress with a pair of fringe boots or ankle boots. 

For the colder weather, layer a denim or suede jacket over the dress. A fringed bag or a woven tote bag would be a great accessory to complete the look. If you want to add some color, join a colorful scarf or pashmina to the ensemble. For jewelry, opt for chunky pieces such as a statement necklace or a pair of large hoop earrings. You can also add a pair of dangle earrings or a stack of bangles for a bohemian touch. remember to choose only accessories made of natural materials.

beautiful young woman in emo black dress and a corset is posing for the camera on a street
@maggielindemann

#5. Emo/Scene Vibe


Emo and scene fashion styles are all about expressing yourself, attracting attention, and standing out from the crowd. If you want to give your outfit an emo or scene makeover, you need to style a black dress in a unique and edgy way. First and foremost, layering is key to this look. This can be achieved by adding a denim or leather jacket, a cardigan, or even a hoodie over the dress. This not only adds a sense of depth and texture to the outfit but also allows for more versatility in terms of temperature and weather.

Don't be afraid to mix and match different textures and patterns, because the style of the emo/scene is to stand out. To complete the look, add a pop of color with dark, moody lipstick or hair dye. For example, deep purple or red lipstick would add a touch of drama to the overall look. Experiment with different hairstyles, such as a messy bun or a side-swept fringe, to add a touch of personal style. 

beautiful young woman in steampunk black dress and a corset is posing for the camera in a photo studio

#6. Steampunk Vibe


When it comes to steampunk fashion style, the first color that comes to mind is copper. Brownish, rusty shades of brown symbolize the appeal of steam pipes and other mechanical parts of machinery. However, black color is just as popular in the steampunk subculture. To begin styling your black dress, you'll want to focus on layering different textures and materials. Start with a basic black dress as the foundation, then add a corset or waist cincher to cinch in your waist and give you a more hourglass figure. Next, layer on a long, flowy skirt or a pair of trousers to add some volume to your steampunk look.

Accessories are a major part of steampunk style, so don't be afraid to add a few statement pieces to your ensemble. A pair of knee-high boots with buckles and straps will add a touch of an industrial vibe, while a top hat or a newsboy cap will give you a more Victorian-inspired look. Do you have an iconic pair of goggles? It is time to add them to your outfit!

beautiful young woman in vintage black dress and a corset is posing for the camera in a bedroom
Mothmouth

#7. Vintage Vibe


Styling a simple black dress for a vintage-inspired look is one of the easiest tasks. The secret to an authentic look is the style of the dress. It can't be too short, instead, go for a mid to floor-length black dress. Select a fitted bodice silhouette with a full skirt or a pencil dress with a high neckline.

When it comes to vintage styling, accessories play a big role. The choice, of course, depends on the decade/era you want to recreate. You can cinch your waist with a statement belt and give it a 1940s touch. A pair of heeled shoes or vintage-style pumps will complete the look. Opt for a pair of pumps with a pointed toe and low heel, as this will give you a classic vintage look.

beautiful young woman in hipster black dress and a hat is posing for the camera on a street
Randy Tran

#8. Hipster Vibe


Do you still remember the hipster-style obsession? I feel like this was one of the least-lasting style phases of the 2010s...Hipster style is usually characterized by its unique and effortless vibe. It is often described as a mix of vintage, bohemian, vintage, and modern elements. Overall, it has an eclectic nature. The style is known for its use of bold patterns and colors, as well as its focus on comfort and practicality.

To dress like a hipster, consider adding a denim or leather jacket on top of the simple black dress. The style of the dress also matters! Pick one with a large white collar or high-waisted silhouette. Next, accessorize with statement pieces such as a chunky necklace or a bold belt. This will bring attention to the dress and add a touch of personality to the look. A pair of ankle boots or Converse sneakers will complete the hipster style, giving it a comfortable and casual feel.

beautiful young woman in gothic lolita black dress and a lace pantyhose is posing for the camera on a street
Olivia Emily

#9.  Lolita Vibe


Next goes the cutest vibe and subculture – the Lolita style! Lolita fashion is a popular Japanese street fashion that is characterized by its doll-like appearance and Victorian-inspired clothing. There are so many Lolita-inspired subcategories out there, so how you are going to style a black dress on the style you are going for. 

Lolita fashion is all about voluminous sillouette! So, for this style is vital to choose the right black dress. Pick the one with a full skirt and a fitted bodice. Lace trim is a wonderful little detail that goes with the style. Don't forget to accessorize with the right pieces. The more accessories – the better! A petticoat or crinoline can be worn under the dress to give it volume and a more dramatic shape. Pair the dress with a pair of knee-high socks or tights and a pair of Mary Jane or platform shoes.

beautiful young woman in e-girl black dress is posing for the camera on a street

#10. E-girl Vibe


The e-girl style is the youngest subculture in today's list. It emerged from online gaming and internet communities. The main features of the style are bold, colorful hair and makeup, streetwear, and punk fashion elements. Clothing often includes oversized sweaters, graphic tees, and ripped denim. To style a black dress in an e-girl manner you'll need to pick an oversized hoodie or a t-shirt, long enough to be a dress. Add a pair of black knee socks and ugly white sneakers.

Finally, don’t be afraid to play around with makeup and hair. The e-girl aesthetic often includes bold, colorful eye makeup and a bold lip. Consider experimenting with bright eyeshadows, bold eyeliner, and false lashes for a dramatic look. You could also add a bold hair dye or highlights to your hair for a pop of color.

Summarizing...

A simple black dress can be styled in countless ways. Don't let this piece of clothing lay in your wardrobe aimlessly! Bring it back to life in one of these alternative styles. And these are just a few of the many ways you can wear it. With a little creativity and a few key pieces, you can turn a basic dress into a fashion statement. Experiment with different pieces, accessories, and layering options to find the perfect look for you.

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