The Official Dos and Don'ts of Black-Tie Attire for Women

black tie attire for women - christian dior pumps


Collage Vintage

Obviously not at this exact moment in time, but hopefully one day in the near future we will be headed to a more formal event, and chances are there's going to be a strict dress code set in place. Cocktail attire, semi-formal, white tie—ring any bells? While all the aforementioned attires read "fancy," what's really the difference between them all? Are there strict rules? If so, what are they? Well, today, we're here to take a deep dive into one dress code, in particular, and that would be black-tie attire for women.

To get a second opinion on the matter, we reached out to celebrity stylist Sarah Alexandra for her expert opinion. Because let's be honest: If there's anyone who knows a thing or two about formal dressing, it's her. "Some people dread black-tie events, but they are my favorite because it gives me an excuse to go all-out. I love the opportunity to get glammed up, but there are some dos and don'ts when it comes to black-tie events," says Sarah, and we're curious to discover what they are. Below read on as she walks us through her official dos and don'ts on appropriate black-tie attire for women. Take notes, people—we promise this will come in handy one day as will all the pretty dresses that didn't get much use this year.

Do: Go Full-Length

"While black tie doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear a full-length gown, if you've been waiting for the right opportunity, now is your chance. If you choose to wear something that doesn't go all the way to the floor, an appropriate length is something a little below the knee."

Do: Keep Footwear Classy

"When it comes to footwear, have some fun, but keep it classy and chic. If you're wearing a gown, this is an opportunity to wear your highest heel, but make sure they are comfortable and offer you plenty of support. You'll be socializing and standing a good amount of the night, so comfort is key to help you enjoy your night. Regardless of the length of your dress, a black-tie event isn't the ideal setting for anything of crazy color or overly sexy straps. It's important to choose the perfect shoes that best accentuate your outfit. Crazy platform pumps or lace-up-to-the-knee sandals should be left at home."

Don't: Take the Dress Code Too Literally

"FYI—a black dress is not required. I recommend sticking to rich jewel-tone colors and nothing too bright."

Do: Bring Out the Jewels 

"The nicer the event, the better the excuse to rock some of your finer pieces of jewelry and accessories. This is the perfect opportunity to wear that vintage necklace or cocktail ring. If you don't have a stash of jewels, I love wearing glitzier accessories like a pump or clutch that has some sort of stone or jewels on it. I love Roger Vivier clutches and shoes for occasions like this!" 

Don't: Expose Too Much Leg

"Even if you have the legs of a supermodel, this kind of event isn't best to show them off. Black tie calls for a longer sophisticated hemline, so the minidresses will have to sit this one out."

Next up, shop the basics celebrity stylists think everyone should have in their closet

This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Aleksija Vujicic. 

Related Stories