How to Instantly Elevate a Black & Denim Outfit

Greetings and happy Friday, friends! Our summer-like weather broke, and after a day of rain yesterday (which was very much needed), fall is back, and it is glorious.

We finally turned off the A/C, the windows are all open, and I’m even seeing a few orange leaves on the tree outside my window. I expect it to start looking like fall very soon.

Today I’m sharing a simple look and talking about how to elevate a black and denim outfit.

You probably already guessed — it’s with a pair of statement shoes.

They don’t have to be animal print, but I have these gorgeous leopard pointy toe ballet flats that I think are perfect with this look. I picked them up last spring when they were on a 40% off sale, and I was so glad they brought them back.

Unfortunately they’re full price at the moment, but I found a few sizes at Zappo’s for 10% off. I guess every little bit helps, but if you like them, I’d wait for a J.Crew sale.

I also have leopard heels that would be stunning with this outfit, but I do a lot of heels, so I styled this look with flats to show you that flats can be chic as well! The key to making these more dressy is the pointy toe and the slight heel.

These leopard flats are truly gorgeous, and I love the black trim and how the heel is covered with the leopard calf hair as well. They are a good quality shoe with leather lining, and they’re more comfortable than you might think; I found they broke in very easily. I wore them all day Wednesday after this photo shoot, and I was very comfortable.

If ordering, I recommend sizing up half to accommodate the pointy toe; I have the 8h Medium (8h equals 8½).

On top, I’m wearing a black blouse with lace yoke and tie collar. The Victorian-inspired styles are trending at the moment, which is not a look I typically gravitate towards, but I really like how this blouse fits.

It’s long and rather voluminous, but it has a nice drape and looks great with a front-tuck. For size reference, I have the small.

I decided to pair this blouse with my new AG Farrah skinny ankle jeans with the frayed hems. The subtle fading creates a nice contrast against the black top, and the higher rise (9.75″) keeps them on trend.

These are from the Shopbop sale last weekend, and they’re also back to full price at the moment. That seems to be the theme of this post! I try to post outfits when at least one component is on sale, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. This pair is on sale, though, if you’re looking for a similar style.

I like the contrast of the dressier blouse with the slightly faded blue jeans, and then the leopard shoes bring a bit of polish to the whole look.

Other statement shoe options to elevate a black and denim outfit are snake print (obvi) or a bold color like red, rust, yellow, or even white.

Outfit Details:

lace yoke blouse // skinny jeans (sale option/budget option) // leopard flats // black tote (option) // earrings // sunnies c/o Maui Jim

Shop More Outfit Elevating Statement Shoes:

Did you like this post? 

Subscribe to get email updates! In addition to my most recent blog posts, you’ll receive exclusive newsletter content like special sales, my newest favorite finds, and an occasional peek behind the scenes — all delivered right to your inbox. PLUS you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card each month!

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

photos: Alison Cornell

Join the Conversation

21 thoughts on “How to Instantly Elevate a Black & Denim Outfit

  1. I have a question about shoes/booties with black pants. Is taupe ok? Great outfit on you. I heard we are getting rain and cooler weather. Hope so. It has been a long hot summer.

  2. This outfit is me 💯 %. I’m getting ready for work, but took a minute to order the shoes and the blouse…..love them! ❤️

  3. Y’all are lucky to have had some rain and leaves changing colors up there!  Down here the leaves are just turning brown due to the severe drought.  We will be back in triple digits today then tomorrow the high should be in the 80’s.  Mid to late next week the lows will be in the 50’s and 60’s – YAY!  This is a great outfit.  You look nice in the blouse, even though it’s not your normal style.  Like you mentioned, I have found that lighter denim compliments a dark top.  Have a great day!

  4. Love black with jeans and love the pop with the leopard! You look great! Thanks for the inspiration. And that handbag!!! — signed up for the sale alert!

  5. I love this outfit!  Black with denim is one of my favorite combos.  And I love the leopard shoes with it.  So glad you are feeling some Fall weather now!

  6. Great post! Finding the right shoes is so challenging this time of year with the change of seasons. I really like the various shoes you’ve recommended, especially ones that are lower heeled and more practical buts still stylish.

    Can you or your readers recommend a source for good quality, leather belts? So many stores carry the non-leather cheap belts that crack after only a few months of wear. Thank you.

  7. I love this outfit! The blouse is beautiful and would look great on any body. I like how you styled it even better than the model on the Nordstrom site. Nordstrom should be using you as a consultant! 🙂

  8. I love the way a nice blouse can easily elevate the look of jeans. Nice to see you in flats today. I don’t wear heels anymore so having an option in a lower heel is a bonus, 
    Enjoy your cooler weather! 

  9. Love the look of dressy, blousy tops with denim jeans. The only think I would’ve added to your look is a black leather belt with gold-toned hardware If you were wearing solid shoes, an animal print belt would look awesome! I am only 40-ish miles away from you and am loving the cool breeze and sunshine!! It’s refreshing to open all the windows and breathe deep!! Went to Longwood Gardens yesterday and wore my AG Primas!! Looked great with my brown ankle boots.

  10. Total winner!!!! Love all of this it’s totally me:) I wore my leopard print loafers yesterday but I’m interested in replacing them for a fiat like this. We will be visiting the USA in a couple weeks so may have some luck then. Our weather the last few days has continued to be cool. Out leaves have been changing and our firing bushes are a bright red. This is the first time in a few years I’ve decorated so early for fall but it came a lot earlier. I see a few warmer days coming but they won’t last at this rate .

  11. I wish we had your weather over here, it’s so cold in the Netherlands! Hope to see you on my Fancy Friday link up party! Happy weekend!

  12. Wow – what a cute outfit and soooo classy. Unfortunately, I can’t afford those prices. So, I can do the same thing with my little budget. Thank you for the styles and suggestions.

  13. I’m soooooo happy to finally have some cooler weather around here. I have those AG skinny jeans with the raw hem. I really like that they’re skinny, but not skin tight. That top is really pretty with the floral lace detail.

  14. LOVE everything about this outfit!! Classy casual chic and the blouse gives a nod to the lace trend without being too frilly.

  15. Great stylish outfit, but I think a nice black belt with some gold hardware, would have brought the outfit up a notch, and look more completed.  Great look!

Want More?

Jo-Lynne Shane on Instagram

Click an image below.

Follow @jolynneshane