Our Favorite Black Tie Optional Dresses
Whether you’re ready to start shopping or just looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. We know where to find all the best dresses for a black tie optional wedding. Keep reading to see some of our favorite styles for any and all upcoming celebrations.
If you’re leaning more toward “black tie” than “optional,” this stunning gown is a great choice. The saturated cobalt hue is eye-catchingly cheery and the cascading asymmetrical ruffles on the skirt bring a romantic vibe. A dramatic one-shoulder detail adds the finishing touch to this beautiful evening gown.
What is a black tie optional wedding without a bit of sparkle? This glittery metallic jumpsuit comes in a stylish bronze hue that’ll complement a fall or winter celebration. The wide-cut leg is right on trend and would look great with a pair of strappy stilettos or a heeled sandal.
Rent the Runway is a great place to look for black tie optional wedding guest dresses. The site offers beautiful designer outfits you can wear for a fraction of the price by renting instead of buying. The best part? If you really fall in love with your outfit, you can decide to buy it after. This floor-sweeping gown is suitable for celebrations all year round thanks to the richly colored florals.
What To Wear To A Black
Few events require as much glamming up as a black-tie wedding. When an extremely fancy wedding invitation arrives, you already know you’re in for a black-tie affair before you even open it up and see “Black Tie Required.” And with those three little words, you know you’re going to be dressing to the nines.
What Fabric Should Women Wear
Considering black tie events are almost exclusively in the evening and demand a certain degree of ceremony, they render some fabrics inappropriate.
For safety, stick to plush, rich fabrics – the most obvious being silks, satin, taffeta, tulle, lace and chiffon.
You can almost certainly rule out jersey, knit, cotton, corduroy, flannel, linen, denim and other distinctly casual, day-time fabrics.
The brave among you might weave in lurex, jacquard, gauze and leather and bigger design features , so long as the final look feels luxe.
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The Ultimate Wedding Attire Faux Pas: White
Although attire will vary for different types of weddings, Brown and Sabatino do have one golden rule for all guest attire: you should not wear white at a Western wedding.
“You should never wear white to someone else’s wedding ever, or any of the surrounding events,” Sabatino said.
“It’s the bride’s moment to have that color for the night,” Brown added. “I don’t even recommend a white base, even if it has a colorful, floral pattern. Anything that’s in question should be avoided.”
If you have any doubts, Sabatino said, don’t do it.
Similarly, try not to wear a color similar to the wedding party, if you happen to know the shade.
“Don’t show up in something that looks like you’re a bridesmaid, mostly because it’s difficult for the guest,” she said. “People might ask you questions or approach you thinking that you’re part of the bridal party. That’s uncomfortable.”
Can You Wear A Suit To A Black
A woman can wear a tailored and formal suit to a wedding and remain within the black-tie dress code. Some people do not feel comfortable wearing floor-length gowns, so designers have crafted other options for a woman who wants to look modern and respect the couples wishes.
However, men should avoid wearing suits to a black-tie wedding since a tuxedo or dinner jacket is expected. The main difference between the two is that a tuxedo has satin details making it clearly celebratory.
Additionally, men typically wear a bowtie with a tuxedo, making the entire ensemble seem special and happily ceremonial. Whereas, with a suit, men will commonly wear a regular tie.
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When Does A Black Tie Optional Dress Code Apply
Now that you know what does black tie optional mean, you probably want to know which events are suitable for a black options event. Lets take a look at some of the occasions that the black-tie optional dress code is ideal:
- A dark-colored tie
For the tie, you can opt for a solid color. You are also allowed to wear bow ties.
Dressing For The Occasion
There are many variations of black tie dress for women. Make sure you shop around and try on different options to find out which ones best suit your body shape and personal style. Whether you prefer to rock a cute, embellished cocktail dress or go down the breathtaking ballgown route, all you need is confidence to shine.
What Does Black Tie Optional Mean
A black tie optional dress code isn’t as confusing as it sounds . It means that guests have the option of wearing their most formal attire but may also choose to wear a formal suit or cocktail dress instead. Generally, a black tie optional dress code means that the couple and their wedding party will be dressed in black tie. It’s therefore courteous for guests to reflect this level of formality in their own attire.
One thing to keep in mind: A black-tie-optional dress code can sometimes appear differently on wedding invitations. Some couples write “black tie invited” or “black tie encouraged” instead. Typically, both of these terms mean that the to-be-weds really want their guests to wear a tux or full-length gown, but will also accept formal suits and dresses . An evening black tie optional wedding definitely calls for the dress code’s most formal attire.
The Etiquette Rules Of Black Tie Optional Attire
Still have some questions about how to dress for a black tie optional wedding? That’s what we’re here for! One of the biggest FAQs is dress length. Unlike a wedding that’s strictly black tie, full-length evening gowns are preferred but aren’t the only way to go. A midi-length dress is also acceptableâjust avoid anything above the knee as it will be too casual.
Another etiquette rule guests are often unsure of is the type of jacket to wear with their dress pants. Historically, the biggest difference between black tie optional and black tie is that tuxedo jackets are mandatory for the latter. For a black tie optional wedding, it’s acceptable to swap out the tuxedo jacket for a structured suit jacket and understated tie. No matter which you decide to go for, darker hues such as black, navy and charcoal are preferred.
Finally, jumpsuits are another gray area for guests seeking out black tie optional wedding attire. Ultimately, whether or not a jumpsuit is acceptable depends on the style. Avoid anything that feels a little too laid back and instead opt for something tailored and elevated. We’ve included a couple of stylish options below to help inspire you.
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What To Expect From A Black Tie Wedding
Traditionally, black tie weddings are an evening affair and start after 7 pm. Expect the wedding to be held at an elegant venue, like an ornate ballroom or a fabulous hotel, as to ensure the ambiance is luxurious and filled with opulent details. While the color palette is traditionally minimal the vibe will look like something out of a Hollywood extravaganza. Beautiful romantic candlelight, rich tablescapes, and glam linens and decor galore. Dont be surprised if theres large buildouts, draping, and customized floral walls. Anything that screams luxury belongs at a black tie wedding.
A cocktail hour is standard and you can expect a top-shelf bar and a signature drink for the couple. Wine will also be served in addition to champagne for toasts. The menu is usually highly stylized and elevated. Artisanal dishes are the norm at a black tie wedding, and you might even find yourself almost afraid to touch the food since it will be presented so beautifully!
When it comes to entertainment, dont be surprised if youre treated to something a little more upscale than a DJ or an online playlist. A live band or string quartet are popular choices for music. Of course, there will be dancingjust probably not the type you might expect at a more casual event. There might even be extravagant touches of entertainment like a fortune teller, dancers, or a firework display.
What Does Black Tie Mean
Black tie is a standard dress code for social events. Although most women have heard of the term, many are still unsure as to what it means. If you fall into this category, the first thing you need to understand is that black tie is typically reserved for formal events that take place at night. Black tie for men translates to tuxedos. For ladies, on the other hand, black tie is more lenient and can be interpreted in different ways.
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Dress For Your Shape And Size
As with any occasion, the key to looking your best is to dress for your shape and size. Long, floor-length gowns will generally look better on tall women, whilst those with petite frames tend to suit 50s full-skirted Dior style prom dresses or more form-fitting styles that cut off at the knee.
Considering what suits your body shape before you head out shopping will help to narrow your focus.
What Men Should Wear To A Black Tie Wedding
Just about the closest to a cast iron rule for fashion at a black tie wedding is that men wear a black tie.
However, dont use it as an excuse to opt out of fashion decisions. Instead, a black tie event for men is an opportunity to bring your own look and style to a traditional favourite.
Well start with the rules, before giving a guide to the other details.
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If You’re Invited To A Non
Rules for attire and customary clothing for many non-Western weddings is different from Western weddings. For instance, you might be expected to wear a lehanga to an Indian wedding, while it’s inappropriate to wear red at a traditional Chinese wedding.
Both Sabatino and Brown said that if a couple expects you to wear clothing that is traditional for their culture, their invitations will likely specify as such.
“If the bride and groom are hoping that their guests will wear traditional clothing, they should add resources on their wedding website for what is specifically requested,” Sabatino said.
If the couple has not specified a dress code on their invitation or wedding website, Brown suggests talking to the couple about what they’re hoping attendees will wear.
“When you’ve been invited to a non-Western wedding and the dress code hasn’t been specified, it’s always best to check in with the bride or groom to inquire about the appropriate attire,” Brown said. “When in doubt, don’t make assumptions. A simple email or text on the preferred dress code for an upcoming event will always provide clarity.”
If you’re unsure where to find customary clothing, Brown recommends asking the couple about that too. “You can always ask for recommended retailers,” she said.
Think About Your Accessories
Dont make the mistake of overlooking your accessories until the evening before. When you shop for your dress, keep in mind your outfit as a whole from the jewelry through to the clutch and heels. If your dress is printed or bold, stick to gold, silver or simple nude accessories. If your dress is on the plain side, you can afford to push the boundaries with some eye catching heels and statement gems.
Do you have a style dilemma? Comment below with the details and well try our best to help.
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Why Follow The Wedding Dress Code
It is a sign of respect for the couple and the event to get dressed up for a wedding, and your attire should always be respectful, conservative, and appropriate. But keep in mind, the rules of etiquette were designed to help one feel more at ease and comfortable in all social situations. So simply remember your cheerful presence at the wedding is what counts here, and you’re likely to have a good time no matter what you decide to wear.
Can You Wear A Suit To A Black Tie Wedding
Whether the dress code states “black tie optional,” “black tie preferred,” “black tie invited” or just “black tie,” you can assume that a tuxedo is your safest bet. The couple and their wedding party will be wearing their best black tie attire on the big day, and it’s respectful for guests to replicate that level of formality in their own outfits. That said, suits aren’t completely out of the question. “Men can wear a tux, but are also fine to wear a nice black, gray or navy suit,” says Mayer. If you’re wearing a suit, you should plan to keep it minimal, choose a dark color and wear a bow tie.
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Is It Rude To Have A Black
It is not rude to have a black-tie wedding, but be prepared to allow guests as needed. Remember that your wedding ceremony can and should be whatever you want it to be, even black-tie. A good practice for achieving a black-tie look while creating space for guests is to list black-tie recommended on your invitation.
If you are inviting lots of family and friends to your wedding, it might be nice to include in a Save the Date or in conversations that you plan to have a black-tie wedding so that your guests can have plenty of time to decide on, save for, and purchase a black-tie appropriate suit or dress.
Furthermore, it might be a nice wedding party gift to help the bridal party and groomsmen with a facet of their dress, like shoes for women or cufflinks for men or even a stipend for their requested look.
Black Tie Rules For Men Explained
1. A black tie whether its a bow tie or necktie.
2. You can wear a suit and not a tuxedo, but if you do so, the suit should be of good quality and you should wear a necktie instead of a bow tie.
3. A waistcoat is encouraged. If the weather is hot , a cummerbund is an acceptable substitute.
4. Jacket colour doesnt necessarily have to be black. White is allowed if its a summer wedding . And recently, some men have opted for dark, rich colours like purple, dark green or navy.
5. Accessorising is recommended
6. Wear black socks! Your zany socks might well be hilarious, but leave them in the drawer this time.
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