Spring/Summer
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What Shoes to Wear with a Black Dress

** This post is sponsored by Nordstrom and Collective Voice.

There is probably no more versatile closet essential than a little black dress, and this Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress has been a workhorse in my spring/summer wardrobe for the past two seasons because of its comfort and versatility.

The clean lines and quality fabrications make it a classic that I can keep for years, which also increases the value by reducing cost per wear.

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress (XS) // Nordstrom Carolina Slides (8) // Coach Day Tote // Lagos earrings

I thought it would be fun to show this dress with several different shoe and handbag combinations to illustrate how versatile it is, and everything I’m wearing is available at Nordstrom for easy one-stop shopping!

This first look is causal yet polished with the warm contrast of the brown slide sandals with interlocking vamp straps.

I like how the brown sandals and ivory leather tote with brown details relate to each other without being too matchy.

STYLE TIP: When you don’t match your shoes and bag, but keep them complementary, you get a more relaxed vibe that still looks intentional.

To show a more dressed-up option, I wore luxe black leather wedge slide sandals and carried a black pebbled leather crossbody bag. I also added a bolder pair of earrings.

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress (XS) // Vince Pia Wedge Sandals (8) // similar crossbody // Yurman earrings

This black shoe and bag combination keeps a monochromatic color palette, which is sophisticated and chic.

The subtle mix of textures keeps it from being too plain, but I might like it better with more eye-catching accessories. I’ll have to play around with this one a bit.

Next, I swapped out the wedge heels for braided slides in a great neutral taupe, and I carried a straw tote for a summery, beachy touch.

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress (XS) // Dolce Vita Iman Slides (8) // btb Los Angeles Bahama Mama Stripe Tote // Yurman earrings

How cute are the pompoms on this stripe tote? This outfit would be perfect for a day of shopping or even a Saturday morning farmer’s market run because the roomy tote makes a nice carryall.

For my final look, I paired this dress with white sneakers for a sporty vibe that is as comfortable as it is chic.

I think you can see in this picture, this dress is a bit snug on me right now. Thank goodness for Spanx! I’m wearing the Spanx OnCore Mid Thigh Shorts in all of these photos; it’s my go-to with more form-fitting dresses.

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress (XS) // VEJA sneakers (39) // Coach Day Tote // Lagos earrings

This outfit combination might be my favorite of the bunch. It’s perfect for travel or shopping or anytime you want a sporty, put-together look that you can walk in all day.

Which of these 4 outfits is your favorite? 

Shop More Black Knit Dresses

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photos: Alison Cornell

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21 thoughts on “What Shoes to Wear with a Black Dress

  1. Love how you styled the black dress way 4 different ways!

    Would you be able to share your nail polish color?

  2. I got this dress when you first showed it. Was that last year or two years ago? It is beautiful and classy and I have only worn it once. I need to get it out and play with it. Thank you for the reminder. If you are on the fence about it because of the price, let me assure you that because of the quality of the dress, I plan to keep it in my closet for years!

  3. I bought this dress last year at your recommendation, and I absolutely love how versitile it is. I’ve been able to wear it straight from the sidelines of a soccer game to a dance performance just by changing my shoes and jewelry. I went back to buy another color this year, and I learned that the fit is different from last year’s version. This year’s version is a little wider through the body and a few inches longer. Just something to consider when determining size if anyone else is looking to purchase another color.

  4. I kept scrolling back through the photos trying to pick a favorite but I can’t. They all look great and I’d do all of them. I really should order this dress. If you took the XS I’m not sure what I’d take. Great post. Also thanks for the NSALE extra post. The sale can be overwhelming and you always help make it fun.

  5. Im guessing this one is going in your suitcase to Italy? I generally take 2 or 3 black dresses of different styles when I travel and its always the most worn. I bought a Columbia one for this years Europe trip that I can wash in the sink and re-wear but will also be taking one similar to the one you showed today. It always looks classy in both a dressed up and casual look.

    1. Yes! When I started to think about what to pack for Italy, this was the first one that came to mind. Also, the berry colored one that is like it, that I got first. I haven’t even worn it yet this year, but both will be in my Italy travel capsule for sure.

  6. Love these styles! Bought this after you styled along with long Eileen Fisher dress you styled…both are amazing!

    What do you think about the Eileen Fisher dress in the Atlantis? Do you think this could be a classic piece or not with this color?

    1. I love the Atlantis. I don’t see that color looking dated ever. I don’t really think colors get dated, they just “have a moment” every now and again. It’s a lovely color.

  7. I have that dress & love it! I am looking to add some brown slides to my wardrobe. I know you have a few different pairs. Which ones do you think are the most comfortable? I really like the Vince Barcellen slides but am afraid that they might not be comfortable.

  8. Great post, I love these type posts because I can often recreate them with items that I already have. And they help me think outside the box. I like #1 and #3. I’d also add a version with dressy wedges and a gold clutch for a night out look.

  9. I like the “dressed up” styleway (but: always find I would need to carry a big handbag like the Coach in the last combination lol).

    No criticism intended for showing it paired with sneakers (because the dress itself really does seem like a classic, yet modern effortless piece perfect for sooo many different occasions — and: you make it look like a million bucks anyway!); however, I’ve always felt wearing sneakers with a dress was “incomplete” or lazy (though, if you went to high school in the mid-1990s we wore it like that all the time lol!). Yes, comfortable absolutely(!) — but the way EVERYBODY is (generally) so “slouchy looking” thesedays, you think of dresses involving going to attend a formal event you ofc want dressy shoes with (while, OTOH: sneakers are now pretty much for the whatever rest of daily life outfits). Just a pet-peeve I must have subconciously inherited from my mother (and grandmother), ha!

  10. Love this post. I’m going to Paris in September and am planning on bringing a midi length black dress. Will be limited with shoes since my daughter and I are doing carry on only. I love all of the looks! I’m looking forward to your Italy capsule.

  11. Hi…thanks for all you do….ENJOY your blog so much!
    Question: what size do you get in the Spanx shorts? We seem to be same size in everything.
    Thanks for sharing!

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