The Dos and Don'ts of What to Wear to a Gala

So you've just been invited to your first gala-style event. Naturally, the first question that comes to mind is likely "What do I wear"? Navigating any dress code—from semi-formal to black-tie—can be tricky, and matters can get more complicated if your gala invitation doesn't explicitly state the dress code. Luckily, we are here to help you plan an elegant ensemble that will turn heads for all the right reasons.

Ahead, we've put together the dos and don'ts of proper gala attire. Whether it's what shoes you should wear or what color dress you should opt for, we've got you covered. We know some "don'ts" may seem obvious, but nonetheless, they are still important to consider. The most important thing to remember, though, is to pick an outfit that stays true to your personal style without bending the dress code too much. Lavish galas may seem intimidating at first, but if you wear an outfit you feel confident in, you'll have an evening to remember forever. So without further ado, scroll on to learn the ins and outs of being a best dressed guest at any gala you may be attending.

Don't: Wear a Mini or Midi Dress 

Do: Follow Black-Tie Dress Code 

While this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, gala events generally follow a black-tie dress code, which means wearing a floor-length dress. If the invite states that the dress code is semi-formal or cocktail, you may be able to get away with wearing a midi dress, but if nothing is indicated, assume formal attire. Remember, it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed in these situations. If dresses aren't your style, though, that's okay. Opt for a dressy silk suit or an elevated jumpsuit. 

Style with a sparkly clutch and statement necklace. 

Scuba fabric is comfortable yet perfect for formal events. 

A showstopping jumpsuit to invest in. 

Don't: Wear Florescent Shades

Do: Try Metallic and Jewel Tones

Don't get us wrong, we love Barbiecore just as much as the next person, but an evening gala may not be the place for it. If you are looking to go bold, though, try out metallic shades or luxe jewel tones.  

There's nothing more luxe than a metallic gold dress. Style with crystal earrings for an added level of sparkle. 

This sapphire gown is understated glam at its finest. 

Don't: Wear Risky Heels

Do: Choose Comfortable Heels 

For me, shoes are everything when it comes to party attire. While you may be inclined to wear your four-inch pumps or your new structural heels, keep in mind you're going to be on your feet for a while, and a gala is the absolutely last place you want to take your shoes off. Comfort wise, you can never go wrong with block heels or platforms. If you do like the look of a skinny heel, spool heels are much more comfortable than stilettos and have a similar effect. 

This block heel comes in 17 colors, so you're sure to find an option 

This platform isn't too dramatic, so you don't have to worry about twisting an ankle, but you'll still get an added level of comfort. 

This under-$100 spool heel is so modern. 

Don't: Wear a Casual Jacket

Do: Wear a Wrap or Dressy Coat 

You don't need to purchase an extravagant Cruella de Vil coat, but it's probably best to leave your denim or leather jacket at home. If temps are cold, a long wool coat is always a good way to go, or if you're looking for something to put over your shoulders, try a simple shawl or wrap. 

You'll never guess this shawl is under $50. 

Don't: Overdo the Accessories 

Do: Opt for Elegant Statement Pieces

Earrings to make the whole place shimmer.  

For a Breakfast at Tiffany's moment.