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The Ultimate Guide to Black-Tie Events for Women

If an invitation to a black-tie event has thrown you into a fit of worry about what to wear, you’re not the only one. Whilst black-tie is very straightforward for men, women have a slightly trickier task thanks to the endless options available.

However, with this ultimate guide, you will be walked through dressing etiquette, what to avoid and how to express your personality at the same time. Being invited to a black-tie event is, for most people, a rare opportunity to put their best foot forward and wear fabulous outfits that rarely see the dancefloor. So, enjoy it!

What is black tie?

Black tie usually requires guests to don a tuxedo or an evening dress. For women, however, there is more room for manoeuvre and, as long as you’re looking smart and fancy, you can wear whatever you think gits the bill. A long evening dress is always a safe bet when attending a black-tie event. Colours such as navy, black and maroons also give a more classic feel whilst brighter colours are considered more informal.

Give me some inspiration!

Your occasion wear depends on the type of black-tie event you have been invited to. If you have been invited to a black-tie wedding, have fun with fabulous cocktail dresses with a sparkly pair of heels, experiment with co-ords or even challenge gendered dressing and wear a tuxedo yourself a-la Janelle Monáe. These are perfect options for women who feel uncomfortable in full length dresses.

Another type of dress code is black-tie optional. Here you can really have some fun and play with silhouettes, colours and styles. The aim is to look smart and elegant without looking like you’re going to a royal wedding.

For more formal events like a gala or a dinner, full-length gowns are more commonplace. Choose a gown that you feel comfortable in and don’t run the risk of feeling underdressed. If you want to stand out, opt for bolder shades like reds, whites and metallics rather than the predictable black.

The dos and don’ts

There’s nothing more embarrassing than stepping out in an unsuitable outfit for an ultra-formal event. When choosing your gown, opt for one that will suit a number of occasions. Invest in high-quality, flattering fabrics, prioritise timeless silhouettes that will never go out of fashion and if it’s a really formal affair, lean towards dark, jewel tones. It’s best to keep your hair and make-up natural too.

Most importantly

Formal events can be long. Make sure you’re comfortable by choosing an outfit that lets you move freely and fills you with confidence. That includes your shoes! Now step out, stun the crowd and have some fun!

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