Dress Code: Black Tie – Complete Guide & Rules

//Dress Code: Black Tie – Complete Guide & Rules

Summer season is the prime time for weddings and work functions. Usually the dress code it stated on the invitation, but still there is a lot of confusion regarding what exactly to wear. For instance, dress code: black tie indicates, for general understanding, that men wear tuxedo and women a long gown. In the world of fashion, we take the dress code and play around with it a little in order to add our own style and trendy touch to the outfit!

Black tie is a semi-formal (just between formal – white tie and informal) Western dress code for social functions after 6 p.m. It originates from British and Americans in the 19th century. The dress code: black tie can be divided into four different categories: black tie (the most formal), creative black tie, alternate black tie and optional black tie.

Here is Estilo-Tendaces’ guide of specific aspects of what to wear for all four different categories of the dress code: black tie

#1 Black Tie

Beautiful pink gown for the black tie event this summer!

The dress code black tie usually indicates that men are to wear a tuxedo and women a long gown. The length of the dress must be over the knee and shoulders should be covered. But of course, it really depends on the event you are attending. If wearing a little more modest dress without embellishments or lace, then choose statement jewellery and wear your hair up to add the length to your silhouette. Do not overdo the make-up and try do choose elegant high heels to match with your bag!

#2 Creative Black Tie

Black tie affair St. John collection red liquid satin gown.

Creative black tie dress code allows you to have a little bit of fun at the formal event with your outfit choice. Find some interesting references from the films, theatre or wear vintage pieces! Add some elements such as embellishments or jewellery that draw attanention! Make sure to match your elegant shoes with your bag, but be creative when choosing them! Keep the hair and make-up elegant and chic, that is not an area to play around too much!

Resort collection 2015 black gown with layered lace. 

#3 Optional Black Tie

The dress code is formal attire, but you are not expected to wear a long gown and your date can wear a dark suit and a tie – choose something more casual than you would for a gala or a red carpet and add some of personality to the look with the bag, shoes and the gown itself! Be careful not to wear down your gown, though and not to overdo the make-up! Wear statement jewellery with this dress code!

Ellie Saab black gown.

#4 Shoes

Glittery black tie affair high heels.

When wearing a long gown it is really important to wear high heels that are comfortable for you not to trip on your dress! Choose elegant high heels with some embellishments – something modest and simple!

Crystal wedding special event high heels with beautiful embellishments.

#5 Jewellery

The jewellery you choose for the black tie event depends completely on your nightgown. If is is strapless, wear a statement necklace that matches with your earrings, rings and bracelets. But if you are wearing a gown that covers your shoulders, then choose more carefully the earrings and the ring! Be careful not to over-accessorize! Choose something elegant and simple!

Choose a gorgeous bracelet with your statement necklace, ring and earrings! Silver or golden, pearls or stones – elegant and modest!

#6 The Bag

Vintage bridal purse with sequins.

It is not very often when women get to choose a small feminine purse that is not the center of  attention of your accessories. The black tie dress code requires you to wear a bag that matches the rest of the outfit, small and exposing a color that is more suitable for a formal event!

#7 Lingerie



Make sure to choose comfortable and classy lingerie for the formal event. be careful with a dress that has an opened back or has part of lace and is see through. Choose lingerie that forms your body after the gown you are wearing! Best option would be to wear delicate lace or satin set, bra with no straps or even a corset and high waist pants.


#8 The Perfume



“A woman who does not wear perfume has no future.” Coco Chanel

Choose carefully your perfume that has an evening scent and do not overdo it – only a few drops behind your ears and on the wrists!

#9 Hair

Elegant black tie event requires an elegant hairstyle!

The hairstyle again simply depends on the gown you are wearing! It is usually more elegant when you wear your hair up. Also it is more comfortable when eating and dancing and lets the eyes focus on the gown! Another option is to wear your hair in braids or choose curly hairstyle when wearing them down.

Just a smidge of a braid – simple, elegant and just perfect!


#10 Make-Up And Nails



It is commonly recommended to get your make-up and nails done before a formal event in a salon. Follow the color and the style of your gown when choosing which make-up and nail polish you want for the evening!


Have an invitation to a wedding, work function or gala this summer? Did this article guide you to put together the outfit for the dress code: black tie to look like a pearl?

Comment below to give us your feedback!

Feature photo: pexels.com

By | 2021-03-25T16:07:20+02:00 October 24th, 2019|Style|

About the Author:

A fashion photographer from Estonia who is taking BA degree studies in Southampton Solent University, United Kingdom. Currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. Fashion and photography have always been a great passion of mine, which is why, after a short period of art and photography studies in Odder, Denmark, I decided to commit myself to a BA degree in fashion photography to grow as an artist, improve the technical skills and deeply understand the behind the scene of fashion industry. Curious and adventurous personality allows me to explore fashion photography from different angles. I enjoy working in the studio and outdoors, creating a different narrative and look each time. Until now, I also styled and directed on hair and make-up on the shoots. The outcome is always edited and retouched by me. I am also interested in graphic design and take a great pleasure combining these two fields that are so strongly connected. Some of my work can be seen on http://merlepraakliphotography.foliohd.com/all