No need to have a mild panic attack when you read the words black tie on an event invite. We've got the dos and dont's of black tie dressing sorted - read below for some easy-to-adhere to rules that will make finding the perfect outfit a breeze.
- Use this as a great excuse to go all out! Floor-length gowns in a beautiful rich hue and luxurious fabrics are something that you normally don't get to wear much of, so embrace the chance to get glammed up.
- Invest in a quality dress or gown that is timeless. Spending a lot of money on a heavily trend-based piece will mean you won't get much wear out of it - stick to classic cuts and colours that suit your body type and won't go out of style. Black or rich, jewel-toned hues are always a great option.
- If a floor-length gown isn't for you, a formal cocktail dress that sits below the knees is acceptable. Dress it up with elegant jewellery, accessories and heels.
- Dressy evening suits are also acceptable - just make sure the cut is perfect, the fabric is well-steamed and you keep the rest of your look simple and feminine so as not to look too masculine.
- Ensure your beauty look complements your attire. Are you wearing a simple, elegant black gown? You can afford to play up your beauty look a little more with winged eyes, bold red lips and a flawless complexion. Is your dress on the extravagant side? Perhaps choose to tone your makeup down a notch for the evening so that you don't look too overdone.
- Make sure you have all pieces of the puzzle prepared a day before the event, from the correct undergarments to a present and card for your host. This will banish any chance of a panic attack on the day of the event and leave room for you to really enjoy the party.
- The most important thing to remember is to be completely comfortable! Avoid wearing anything you might accidentally slip out of after a few too many glasses of champagne, and choosing the appropriate footwear means you'll never need to take your heels off before you get home (a huge no-no!).
- Go cheap. This is a formal event, and you want to look your absolute best. Fabrics that haven't been cared for properly will also look cheap, so ensure your garments are properly steamed, drycleaned or ironed before the event.
- Wear loud patterns or colours. This can look obnoxious instead of classy, and will draw attention to you (which isn't the aim of the game at a black tie function, believe it or not).
- Show too much skin. Err on the conservative side for this one - plunging necklines, thigh-high splits or super-short dresses are best left for another night.
- Get your hair and makeup profesionally done. You want to look flawless, as well as ensure your look stays put all night long. Besides, it's always fun to have someone else pamper you in the lead-up to an event!
See our full edit of men's and women's black tie dressing here!