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What Is a Black-tie Dress Code? Details on What to Wear

It’s obvious that the black-tie dress code was based around a male-orientated event. We don't go around saying floor-length ball gown dress code and expect the men to know exactly what to wear…  nonetheless, we are going to answer the following questions;

  • What is a black-tie dress code?
  • What to wear to a black-tie event?
  • How to style a black dress for a party?
  • What is a black-tie event?

What is a black-tie dress code?

It's important to note that the lines of what is acceptable continues to blur as fashion evolves and emulates innovation - rather, the best thing to measure is the level of effort one goes to when selecting and whether it sits in the parameters of what's expected - then it's up to you if you want to break that or not.

So what is a black-tie dress code?

Traditionally, black-tie attire for women translates to a long floor-length gown using fabrics like silk, velvet, lace, or chiffon…

Once again, this is in a traditional sense, and you need to remember that a black-tie dress code on the red carpet in Manhattan is not the same as a black-tie dress code for ‘James and Jenna's engagement party’.

The best way to navigate determining the level of formality is to get the inside scoop - go straight to the source, Go beyond enemy lines and find out what the competition is wearing (Not that you want to dress better than the person hosting the party… or do you?)

The Sum Up

- As a default, go long, elegant with a few statement piece accessories

- Avoiding default, don't be scared to ask the host, what the expectation is and what she is wearing to the event, odds are she has nailed her own idea of how she wants everyone to look.

What to wear to a black-tie gala event?

Here are a few of our favourites this season - We hope they help!

The TINAHOLLY - Lucille Gown (Pink)

The TINAHOLLY - Lucille Gown (Pink)

You will fall in love with this true cinderella dress! The perfect gown for your next formal wedding, black-tie event or even a bridesmaid dress. We can't get enough of this stunning piece!

This style is also available in colour: Navy Blue

The NOOKIE Pandora Long Sleeve Gown (Blue)

The NOOKIE Pandora Long Sleeve Gown (Blue)

A luxurious show-stopping long sleeve crop top with a matching full-length skirt. Made from stretch sequin fabric. Fully lined with shoulder pads adding elegance.

This dazzling dress will have all eyes on you, super comfortable & easy to wear - we know you will love this dress as much as we do - perfect for wedding guest attire, black-tie or formal events. 

This style is also available in colours: White

The NOOKIE Jezebel Gown (Black)

The NOOKIE Jezebel Gown (Black)

​​A show-stopping velvet gown with a sexy front split. A draped bust panel, over a structured bodice and “V’ wire. Luxurious stretch velvet, fully lined.

This elegant classic design is exceptionally comfortable & gives a flattering silhouette, perfect for any black-tie event.

What is a black-tie event?

If you're asking about black-tie events because you're considering throwing one yourself keep reading, if you want to know what a black-tie dress code looks like scroll back up, you missed it!

Here are a few events that would ‘suit’ a black-tie dress code.

Gala Dinner 

A gala dinner is an event hosted at night generally consisting of a 3-course meal, guest speakers and entertainment in support of a cause, service, award, or celebration.

Awards Nights

When you hear awards night, you probably think Grammys, Oscars, Tony's or even the Logies, but Awards nights can be internal business events presenting employees with awards & gratification, or they can be business or tourism awards. Whatever the reason, black-tie dress codes are often seen attached to award ceremonies - who doesn't want to look their best when they’re taking out first prize.

Charity Ball

A Charity Ball is the perfect occasion to sport a black-tie dress code. Patrons get to dress up, socialise, enjoy entertainment, food and drink, and most importantly, raise money for a worthy cause.

Can You Wear Black to a Black-tie Event?

Some people mistake the black-tie dress code as limiting their attire to nothing but black, this isn’t the case. But that doesn't mean you can't wear black either. Do - don’t, it’s up to you. We wouldn’t base it on whether you should or shouldn’t, can or cannot - base it on the level of formality, what your counterpart is wearing, and how glamorous and invigorated you want to feel that night!

One thing to consider is that most males (depending on the event formality) will be in black, which may dull the impression you're going for. If you want to make an impressionable statement, save it for a white tie event… or a wedding.

How to style a black dress for a party?

If you have chosen black for your black-tie event, here are a few tips on how to style your black dress for the party.

Tip No. 1 - Choose Something Bold

As we said before, most males will be in black, so you want to partner with a statement piece that will stick out amongst a room full of penguins.

Tip No. 2 Rent or Buy

If you want to make a statement, you may have to spend to do so. The option of renting a dress is there - we give gals the opportunity to wear something fresh without having to stick on the water for the rest of the night due to spendage…

Tip No. 3 Accessorise Accordingly

Work with the dress that you have on, draw focus to the areas you’d like to show off and don’t go overboard. If your dress is more open at the front, wear a low hanging statement necklace - if it’s higher, wear a simple necklace and show off some statement earrings instead. Don’t try go for both, it may just look a little busy.

Tip No. 4 Hair Up or Down

A dress that climbs your neck will naturally make you look shorter, whereas exposing your neck will add height.

Consider wearing it up or down according to the style of your black dress.

Tip No. 5 Lengths - Understand the Formality of the Event

Understanding how to style your black dress for a party will depend on the formality of the party. If it’s black-tie, typically, women would go for a longer piece. If it’s cocktail - long and short are acceptable. If there are any chances of a boogie later on, don’t restrict your dance moves - go for a shorter cut.

For more black-tie dress options, see our collection.


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