Bella’s Attic Studio is committed to providing you with high-quality content and is supported by its audience. When you make a purchase through the links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
So, you received an invitation to a black-tie event, but you don’t know what to wear. Well, fret no more! I am going to help you.
What Is a Black-Tie Event?
Black tie is the formal dress code for an evening affair such as an award ceremony, a wedding, or a dinner party, just to name a few. It is less formal than a white-tie event but more formal than a business affair. Traditionally, black tie is worn for events after six o’clock in the evening.
Theatre opening night
Official Evening reception
Black-Tie Dress Code for Men
Suit – A tuxedo with matching trousers is traditionally the first black-tie option. If you want to be more modern, then choose a velvet dinner jacket with black trousers. Midnight blue is recommended and looks darker than black under artificial lighting. Do not wear a black suit.
Shirt – Also known as “dress shirt” should be white with a Marcella bib front. It should have a turndown collar and double cuffs which require cufflinks. An every-day white shirt is not recommended.
Black bow tie – Your bow tie should be made of satin, silk, or twill.
Cummerbund – Your cummerbund should be black and match your tie or vest.
Shoes – Black patent leather shoes with black dress socks are highly recommended. If you want to be a bit “flashy”, you can wear velvet slippers.
Opened collar dress shirts without bowtie or formal necktie
You can wear a white dinner jacket instead of a black one, but only between Memorial Day and Labor Day unless you are on a tropical cruise.
Black-Tie Attire for Women
Formal gown – You can wear an evening gown in various lengths to a black-tie event, or you can wear a cocktail dress, either above the knee or two inches above the ankle. Avoid cotton, knits, and corduroy.
Jewelry – Pearls are always appropriate for any occasion. They are very elegant, and they go with everything. If you want to add a little more glamour, then go with a pair of diamond earrings with matching necklace, depending on the style of your gown. You don’t want to overdo it. And remember, there is beauty in simplicity.
Hair- Every strand of your hair should be in place. A nice updo will not only make you look elegant but will also make you look more refined and well-polished.
Makeup – Keep makeup to a minimum. Less is more. A nice red lipstick with winged eyeliner will give a clean and dramatic look. Also, make sure your nails are well-groomed and polished. No bright, glittery, or gawdy colors. Use red, clear, or a neutral polish.
Handbag – A small clutch is all you need, enough to carry your lipstick and some small necessities. If possible, try to match your clutch to your gown and shoes.
Shoes – Wear heels with your gown or cocktail dress. Depending on the style of your gown, you can wear basic black, nude, or metallic. Again, if you want to be fancy, you can match the color of your shoes to your gown.
What to avoid wearing:
Tight fitting dress, think classy not sexy.
Dresses that show too much skin.
Too much perfume.
Your invitation will usually inform you on what attire is acceptable, but you can never go wrong following this list. A black-tie is a formal event and you should always look and be your very best at all times.
To learn how to dine with proper etiquette and good manners while at your black-tie affair, see my article: Dining With Proper Etiquette and Good Manners.
Isabella Boston is a multi-talented writer and the Founder of Bella’s Attic Studio. She has several years of experience in content writing, copywriting, and social media strategies. She is the author of the romantic and rare memoir, Passion of Flames. Isabella is currently working to spread awareness on the dangers and inhumanity of human sex trafficking. She has special interests in fashion and beauty, health and wellness, and natural healing as it pertains the body, mind and soul. When Isabella is not writing, she enjoys playing the violin, learning new languages (currently Italian), and reading books of substance.
Sources  Pithers, E. (2022, November 24). Black-tie dress code: The Vogue Guide. Vogue. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.vogue.com/article/black-tie-dress-code  Harvey James, A. T. (2023, January 25). Black tie rules explained: Everything you need to know about wearing black tie. British GQ. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/black-tie-guide  Encyclopedia.com. (2023, February 10). ." the oxford pocket dictionary of current English. . encyclopedia.com. 5 Feb. 2023 . Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/black-tie