How does one dress for a black tie event? What shoes do I wear? What length is appropriate? There are so many questions to ask when it comes to the dressiest code of them all.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up all the answers. From what to wear in winter to whether or not you can wear pants, see below for all your questions and answers on a black tie dress code.
What is a black tie dress code and what are the rules?
Black tie is one of the most formal dress codes you’ll come by, surpassed only by white tie, which few people ever have to dress for. Often the dress code for weddings, galas and charity events, a black tie event sees men in tuxedos and women in floor length gowns. Definitely more dressy than cocktail, a black tie event is the perfect chance to whip out a special occasion gown and let your hair down — it’s one of the only occasions you’ll have to look really, really fancy.
The rules for black tie dress codes are pretty simple: don’t wear anything that hits above the knee and heels are usually customary. For men, it means a tuxedo — with a bow tie.
When it comes to colours, it's generally best to go with block colours or muted prints. For a fashion forward approach to prints, try a micro florals (see an example at the end of this article) as not to overwhelm. Steer clear of huge prints, stripes or anything too multicoloured.
For shoes, it's best to stick with nude or black stilettos, pumps or strappy sandals. For a lower heel, opt for a micro kitten heel. Stay away from wedges or flat sandals, as they don't quite fit the fancy brief.
Does the black tie dress code change depending on the season?
The general rules for black tie don’t change depending on whether it’s summer or winter. However, when the weather is cool, a fur stole, silk shawl or entrance jacket can be layered on top of your formal dress.
What is black tie optional?
Black tie optional doesn’t really apply to women, it’s more for men who can choose if they wear a tuxedo or regular suit. However, it does mean that a woman could wear a slightly shorter dress and probably get away with it. Think of it as black tie, but a tad more casual.
Do I have to wear a dress or can I wear pants?
Although a dress is customary with black tie events, a pair of suit pants and a dressy top would be fine, if paired with sophisticated accessories.
Where are some examples of a black tie dress code?
We’ve rounded up some red carpet examples of celebrities wearing black tie dresses, shoes and accessories below. Note the block colours, the long lengths and types of heels. Good luck!