How to dress for a black tie event in three steps

As we head towards Christmas the party invites will be flying around and you never know, you might be invited to a black tie event this year. This can make you nervous if you have never dressed for a black tie function before so this blog looks at how to dress appropriately for such a formal occasion. Take heart from these tips if you are handed a formal invite and you’ll arrive in style and feel right at home.

  • Read the invite properly: Look at the exact wording on the invite before you rush out to buy a dinner jacket.  There’s a certain etiquette to follow with black tie events and the invite will give you a few clues. Basically there are three types of wording to look for on the invite and we’ve broken them down into the following.

Black tie – The hosts want you to wear a formal dinner suit complete with a black tie, there’s no room for negotiation.

Black tie preferred – The hosts would prefer it if you wore a black tie and formal suit but they understand if you feel uncomfortable so would be happy if you simply wore a smart suit, shirt and tie.

Black tie optional – It’s up to you if you want to wear a black tie, but you might feel left out if you don’t.

  • Decide on your outfit: Once you establish how formal the occasion is you can choose the appropriate outfit to wear. If you decide to wear a black tie you are going to need a dinner suit or tuxedo as they are also known. You can buy them from most department stores and tailor shops or rent a suit for the evening instead. If there’s a chance you’ll be invited to a few more black tie events in the future it’s cost effective to purchase on outfit. If this is the only time you are likely to attend a formal function, go for the hire option instead.
  • Check to make sure you have everything: Whether you rent or buy a dinner suit you’ll need all the accessories that go with it. The outfit should comprise of a dinner jacket, matching trousers, white wing collared shirt, black tie and cummerbund. Plus you might want to put a shine on those shoes, don’t spoil the look by turning up with grubby footwear.

And that’s it! Dress for a function using this guide and you’ll feel fabulous when you walk through the door.

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