A plain dress is an empty canvas awaiting your creative masterpiece. Your options for fancying it up are nearly limitless, because there are no concrete fashion rules. However, you’ll want to adhere to some guidelines depending on lengths and cuts, but having fun is most important. Your style, first and foremost, should reflect your personality and represent who you are. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to incorporate a trendy bag or sport a sky-high pump.

Take your dress from drab to fab with a click of your heel. The simplest way to make a statement is with a stylish shoe, and no, it doesn’t have to be a high heel. Kitten heels are a great alternative for those who want some extra height without compromising foot and back health, and they’re usually only 1.5 inches high.

Short, mid-length and floor-length dresses all pair well with flats, though flats can sometimes come across too casual. For a fancier look, try a pointed-flat with jeweled accents on the top. Avoid cotton fabrics, opting for (faux) leather or patten instead.

For example, if your dress is a plain white maxi, try a gold open-toe wedge with coordinating gold cuffs and a gold, long-chain necklace. Add a splash of color with an orange envelope bag.

A big, clunky bag looks anything but fancy when you’re headed out for a night on the town. If you’re styling a pink knee-length dress with silver stilettos, for example, accompany it by a small sequined clutch that you can carry around your wrist. If you’re modeling a short black cocktail dress, a medium-sized single-flap purse with chain looks absolutely chic in any color.

Tips

Large or over-sized bags can be distracting and draw attention away from you and your dress. Select a small to medium-sized bag to properly showcase your outfit.

When accessorizing your plain dress with jewelry, the bolder the better. If you’re planning on wearing a necklace, first, determine what type of neckline you’re working with because this plays a big role in choosing the right length and style. For instance, if your dress bares a fair amount of your chest, pick a necklace that falls within the exposed area and follows the shape of the neckline. If wearing a plain navy dress with a v-shaped neckline, pair it with a silver pendant which cascades or falls into a v-shape itself; add some white studs and a pair of white or silver pumps for contrast.

It’s easy to over-accessorize, so focus on creating a balanced and uniform look. For example, when wearing a large, bold statement necklace that sits higher on the chest, choose studded earrings as opposed to super-long chandelier earrings. By creating space between the two items, you’re allowing the eye to focus on one area at a time. Visually, the less “busy,” the more appealing.

If wearing a black turtleneck dress, add a long red chain or pendant necklace. Pair with gold tassel earrings or black studs. Slip on some red and gold bangles of varying size and tuck your feet into a pair of red or black peep-toe heels.

If you were lucky enough to have been taught to sew or you were just naturally graced with the talent, take advantage. Transform your plain dress by adding appliques or embroidery. Try a beaded applique around the neckline of a high-collared dress, and combine with jeweled rings and bangles. Add white lace detailing to the hemline of a black mini-dress to create length and visual interest; match with a set of pearl earrings, necklace and bracelet. Embroider Spanish-inspired designs along the sides of a plain white dress, and match with yellow fringe earrings for a pop of color.

Tips

If you’re not the most confident seamstress, you can find iron-on or glue-on appliques to give your dress that extra pizzazz that it needs.