How To Dress for a Black-Tie Affair-Women

Photo of formal clothing

Black-tie affairs spell formal and elegant soirees with dignitaries, fellow patrons, friends and family. Events that are classified as black-tie affairs may be:  formal evening weddings and other special occasions, opening nights at the theater or opera, and state dinners for visiting dignitaries.

Women have more options on what to wear to this type of event compared to men. Learn how to dress for a black-tie affair by reading the guidelines below.

Wear a full length ensemble. Long gowns or full-length skirts are required during black-tie events. Short cocktail dresses are worn during semi-formal occasions. However, some ‘etiquette experts’ feel that there are certain types of black-tie events that are more laid back so a short cocktail dress is appropriate. If you are unsure, best to ask the host or organizer.

Highlight your assets. Choose a style that will bring out your best assets. Wear a figure flattering cut that minimizes attention on you problem areas, if any. Side or back slits show off great legs. Plunging necklines are best for women with just the right amount of décolletage. One sided numbers, outfits with spaghetti straps or gowns with well-positioned cut-outs look smashing on certain figures. Know when your outfit is showing too much of yourself. Looking sexy is appropriate, appearing tacky is not.

Choose a color that looks good on you. Just because you like the color peach doesn’t mean it looks good on you. Women have different skin tones: dark, medium and fair. Others classify skin tone according to the seasons: summer, spring, autumn and winter. Depending on the color of your skin (as well as your hair and eyes), certain colors will look better on you than others. You can find resources online that can help you choose the best colors for your complexion.

Pick the right fabric. Choose silk, satin, organza, velvet or other materials that are more suited for formal wear. Embellishments like beads, crystals, rhinestones and embroidery can add drama to your outfit.

Wear the correct undergarments. The right underwear boosts your confidence. Don’t let your bra strap show or any other part of your undergarments.

Use the right shoes and accessories. Flats are a no-no. You need to wear shoes with slim heels. Chunky heeled shoes may not do justice to your formal wear. The shoes should complement the gown, not clash with it. A small purse is appropriate, not huge hobo bags. Wear just the right amount of jewelry. No need to put on everything you own. Remember that less is always more.

Go to a salon. Pamper yourself with a manicure and pedicure (especially if your shoes are open-toed). Put on make-up that will not clash with the color of your dress. Make sure to highlight your best facial features. Hair styling is a must. Wearing your hair up is great but there are other styles as well. Best to experiment with your make-up artist and hairstylist days before the event to get the best look. Don’t forget to show them what you will be wearing – both the dress and the jewelry.

Dressing for a black-tie affair is definitely exciting for any woman. It is an opportunity for her to shine and show off her great beauty and elegance. The dress, shoes, accessories, hair and make-up should all complement each other. Black-tie events are hardly the time to look funky or explore your wild side. This is the perfect time to dress as elegant and as sophisticated as you possibly can. Wear your dress with confidence and have a great time.


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