Black tie only? Black tie optional? White tie? What to wear, what to wear! Choosing an appropriate dress style can be confusing. Who wants to show up at an event under-dressed or over-dressed? Let's get one thing straight: over-dressed - OK, under-dressed - never OK. Let’s start by defining dress codes. This will help you choose what to wear, and even more importantly, what not to wear.
Black Tie: This means a formal dress code. Traditionally, this means a floor-length dress, although we have currently been seeing heavily embellished, extremely formal short dresses worn to black tie events. Some of the most notable black tie events include red-carpet award shows and celebrity galas.
Black Tie Optional: A nice way of saying "please dress black tie.”
White Tie: The most formal dress code. Wear a floor length gown - as formal as you are comfortable wearing.
Formal: This means no denim jeans or khaki shorts. Consider a short or long dress, just not too over the top. Cocktail dresses are the most common when it comes to formal events. Trendy or classic styling will work, depending on your personal preference.
There are some simple guidelines to follow when choosing a dress style and color for different events:
When in doubt, the simple black dress with understated jewelry, like diamond studs and a simple bracelet, will save the day. A timeless classic is the perfect "go-to". Want to add some trendiness to a simple dress? Try funky earrings or shoes. This will reveal your personal style and can turn a classic look into an upbeat and fun ensemble.
When invited to an event, it’s best to choose a conservative style as opposed to an over-exposed one. This does not mean wearing a turtleneck and long sleeves (although this look is quite trendy at the moment!). A little modesty will go a long way when it comes to formal events.
When special dress is requested (Black-Tie Only, etc.), always honor the host's wishes. It is better to decline an invitation than to insult the host by not wearing the requested attire. If you don't have an appropriate dress in your wardrobe, borrowing a dress is always an option, or finding a reasonably priced dress available online.
What to wear? Now you know!