Style Tips

Black Tie Event Style Guide

Ladies, it’s time for a truly exceptional look! Black tie is my favourite dress code out of them all, and really, the most simple to define. None of this confusion about what exact top or skirt to wear for “smart casual” and no concerns about whether your outfit is too casual or too formal for a “cocktail” event. When you receive an invite for a black tie event, this means you need to dress up, no ifs or buts. The hosts are inviting you to an outstanding event and they expect their guests to look the part.


Reese Witherspoon Red Carpet Black Tie

Salma Hayek Red Carpet Black Tie

Image Source: Harper's Bazaar


Do I have to wear a floor length gown?

Black tie is the pinnacle of formalwear so this is your chance to go all out and wear that glamorous gown you’ve had your eye on for months. While a floor length gown isn’t mandatory these days, it is still the most associated length for black tie. If you are opting for something shorter, make sure your hemline falls no higher than just above your knees. A tea length dress is a gorgeous alternative if floor length isn’t for you. If you are opting for something shorter, go glam with textures, fabrics and shapes.

That classy, timeless black and white look

Image Source: Dior

When choosing your look for a black tie event, it is important to be mindful of cutouts, sheer and plunging necklines. Black tie is all about elegance and glamour so if you have to think twice about it, it’s safe to say it’s not right for this event. That in no way means you need to discount cut outs, sheer elements or plunging necklines, just keep it classy.


Is black mandatory?

Absolutely not! The term black tie stems from a black dinner jacket and tie for the gentlemen, but us ladies have unlimited options when it comes to colour.

Black Tie Matthew Eager Gown

Grace and Blaze Black Tie Gown

Elle Zeitoune Black Tie Lori Gown

For a glamorous look, avoid neon and candy cotton tones and opt for something more rich and regal. Emerald, navy, ruby red and gold will be perfect but if black is the staple colour in your wardrobe, don’t shy away from it for your event either. If you feel comfortable and confident, that will shine through on the night so opt for your favourite colour and silhouette – leave that daring new look for next time.

Elle Zeitoune Black Tie Gina Gown

Badgley Mischka Embellished Black Tie Gown

Grace and Hart Status Gown



How do I wear Black Tie in Winter?

With Winter closing in, this is the perfect time for Black Tie as you can layer a luxurious wrap or a faux fur cropped jacket to your look for the ultimate glamorous look. While there are striking long sleeve looks, if you’re event is largely inside, a jacket or wrap is likely to keep you warm, as will the weight from a floor length gown.

George Faux Fur Cropped Jacket

Remember, black tie is about glamour and elegance, so dress up in your finest and enjoy a fantastic evening!

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