We’re not sure about you, but when we open our mailboxes and find an invitation to a black tie function, our thoughts immediately turn to what that dress code actually means. To that end, we compiled a guide to black tie formal wear that’ll help you navigate what to wear to a wedding, event, gala, or anything else that calls for black tie attire.
Black tie is a dress code for social functions that start after 6 p.m., and basically translates to “this party is fancy and men should wear tuxedos.” While the intricacies of black tie formal wear applies more to men than to women, it’s still important to understand that your attire should definitely be appropriate.
Apart from white-tie affairs—which aren’t common—black tie is the most formal dress code you’ll probably face when to comes to weddings or galas. For women, it’s customary to wear floor-length gowns, but in this day and age, exceptions can be made.
If you don’t own a gown and don’t particularly want to buy one for a one-off occasion? It’s perfectly acceptable to wear a cocktail dress you already have. However, if you do go this route, just make sure to keep the colors rich (black, jewel tones, chic metallics, brown) so as not to look too casual.
Conversely, women can wear a floor-length gown in a lighter shade, since the silhouette is inherently dressy. Another acceptable option for black-tie affairs: Chic separates, such as a silk blouse with a full satin skirt.
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