What Should a Woman Wear to a Black-Tie Gala?

Updated April 17, 2017

A black-tie gala is an elegant event usually held in the evening. Whether it's a wedding, a ball, dinner or a show, dressing appropriately is very important. Casual wear is certainly not accepted. The black-tie event is when you go all out and look your best. Here are a few tips on what to wear to your next gala.

The Dress

Dresses can be either short cocktail dresses or long evening gowns. The latter are more elegant. The dress should be floor length, below the knees or to the knees. It should be made from high end materials like satin, silk, velvet or brocade. Stick with colours that aren't very bright. You want to express a classic overall style.

For warmer weather choose lighter fabrics and colours. You can also skip the stockings. For colder months, wear a formal dress coat and heavier fabrics. You also have the option of wearing a shawl or wrap.

The Shoes

Due to the length of some gala events, wear comfortable shoes. They should be made from the same materials of your dress or bag and in the same colour family. They can be pumps, open-toed shoes or dressy sandals.

The Accessories

Accessories are the finishing touches to the outfit. Sparkly jewels and gemstones are recommended as well as silver or gold. Keep it simple and don't overdo it. Make more of a statement with one or two fine pieces. Carry a small clutch or bag that matches your dress or shoes. It is recommended you get your hair and make-up done professionally. However, if you do it yourself, keep it natural, simple and classic.

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About the Author

Melissa O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2010. Her work has been published on various websites, including Her writing focuses on topics in design, photography, history, living green and healthy cooking. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Jersey City University.