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What to Wear to Black Tie Events

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It can be intimidating to think about what to wear to black tie events, which require guests to look their absolute best and don sophisticated attire. Whether you are attending a charity ball or an awards show, this guide is here to help make the process easier.


A black tie event requires more formality than the average occasion. Guests should plan to wear evening attire, preferably long gowns and formal dresses for women, and tuxedos for men. Other pieces to include are luxurious shoes and minimal jewelry for added refinement. Keep accessories such as neckties, lapels, cummerbunds, and waistcoats formal. This is the time to go for elegance over the latest trend.

Hair and Makeup

Black tie events usually take place in the evening, so add some glitz and glamour with hair and makeup. Women may opt for wearing their hair up in an elegant bun or simple French braid with tasteful hair pieces, while men may want to consider an elegant top knot or gelled-back hairstyle. Makeup should be natural and subtle. If a heavier makeup look is desired, keep eyes soft and luminous, using just a hint of shimmering shadow and lash-building mascara. Soft peach and pink blush and gloss is recommended.

Color Scheme

Since black tie events typically take place at night, a classic color scheme of black and white will lend a look of sophistication. Other hues that look great with a black and white color scheme include metallics, shades of grey, and navy. Some bolder choices may also be chosen, such as emerald green and blush pink. These shades work beautifully together with the classic black and white.


Patterns such as floral prints, bold stripes, and elegant checks should be kept to a minimum for these types of occasions. Women may opt for statement making embellishments or prints such as brocades or metallic textures for a timeless look.

Black tie events may seem intimidating at first, but with some thought put into planning the outfit, anyone can look fabulous and feel confident. Just keep in mind to dress up and pay attention to details, such as color and formality. Also, remember to accessorize appropriately, opt for elegant hairstyles, and keep makeup natural. This way, you will make a sophisticated impression on all your guests.

Main photo: Juan Vargas/

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