Formal Black Halter Dress | The Kewl Lookbook

Formal Black Halter Dress

Last updated on : November 15 2015

We choose our little black dresses because they are sexy, simple, and versatile. In today’s fashion world our style palettes have become very refined. We take our inspirations from fashion bloggers, Pinterest, and Instagram and pull from the styles we love to create a look all our own. In our quest for one-of-a-kind style we often push our former go to wardrobe staples to the back of our closets and fail to reintroduce them as often as we should. This week’s Kewl Look is about that go-to little black dress you rely on in a pinch. We look at how to bring it back into the light with fashion forward style tips that use its core design as inspiration for up-styling your LBD.

Why choose this dress and neckline?

We chose a very common halter style black bandage dress (modeled by Claudia) because it offers a clean canvas for styling and most women find the design very flattering. This dress is designed to make you appear more slender and gives you the illusion of being taller.

Halter necklines are also very feminine and soft. These styles draw attention to your shoulders and frame your face. The style has stood the test of time because halters wrap around your neck like a lovers arms and thus creates a subtle and unconscious sexual tension that most of us cannot explain. Don’t believe us? Pay close attention to where eyes land when you are speaking to them in a little black halter dress.

How do I get this look?

When we coordinated and planned this look for Claudia we had two simple things in mind: sophistication and tasteful sex appeal. We wanted to pull off a style that was modest yet flirty and covered yet sexy. Our stylist knew that the dress was amazing alone but decided to add a simple feathered gold belt and complimenting earrings to give the look a very formal and upscale polish. Leaving the arms bare was a conscious decision to keep the look very fluid and appealing with the uninterrupted display of innocent skin.

Find a similar belt here.

Find similar earrings here.

Get the actual dress for this look here.


Where can I wear this?

You likely have worn your little black dress to just about every venue and event ever. This LBD look is best reserved for more upscale events.
  • Date night.
  • Charity galas or balls.
  • Movie premier.
  • Cocktails with clients.
  • An evening soiree.
  • Awards ceremony.
  • An evening wedding.
  • A product or service launch.
  • Corporate training reception.


How do I choose a hairstyle?

When you are needing to pull off a more formal LBD always opt for an updo of some sort. A simple straight ponytail is acceptable as well as full curls pulled away from your face and off your neck. If you wear a shorter hairstyle such as a short bob or an undercut consider using hairpins to pull your hair out of your face or pin it up if needed. The key for hairstyles with a more formal halter LBD look is keep hair away from your face.

Babble compiled a list of pretty ponytails ideas. Remember that not all ponytails are created equal so choose one you think works best for your unique style and event.

Get pretty ponytail ideas here.
Verily Mag shows 3 ways to give your ponytail a stylish makeover.


What makeup works best for this look?

The makeup for this look is something in between natural and smoky. With the more formal little black halter dress styles you want to wear just enough makeup without it overtaking your natural beauty. We recommend contouring rather than heavy eyeshadow and bold lipstick. Contouring is simply adding highlights and shape to your face. It is commonly seen but never really recognized but (when done properly) gives your face a soft, feminine polish. Until recently contouring was something that only licensed cosmetologist pulled off. Today contours of the face and collarbones is done by the masses with dozens of YouTube and Instagram makeup artists helping our cause.

When you opt for contours of the face remember that the undertones used for the contours need to be a shade darker or lighter than your skin tone. The best contours are made with tones of gray, browns, taupes, and tans. Add heavy mascara, light lipgloss, and a natural glitter eyeshadow and you get a simple look that compliments your little black halter style rather than competes with it. The role with makeup for this look is to polish and finish it not completely over take it.

Contours are much easier when you understand the basics of this makeup art. We’ve compiled a few guides online by a few makeup experts and enthusiasts and provided links for your quick reference.

Check out Teen Vogue’s guide to contours here.
Dana shows you how to highlight and contour in her makeup tutorial here.

Sephora claims to have the best contouring makeup on the market. We can’t vouch for that but the brand does an exceptional job with addressing how and what you need to contour for a variety of skin tones.

Read more about that here.

Real Techniques by makeup artists Sam and Nic Chapman has published a step by step guide (with pictures) to help you along your contour journey.

Get practical contouring tips here.


Who is wearing formal black halter dresses?

Celebrities from around the world continuously turn to the little black halter dresses for formal events, date nights, and more.

Rihanna pulled off a sexy black halter dress that swept the floor in elegance at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Though very revealing the look is timeless and classy. She showed plenty of skin (a must with this style) but used dainty accessories to keep the look from tiptoeing into being a hussy.

What shoes should I wear?

Choosing shoes is easier said than done. The shoes you choose largely depend on three factors: how much walking you plan on doing, where are you going, and the length of the dress. Anytime you want to give your overall look a more polished and formal style go for strappy heels. Thinner and minimal straps are a bit more challenging to walk in for longer periods while styles with wider straps make walking a bit easier. The number of straps largely depends on your comfort and preferences.

Ashley from Shoerazzi shares which designer shoes are must-haves here.

Straps that wrap around your ankles and simply hold your toes in place are elegant and sophisticated. These styles work well for shorter lengths. Heels with straps that reach your ankles tend to provide more support and are ideal if you plan to do a bit of walking. They also work well for longer length dresses. Some fashionistas recommend the very opposite: shorter dresses should be paired with more straps while longer dresses should be paired with minimal straps. Shoes are a matter of preference and style palettes but strappy is certainly the way to go for more formal little black halter styles.

What are the best undergarments for little black halter dresses?

Regardless of your halter dress style your choice of undergarments is fairly limited. With a halter style dress you need to consider straps, lift, and support. For more formal halter styles your back is prominently displayed thus traditional bras with wings and bands are difficult to wear. Adhesive bras are realistic options for these dresses and come in various styles.

Consider reading our guide on What to Wear Under A Bandage Dresses here.

Although halter bras exists often many of these styles are not always adequate for more skin driven looks and styles. Below we’ve done our best to list off the types of adhesive bra options available for backless and deep V plunging necklines.  

Full cup support - these adhesive bra cups cover the entire breast. Most of these styles are similar to an underwired bra. Many feature a front clasp giving the illusion and feel of more support for your breast.

Bare Necessities offer a full range of adhesive bras that provide full coverage using transparent and nude cups that hug and support your breast comfortably using wings at your bustline in place of the traditional bra band. (As usual we aren’t endorsing the aforementioned brand but their product line is complete and useful.)

See the body sculpting bra option by Bare Necessities.
Consider one of these backless bras.

Nipple concealers - nipple concealers are viable options if you have smaller breast (no bigger than C cups). These concealers are available in a variety of styles and options that include silicon, polyester blends, and more.

Consider the nipple concealers on Amazon for seamless cover.



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About the Author

Sasithon Bella is the kewl in The Kewl Shop. Co-founder, chief buyer, bandage dress guru and a lot more. If you like what you see at The Kewl Shop it is because of Sasithon Bella. You might know her better as Sasi.



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