Black Tie Events Dress Code

Knowing what to wear to corporate events can be a minefield, especially for those who are new to the industry. This piece is to outline the general dress code expectations for black tie events.

Black tie attire is often reserved for formal evening events like awards ceremonies, where guests can choose between gowns and suits or tuxedos. As this is quite a sophisticated look, you typically want to avoid wearing anything short, bright, overly casual or with bold colours – if in doubt, err on the side of minimalism.

What is a black-tie dress code for men?

A traditional men’s black-tie outfit will look something like the image below. Shirts are typically worn with cufflinks, and shoes are often black. These can be bought at reasonable prices from a high street retailer – there’s no need to break the bank. Don’t worry if you don’t own a dinner suit, wearing a black suit with a tie, or bow tie will still be acceptable and I can assure you won’t be refused entry or turned away at the door.

What is a black-tie dress code for women?

Women tend to have more flexibility with a black-tie dress code and can choose between a suit or a dress. Traditionally the dress would be a floor-length gown or a cocktail dress, like in the image below. A black-tie dress code usually also calls for a more timeless look rather than the latest trends, so it’s customary to stick to classic styles and silhouettes that don’t tend to go out of fashion. High heels are often worn to these events, but don’t be afraid to go in smart flats or something with a low heel if you are not confident walking in stilettoes.

In Summary

You will find plenty of steer and ideas online, and a good starting point can be the photos from last-year’s version of the same event to see what people were wearing. Also, you can always reach out to more seasoned event-goers in your organisation for tips on what to wear. Ultimately, keep in mind everyone will be wearing what they feel comfortable in and likewise can afford. The night is about the event itself and having an enjoyable time.