How to dress for a black-tie event

According to Wikipedia, black tie is a semi-formal western dress code for evening events, originating in British and American conventions for attire in the 19th century. If you have been invited to a black-tie event, it’s important to know what is appropriate to wear and how to dress to impress. 

Read on, and we will give you some tips and tricks on how to dress for a black-tie event. 


For women, heels are pretty much black tie essential, and you will more than likely be spoilt for choice. From closed-toe stilettos to strappy sandals, there are hundreds of styles available in an array of colors and fabrics. 

As with any outfit, it’s best to buy the shoes to match the dress rather than the other way around. You may spend a fair bit of the evening on your feet, so make sure whatever you choose fits perfectly. 

For men, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of black leather lace-up shoes to finish off your look. You can choose from a highly polished look or a satin finish depending on the look you are going for. Regardless of which you prefer, just make sure they are clean and highly polished before setting off to the venue. 


Black tie dresses come in a range of different lengths but, assuming you want to stick with tradition, should always sit below the knee. Floor-length dresses such as those available from Terry Costa, who specialize in bridal and formal evening attire, come in a range of styles and are sure to make you look elegant and feel incredible.  

Make sure when choosing your dress that you feel confident and that it is a good fit. You will be sitting for much of the evening and will be eating, drinking, and socializing throughout, so you must choose a dress that is not only flattering but comfortable too.


A tuxedo is a must when it comes to a black-tie event for men, but they can be costly. The good news is that many retailers give you the option to hire a tux instead of purchasing one.

In terms of the all-important black tie, the easiest option is sticking with tradition and opting for a plain black silk tie. If, however, you want to break away from tradition slightly, you can choose a different color altogether. 


When it comes to accessories for women, there are no hard and fast rules, so you can pretty much wear whatever you like. So, whether your preference is a simple diamond effect necklace and bracelet set or more elaborate costume jewelry that compliments your dress, you should get away with it.

For men, cufflinks are a very popular accessory, and a nice watch is a great way to finish off the smart and accomplished look. If you want to add a splash of color to your outfit, you could have a play around with a contrasting cummerbund – another stylish and traditional element of black-tie attire.