If you receive an invite with the term ‘black tie’ it is safe to say that this means formal dressing. Whether it’s a work function ball, a charity gala, an awards night or ceremony, or school formal, Black Tie Ball universally means men in tuxedo’s, and women in long gowns or a cocktail dress – provided the hemline doesn’t go above the knees.
Black tie events are widely held in the evening, generally after 6pm. You want to make sure that your outfit adheres to the formal dress code as well as the specific function. For men, the job is pretty easy! But for women, it can be a bit difficult deciding on that perfect Ball gown. Below we have helped to take the guess work out of the Black Tie Ball dress code and list appropriate dresses for different kinds of ball events. Look to formal gowns with a slightly tailored edge.
Work Function Ball
Attending a work function ball or business awards gala requires you to dress the part. This means adhering to the ‘Black Tie’ dress code, but also maintaining a sense of business in your attire. Of course this isn’t compulsory, but if you or your team are up for an award you want to look formal appropriate as well as professional in your attire.
GEORGE ‘Sofia Mermaid Hem – Black’
Available sizes: 6-16
ELLE ZEITOUNE ‘Lori Black Gown’
Available sizes: 6,-16
PASDUCHAS ‘Girl Crush Midi – Black’
Available sizes: 8-14
For a Black Tie charity gala ball, women should look to gowns or dresses that are classic and elegant. Cocktail dresses are a good option too, make it interesting by opting for one with an asymmetrical hemline. Black is always a timeless colour but perhaps try something more colourful for added intrigue. Add accessories to perfect your look! For more style tips, read our Gala Dinners Style Guide.
BADGLEY MISCHKA ‘Gold Sequin Cowl Back’
Available sizes: 8-14
TALULAH ‘Carnation Flared Sleeve Gown’
Available sizes: 8-14
UNSPOKEN ‘Alexa Midi Dress – Navy’
Available sizes: 6-10
Awards Night/University Ball
Do you have an end of year graduation ceremony or uni ball coming up? If so, look to gowns or cocktail dresses with colour and a youthful edge. Keep it formal by keeping visible skin to a minimum, but opt for playful designs and textures to send off your final schooling years in style.
WHEN FREDDIE MET LILLY ‘Anastasia Velvet Gown – Navy’
Available sizes: 6
GRACE & HART ‘Renaissance Gown – Blush’
Available sizes: 8-14
GRACE & HART ‘Babys Breath Gown – Cherry’
Available sizes: 6-16
A school formal is a formal event, so you want to opt for a formal gown or dress that is special and that reflects your own unique style. School formals are a big event in a high school student’s life, and it’s one to remember for years to come. Sequins always are a glam option as well as a classic princess style gown. Seeing as a high school budget can make it hard to buy the perfect dress, consider renting one for that special night!
FOR LOVE AND LEMONS ‘Daphne Lace Midi Dress – Bordeaux’
Available sizes: 6-12
NICOLE MILLER ‘Carlessa Cut Out Gown’
Available sizes: 6-10
JADORE ‘Long Sleeve Sequinned Dress – Navy’
Available sizes: 10, 14
A belle of the ball needs the perfect ball hairstyle to match! Whether you are attending a charity ball, an awards night or gala, get inspiration from these 5 celebrity ballroom hairstyles to make the biggest impact at your formal event. From intricate up-dos, to loose, Hollywood glamour girl waves; there is sure to be a hairstyle for you and your outfit!
5 Belle of the Ball Hairstyles
1. Natalie Portman’s curly up-do with barrette
Natalie Portman’s Grecian-inspired up-do styled perfectly to match her Grecian Rodarte dress at the 2009 Oscars. If you are wearing a similar style of dress, then this gorgeous up-do would be perfect! What makes this ball hairstyle stand out is this beautifully placed sparkle hair barrette which adds some vintage glamour.
To begin this french twist, start by curling the hair with a thin curling barrel to achieve tight curls; this will give this beautiful Grecian goddess effect with beautiful tendrils spilling out from behind your hair piece. Next, sweep all the hair to one side and hold in place with your hand. Use bobby pins to hold hair in place, then slightly spray hairspray for extra hold. Take the lengths of the hair to the side then begin twisting upward in the opposite direction that you swept it in. Pin hair in place.
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Next, take a statement hair ornament such as this one by Olga Berg which is available to rent for $29!
2. Sandra Bullock’s glossy, sleeked-back ponytail
Sandra Bullock stunned the red carpet in 2012 with this super sexy sleeked back ponytail. The secret to this glossy shine, according to celebrity hairstylist David Babaii, is an oil elixir used to both nourish the hair and protect it against heat, as well as add shine. For Sandra’s look, he used the Miracle Hair Oil Elixir from his own line (discontinued) but you can substitute with the Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir (available at Ry.com.au)
Apply the oil before blowdrying, then once dry, smooth any flyaways with extra oil. Next it is simply a case of pulling hair back into a high ponytail, wrapping a section of hair around the base of the ponytail to conceal the elastic. This hairstyle would look great with gowns featuring opulent neck detail as to show off the dress. Complete the look with earrings similar to Sandra’s in our Diamante Edge Teardrop Statement Earring.
3. Jessica Chastain’s Rapunzelesque half up/half down
Perfect for those women with longer hair and layers, Jessica Chastain’s soft, tumbling waves look ultra elegant and feminine. Jessica Chastain’s 2013 Oscar ball hairstyle involved blowdrying hair, making sure the nozzel points downwards to avoid any flyaways or unneeded volume at the roots. Next, prep hair with heat protectant spray. A good choice is Tresemme’s Heat Tamer Protective Spray available at priceline.com.au. Next, take a straightening iron and straighten half way down the lengths of the hair, and then curling the remaining lengths. Gather hair at the sides and sweep back into a half-up/down, twisting one strand over the other and pinning into place with bobby pins.
4. Jessica Alba’s braided up-do
Be the belle of the ball in this princess-worthy braided up-do. Jessica Alba has made this one of her signature styles, seemingly wearing it to many red carpet events – and no wonder why! It’s a beautiful hairstyle which looks perfect with any formal gown.
For this look, create a side part and clip in place. From the side part, separate a section of hair starting from the crown of the head. Then, french braid the right side, gathering more hair as you work your way down. Repeat the same on the left side. Tie the braids with mini elastics. Next, back comb the middle section of the hair to create some volume. Gather the hair into a ponytail, then wrap and twist into a bun. Crisscross the braids underneath the bun and wrap any remaining length around the bun.
Complete this beautiful ball hairstyle with gold statement earrings.
5. Bella Thorne’s Halo Braid
To get Bella’s romantic hairstyle, begin by creating two French braids on either side of your head. Continue on one of the braids so that it wraps around the back of your head and across your neck. Once you get to the nape of your neck, switch to a fishtail technique. Then bring both braids up across the top of your head and pin in place with bobby pins.
The icing on the cake to any formal outfit is the makeup. Makeup should tie everything together; the shoes, the dress, the hair, and transform you into a princess for the night. So move over, Cinderella! We have gathered our top 5 celebrity-inspired ball makeup looks for any Belle of the ball, which are sure to make an impact at any formal event.
The trick to ball makeup is to focus on one feature of the face and play it up, rather than have a full face of makeup – as this can be too much for a formal outfit. Bold lips, sultry eyes and shimmery skin are all ballroom worthy looks and easy to achieve if you follow our simple steps!
5 Celeb-Inspired Ball Makeup Looks
1. Selena Gomez’s plum lips with lush lashes
Plum is the perfect evening lip colour. Less bold and dramatic than the classic red, plum lipstick is more forgiving and is a shade that literally anyone can pull off. It can also look gorgeous blotted or dabbed on for a sexy stain if full coverage is too much for you. When choosing the right plum lip colour for your skin tone, the rules are as follows: Fair skin ladies look great in a berry plum; look to shades with pink undertones. Medium skin girls should opt for plums with a metallic sheen to bring out their golden tones. Darker skin women look fab in dark plum tones or red-based plums. Play around to find a shade that suits you!
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To apply, be sure to first scrub the lip with a sugar lip scrub or a toothbrush to buff away any dead skin which can make application very tricky and uneven. Next use a lip primer to ensure your lipstick stays on all night. Take your plum lipstick and apply with a lipbrush or straight from the tube. If you want to achieve a sexy stain, dab some product onto your finger and press onto the lips then blot with a tissue. Get rid of any bleeding or uneven lines with concealer.
To complement this look, follow Selena’s lead and go dramatic on the lashes by applying several coats of mascara for an ultra stunning belle of the ball makeup look!
2. Blake Lively’s inner corner eye shimmer
Inner eye shimmer is such a universally flattering makeup look. Perfect for all eye shapes and colours, using a white, silver or pearl shimmery eyeshadow on the inner corners of the eyes instantly widens and brightens your eyes and adds a sexy yet subtle glow to your overall ball makeup look.
This look is best applied with a powder shadow, however liquid illuminator can work well too. Simply choose from one of your shimmery white shades in your eyeshadow palette and, using your finger or a small eyeshadow brush, press into the inner corner of the eye and slightly below on the bottom lashline. Highlight the brow bone with the same shade for extra glamour! Finish with a couple of coats of mascara and a nude lip. This ball makeup look would look gorgeous when teamed with a sequin or metallic dress.
3. Bella Heathcote’s metallic eyes
Australian actress Bella Heathcote’s gorgeous metallic eyeshadow really brings out her stunning big blue eyes. Not overdone, this look is simply achieved by applying a warm brown or copper-toned eyeshadow into the crease of the eye and slightly up and out. To best achieve this line, place some makeup tape on the outer corners of the eyes going slightly up and out toward the end of your eyebrow. Take the same shade and apply it to your lower lashline then simply coat the top and bottom lashes with black mascara. This would go beautifully with a metallic or navy blue gown.
4. Scarlett Johansson’s feline eyes
Scarlett’s sexy cat eyes look both alluring and mesmerizing. To achieve this simple winged eye look, opt for a black liquid eyeliner. Pen form is best for accuracy and precision; our pick is Eyeko London’s Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (eyeko.com) The best way to achieve a flawless winged eye is by starting from the tip of the wing, inwards. Again, for best accuracy you can use a makeup tape on the outer corner of the eyes to achieve a perfect line. A winged cat eye looks best on a neutral base, so don’t go overboard with eyeshadow. Use a flesh toned shade on the lid and a soft brown or taupe shade in the crease. This sultry makeup look suits a classic and elegant black formal gown.
5. Leighton Meester’s glowing cheeks
Nothing is more feminine and pretty than gorgeous glowing cheeks! Take a cue from Leighton Meester’s perfect ball makeup look and try adding some shimmer powder or highlight to the apples of your cheeks after applying your foundation and makeup. The soft glow creates a halo effect for the face and a healthy, attractive flush to the skin. This looks extra pretty with berry lips and fluttery eyelashes. If you are opting to go the glow, avoid shimmery dresses or gowns with too much embellishment as this can be a little OTT. Stay safe by complementing your glow with a simple little black dress or neutral-toned gown.