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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 - all these styles nail the brief for the black tie dress code. These styles work well for all black tie events including, gala events, awards nights, weddings and charity balls.


House Of CB Adrienne Corset Gown

The House of CB Adrienne Corset Gown is cut from a high quality satin that drapes across the body. The built in corset allows for a flattering hourglass silhouette. This dress is all about luxury which is why we think it makes the perfect black tie outfit. You can never go wrong with a classic style, which is why we know you will love this dress as much as we do.

This style is available in black, sage and red.

Lexi Samira Dress

The Lexi Samira Dress is a fan favourite style for all formal and black tie occasions. A glamorous floor-length, one shoulder style made from a stretch satin. This style is extremely flattering and elegant, and makes the perfect black tie dress as it nails the black tie dress code. We love this style as a wedding guest or if you are attending a ball.

This style is available in burgundy, orion blue, black, white and pacific blue diamante.

Tinaholly Lucille Gown

The Tinaholly Lucille Gown is a full skirt gown which makes you feel like a real princess! Although it is a strapless style it has a padded bust for extra support. This dress also features side pockets and a slit in the leg for ultimate comfort! We love this dress for black tie events especially charity balls as it exudes luxury and elegance!

This style is available in colours navy and red.


Nookie Veda Gown

The Nookie Veda Gown is a striking one shoulder gown made from a luxurious stretch sequin for ultimate comfort. Along with the bodycon material that flatters the figure, the Veda Gown features a shoulder pad that gives an hourglass silhouette. This chic dress is one of our favourites, especially for black tie events such as charity balls. This black tie dress comes in a range of colours which allows you to perfectly decide which suits your skin tone the best. We love this dress and we know it will have you looking and feeling glamorous!


This black tie outfit is available in navy, black and gold.

Lia Stublla Eviana Gown

The Lia Stublla Eviana Gown is a beautiful strapless gown featuring an asymmetric neckline with a corset bodice. This dress gives a stunning hourglass silhouette, that will leave you feeling glamorous and is sure to turn heads. This dress exudes drama with the long train and thigh high split features. A standout gown that nails the black tie dress code.

This gorgeous gown is available in colours red, emerald and black.

Albina Dyla

The Albina Dyla Victorie Gown exudes luxury and elegance. This black tie dress features a statement neckline, a fitted waist with a corset style design, and black stones adorning the bodice. This luxurious gown is perfect for special occasions where you want to stand out. With a long dramatic train, this dress is the moment and we know you will look and feel like a million dollars. We love this wedding guest dress for if you are attending a black tie wedding.

Pasduchas Composure Gown

The Pasduchas Composure Gown is a classic style perfect for any black tie or formal event. This dress features a draped neckline which is very comfortable and makes the dress a super modest piece. The dress gives an extremely flattering silhouette and as a bonus, is really comfortable! This classic and timeless piece is easy to wear and can be dressed up with jewellery, heels and a clutch.


This style is available in navy, wine, black and white.

Rebecca Vallance Chloe Gown

The Rebecca Vallance Chloe Gown is a gorgeous full length gown crafted from a combination of luxurious crepe and taffeta fabrics. The neckline adds a touch of femininity and sophistication which is what the black tie dress code is all about. This gown offers both style and comfort which is all you want in a black tie outfit. A modest style that suits all ages, you cannot go wrong with this stunning dress for a 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.


Weddings can be held at all sorts of venues with all sorts of dress codes assigned to them. Some common dress codes for weddings include, formal, cocktail, semi-formal or, growing in popularity, black tie. Black Tie weddings will generally involve a large venue with many guests.


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 look busy and overcrowded.

Tip No. 4 Hair Up or Down

A dress that covers 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, short and mid-length are acceptable. If there are any chances of a boogie later on, don’t restrict your dance moves - go for a shorter cut dress.

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

Finding Your Fit

Navigating the black tie dress code can be tricky. Remember that black tie does not necessarily mean you have to wear a black dress. You can opt for colour, however consider the formality of the event and what other guests may be wearing.


You can hire all these black tie dresses mentioned above for a fraction of the retail price. Look and feel glamorous without having to endure the hefty price tag. Our convenient hiring system allows you to have a wider range of styles available within your budget, and you will also never have to outfit repeat again!


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