What to Wear to a Black-Tie Gala

Written by melissa o'connor
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What to Wear to a Black-Tie Gala
Wearing suits and dresses is appropriate for a black-tie event. (city life image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

A black-tie gala can be a number of things. Whether it's a show, dinner or wedding, casual attire is not appropriate to wear at the event. Traditionally, men, women and children should be dressed up in fancy clothing. Your overall look should be elegant, simple and chic.

Gather Information

You will need to know as much information as possible about the event, so ask questions if you need to. However, most invitations will have special details listed. See if there is a theme so you can dress appropriately. It would also be helpful to ask your friends what they are wearing. It might give you some ideas.

Black-Tie Attire for Men

Men should wear a suit or a tuxedo, and it should be sleek and minimally detailed. It should consist of a black or dark blue jacket and trousers, a white button-down shirt, a black bow tie or four-in-hand and black dress shoes.

Other additional options are black or white suspenders, matching cufflinks and a silk or linen handkerchief. During colder months a long black dress coat is recommended. In warmer weather a white jacket can be worn instead of black, and a coat is not necessary.

Black-Tie Attire for Women

Women should wear a cocktail dress or long gown that fits their body type. Focus on material, colour and cut of the fabric. If you go with a colour other than black stay within darker tones. Most gala events are long, so make sure your shoes are comfortable. Try to stick with mid-length heels and keep it simple. Open-toe, dressy sandals and high heels are all appropriate. They should be made with or look like a high-end material like silk or satin.

Wearing a lot of jewellery might be off-putting, so stick with one or two elegant pieces that make a statement. Use a small clutch or bag made from the same materials as your dress or shoes. It is also recommended you get your hair and make-up done professionally. If not, don't overdo it. Keep your make-up natural and style your hair in an elegant but simple way.

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