Oh boy, friends. Just when you think you can reign yourself in on the J.Crew sales, a little black dress like this comes along and makes you realize you’re just a big ol’ sucker. But you know my quarantine fashion philosophy has been to put my money exclusively into pieces that will last beyond this strange season that we (as in, all humans) are in at this moment. Wardrobe staples that satisfy our spudsy little homebodies now and will re-acclimatize with us into an amended society in the months to come. I’ve already spoken at length about a few of my favorites: these paper-bag waist pants. This dress. And now: this tiered black maxi (or midi, depending on your height — more on that in a minute).

It was rumored to be good, and, well, it is. SO good, in fact, that it’s going fast, especially in the black. And at under $100 at full price, it’s the perfect price point for something so dang versatile — though J.Crew has been offering a new sale almost every day that knocks that down a bit. (As we speak, it’s 25% off with code SALETIME.)

Have no fear, though, friends — just in case it is sold out, I’ve rounded up a dozen similar black maxi dresses below, all of which could be similarly styled (and around the same price point — or less).

Shop More Easy-to-Style Long Black Dresses

8 Ways To Wear The Black Tiered Maxi Dress (Year-Round)

OK — back to this dude. Let’s talk briefly about the fit and fabrication of this tiered maxi dress, and then I’ll show you a few easy ways I styled it up to show off its year-round versatility. And honestly, you might be surprised by just how much wear you could get out of this babe if you get a little creative. I know I was. Pleasantly so, in fact.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

Reviews overwhelmingly say that this dress runs large, and I agree completely. I sized down from my typical XS to an XXS and it definitely fits more like an XS. I’d even say it fits like something between an XS-S, but not so much that I would size down any more than one size. The strappy back of this dress is probably my favorite feature, but as such, it makes a bra a little tricky. Yes, you could easily wear a strapless, or criss-cross the straps on a convertible bra, but if you’re comfortable going without a bra, that’s the route I’d pursue. The fabrication is a true 100% cotton knit — more substantial than a jersey material but not what I’d call thick — but as such, it’s enough to provide a bit more modesty. And regarding length — well, I’m 5’5″ and it hits somewhere between a midi and a maxi. And that’s before tossing it into the wash, because you know lazy me is going to machine wash all the things. Personally, if it shrinks a little in the length, I can live with that, but if you’re on the taller side and you’re looking for a floor-length maxi…well, this probably isn’t going to be that.

My only wish for this piece would be — yep, you guessed it — pockets. But the tiers, the sporty back and the oversized eyelet trim (interesting without being overly sweet) all make this one of my favorite buys of the summer.

Let’s put it to work.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

Black Maxi Dress Outfit 1: Plain Jane.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | Adidas Stan Smiths (on sale in blue here; size down half)

No surprise here: paired with my most-worn Adidas Stan Smiths and simple, everyday jewelry. It’d be a stretch to even call this styled, but it’s how I’m most likely to wear it on the daily.

…plus a trucker jacket.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | Adidas Stan Smiths (on sale in blue here; size down half) | trucker jacket (TTS)

For an evening stroll or an air-conditioned grocery store, just add a denim jacket. (And a mask, if you please.)


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 2: Chambray can do no wrong.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | clogs (TTS) | chambray shirt (similar, loads of sizes incl. tall, petite + plus and great reviews)

This is one of those looks that is better in motion, so you’re just going to have to trust me. In the look on the left, there’s kind of a carefree, smock thing going on with the oversized chambray that’s got a bit of an artsy, Free People, off-duty model vibe that I honestly adore. Like, “why yes, I realize this outfit flatters my curves not at all, and I happen to be totally here for it.” And I am here for it. If you’re less so, an easy knot at the waist brings back some definition. (If you don’t already have a chambray shirt, this one has great reviews and is available in petite, tall and plus sizing.)


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 3: Oh, the places you’ll…maybe…go…eventually…?

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | heels (similar) | necklace (similar vibe, on super sale)

My first reaction when I pulled together this style was ohhhh, daytime wedding! And this really would be ideal for that, if you happen to have an occasion to safely attend such a thing. (Actually, all of the weddings I’ve heard of taking place have been downsized to more intimate, outdoor affairs, for which this would be perfect.) But this could also work for the office / brunch / toddler tea parties — and my personal favorite (borrowed from Emily Schuman): formal Friday, in which the whole family gets dressed up for dinner at home. I’m 99% sure Chris will take a hard pass on that one, but lord knows I’m gonna pitch the idea nonetheless.


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 4: Kid vibes…but grown up.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | plaid shirt (similar here or here)
left: Adidas Sleek sneakers (TTS) | right: heels (similar)

Ok, hear me out. The first thing I thought when I saw the cross straps on the back of this dress was that it reminded me of a little girls’ jumper, so I thought I’d take the playful approach of layering a shirt underneath — and, friends, I don’t hate it. In fact — I’m surprised by how much I’m looking forward to wearing the dress in this way. The look on the left (sneakers) is totally something I’d wear in the fall — especially with my hair down and a plush beanie. And then on the right: hello holiday-ready. Obviously, you could swap out the plaid for a more seasonless stripe or floral for a preppier take on it, but I’ll take the quasi-grunge vibe of buffalo plaid and kicks any day.


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 5: If it ain’t broke…(and it really, really ain’t)

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | high tops (TTS) | graphic tee (TTS; I sized up for a slouchier fit)


A graphic tee and sneaks!? GET OUT OF TOWN. Old hat, I know, but if it ain’t broke… And have we talked about these particular Paul Green high tops? They’re literally some of the softest, most comfortable shoes I’ve ever slipped onto my feet — and the styling of the vamp visually shortens the length making them look like kid shoes — but in a good way? They’re seriously adorable. I’ve been wearing them sockless, and they required zero break-in period. A little on the pricey side, but the quality is out of this world. (You know I’m all about a bargain, so this is a true testament…) True to size.


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 6: The sherbetiest sweatshirt!

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | high tops (TTS) | vintage wash sweatshirt (budget buy! TTS or size up for slouch)

There’s not much I won’t be attempting to style with this new sweatshirt, because I never want it off my body. It’s perfectly vintage-washed, giving it a broken-in feel, and there’s just a bit of dimension to the color that makes it look much higher-end than the price tag suggests — which is, ahem, $29, and frequently on sale. I’m already considering picking up a second color (“Peachy Treat” – ha) because I love all the sherbety hues. I sized up one to a S for added slouch, but I could have gone with my usual XS for a closer fit — just depends how you intend to wear it.

And friends! Picture this same look with a sunny, bright or open knit sweater (I’ve been lightly stalking this one) swapped in for the sweatshirt, too. Same idea.


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 7: Little bit (lotta bit) o’ leather.

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | boots (past season — similar here on super sale!) | leather jacket (see comment below for sale tips and sizing)

Pretty straightforward, but more proof that this dress has legs beyond spring and summer. The all-black is a personal favorite, but I also like breaking it up with the tee again, too. (p.s. this exact jacket is still fully stocked here, and there are also select sizes still available here and here. Some readers have even had success with REVOLVE matching ALLSAINTS’ price, which is substantially discounted. Sizing runs small — I’m usually a 0-2 and I sized up to a US4.)


Black Maxi Dress Outfit 8: So, this wrap cardigan thing probably deserves its own post…

This long black maxi dress from J.Crew is the perfect outfit staple. A graphic tee, a denim jacket, a shrug — 8 ways to wear it, year-round.

dress (size down one) | convertible “shrug” (also here — TTS, or I sized up one for slouch) | boots (a very favorite pair, and still incredibly in stock at a great price – TTS)

This “shrug” (that’s what they call it — I think it’s a little long to fall into the shrug category) is such a powerful little piece. It’s what I reach for when I’m wearing workout leggings and a sports bra and need to run an errand or even out to the mailbox because it just looks chic and yet it’s SO versatile and easy. It’s particularly cool with black skinnies and boots, too, or even with cut-offs and wedges. As demonstrated, you can wear it two ways: criss-cross draped in the front (I chose to make it kind of asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder here) or pulled on like a cardigan. It takes me maybe a full minute to work out the puzzle that is getting it converted from one style to the other (#quarantinebrain) but folks — it’s worth it. I haven’t been able to track it down in the blush color, but it’s still fully stocked in both black and gray here and here. With the dress, it feels exceptionally artsy and cool. (I ordered up one knowing I wanted it to have plenty of volume.)


Shop All The Black Maxi Dress Outfit Ideas Mentioned In This Post


All in all, such a good piece that I know I’ll be reaching for well beyond this (literal and metaphorical) season in which we find ourselves. Oh, and I did I mention? It’s available in a bright poppy orange, too. BE. STILL. MY. HEART.

xo!
Em

Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

9 COMMENTS

  1. YES! Love outfit ideas. This visual person loves, well the VISUALS! You share your genius, and I copy so I can look ‘with it!’ Thank you! …and can I ask about your bedroom rug? Where gig you get?

    • Thanks so much! So glad you enjoy the posts — I’m big on visuals, too. 🙂 Rug is this one here: https://shopstyle.it/l/bkJ45 — we love it! Handles high-traffic areas so well (we had it in our living room for a few years before this). Can’t recommend it enough.

  2. I love your posts showing multiple ways to style one item! Also have to echo your comments about sizing up in the Allsaints leather jackets. I am normally a 0-2 as well, ordered a 4, but exchanged it for a 6 as I felt the 4 was way too tight under my arms.

    • Awh, yay – thanks, glad you enjoy the posts. And as much as I love ALLSAINTS, the fit can be tricky to nail on these jackets. Glad I’m not alone! (But they break in beautifully, don’t they?)

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  4. I think this dress would look awful on me but your looks make me want to try it anyway! Love your casual, chic style Emily!! Gorgeous.

    • Hahaha, well thank you! I appreciate that! It’s actually not final sale at the moment, so you could always give it a go — the reviews are excellent, too, so maybe it’d work for ya!

    • So you could totally get away with a strapless bra — the back isn’t that low. Or if you have a conventional bra with convertible straps that can be worn criss-crossed, I think that would work, too. OR you could always rock my fave trick during summer: just wear any bikini top underneath. The more bikini-esque (for ex: strings that tie, so it really looks like a swimsuit) the better. No one will question an exposed bikini. 🙂

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