Black tie events can prove to be some of the most memorable experiences we have in life. They’re lavish occasions that we look forward to and plan for months in advance. But if you haven’t been to a black-tie event before, you may be feeling worried about what you should expect and what you need to wear. There are, of course, always going to be unique touches that you add to an outfit and an element of personal style involved. But here are some suggestions that can help you along the way.

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What Is a Black Tie Event?

Let’s start out by establishing what a black-tie event actually is. A black-tie event is an event where the organizers want you to follow a specific dress code. When we think of “black tie”, we think of gowns and tuxedos for sale. We’ll get onto that in more depth in a minute. But when an event is black-tie, it means more than just clothes alone. It also means that the event is significant or of high importance. It could be something like an awards ceremony, a ball or gala, a milestone birthday, someone’s wedding reception, or anything else major.

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How to Dress for Black Tie

So, onto the main matter. How do you actually dress for a black-tie event? There are no steadfast rules, but there are common expectations that you should try to follow. Here’s some guidance to help you along the way.


Women’s black-tie attire isn’t as well defined as men’s. Traditionally, most women will wear some sort of impressive or extravagant dress. There is a general consensus that a black-tie dress is long, rather than short. It should also be made from a luxurious and classy fabric, such as silk, satin, or velvet. Heels are common and many choose to accessorize their final look with jewelry. Of course, the majority of women also choose unique and high-end hair and makeup for the occasion.


Men’s black-tie attire tends to include:

  • A dinner jacket, either single-breasted or double-breasted. Some believe it should have silk peaked lapels and covered buttons. In 99% of cases, jackets should be black.
  • A white evening shirt with a bib and double cuffs. The shirt should have a turn-down collar.
  • Smart black trousers.
  • Cuff links.
  • Smart, black shoes.
  • A black bow tie (this is where the name for black tie events originates).
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Hiring vs. Buying

When it comes down to it, black-tie outfits are expensive. Sometimes, people choose to rent their outfits rather than buying them. This is particularly popular if you don’t attend many black-tie style events. Rather than forking over a large sum of cash for an outfit you’ll probably only wear once, you can pay much less to use one and hand it back after.

Hopefully, some of the suggestions outlined above will help you to prepare for a black-tie event coming up. Look forward to it!