How To Choose The Best Black Tie Dress Code Outfit

How to choose the best black tie dress code outfit, Laloom Kaftans

Black tie is a dress code that is traditionally worn for formal evening functions such as dinner parties, dinner dances, and certain types of wedding.  For men, the black tie dress code is clear and simple: you should wear a black dinner suit paired with a crisp white shirt and a black bow tie.  The black tie dress code for women though is a little more complicated.  Here’s everything you need to know:

Colour Conundrums

Many women mistakenly believe that a black tie dress code means that they have to wear a black dress.  But whilst black dresses are undoubtedly popular at black tie events, they certainly aren’t obligatory!  You’re free to wear any colour you wish!  If you don’t want to wear black then rich jewel tones or vibrant red are both perfect choices.  Can’t settle on just one colour?  Don’t shy away from pattern!  The right pattern will enable you to wear all your favourite colours in one outfit and will ensure you attract attention for all the right reasons.


The Best Black Tie Dress Code Outfit, The Monaco Long Kaftan, Laloom KaftansIn this photo:  The Monaco Long Kaftan Dress

The Right Length For A Black Tie Dress Code

Traditionally black tie dresses are floor length, but if you don’t have a floor length gown (and don’t want to buy one or don’t feel that they suit you) then it is possible to wear a cocktail dress or even a kaftan dress for the black tie dress code.  If you do go down this route though, your dress should be dark: black, navy blue or metallic shades would all work.

Keep things formal by pairing your dress with coordinating shoes and a matching clutch bag in rich, luxe fabrics.  Think satin, velvet, or even high shine patent leather.  Your shoes will be especially important if you are wearing a cocktail length dress for a black tie dress code, as they will be on show all night long.


Choosing The Perfect Black Tie Outfit, Sun Island Long Kaftan, Laloom KaftansIn this photo:  Sun Island Long Kaftan Dress

Covering Up For A Black Tie Dress Code Event

The fact is that many black tie dress events take place when the weather is cold outside, depending on where in the world you live.  Balls, galas, awards nights, weddings and everything in between – it’s the time of year to set that black tie dress to work!  If your favourite black tie dress is sleeveless (as so many dresses, unfortunately, are) then you’ll need a flattering formal cover up to get you from the cab to the door without turning blue.  After all, a floor length satin gown isn’t going to look good paired with an oversized puffa jacket or a chunky knit cardigan.  Instead invest in a cropped faux fur jacket, a sleek wool overcoat, or even a chic cashmere wrap to cover your arms and keep you warm.  Adding a wrap or jacket is also a clever way of repurposing an existing black tie dress that might not overwise be appropriate, making it look more modern or simply more appropriate for the weather.


The Perfect Black Tie Outfit, Niihau Long Kaftan, Laloom KaftansIn this photo:  Niihau Long Kaftan Dress

What Not To Wear For A Black Tie Dress Code

So now you know what pieces you should wear for a black tie dress occasion, but what pieces should you avoid?

Whilst we all appreciate that comfort is king, that doesn’t mean that a black tie dress event is the place for sneakers or even simple leather ballet pumps.  You don’t have to wear heels, but if you do choose to wear flat shoes ensure that they are elegant and formal enough for the occasion.  A pointed toe open back flat or kitten heel is the perfect choice if you want something on-trend.

Other things to avoid are cotton dresses, particularly cotton sundresses, that simply wouldn’t be formal enough for the occasion.  Instead look for luxe fabrics that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to wear.  The same rule of thumb applies to accessories: whilst tiny clutch bags might not be practical, they are beautiful.  Leave your oversized handbag at home and instead opt for something that will better suit the formality of the occasion, and the line of your dress.



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