Black or White Tie Guide

What to wear to a black or white tie event
Have you received an invitation the stated "black tie" or "white tie" and you are unsure of what to wear? Here is our guide to dressing your best for black and white tie events.
Black tie: Indicates a formal event that usually takes place after 6:00 p.m.

Black tie dress for women:
  • Long gown or a short cocktail dress is acceptable
  • Not necessary to stick to only black in color as colors are acceptable
  • Evening sandals or pumps in a color that  compliments the dress
  • Evening bag of silk, satin, beading, embroidery, or textiles.  Evening bags are small and can only hold a few items.
  • Choose a hairstyle that is different from your every day look.
Black tie dress for men:
  • Black tuxedo jacket.  Most men wear single breasted jackets but double breasted is acceptable as well. Lapel choices are a matter of personal taste. Lapels can be notched, peak or shawl
  • White tuxedo shirt
  • Some men like to wear  a cummerbund, some like vests and some men wear neither.  All choices are acceptable and are a matter of personal choice.
  • Pleated front dress shirts look best if you are wearing a cummerbund. Some men choose to add black studs in place of the shirt buttons.
  • If you are wearing a vest a non-pleated dress shirt is a better choice.
  • Black bow tie or one in a color to match your cummerbund or vest.
  • Black tie shoes are slim and minimal in decorations.  They can be glossy patent or polished leather.
White tie: The most formal and elegant of all occasions. Usually worn at state dinner or formal cotillion balls.

White tie dress for women:
  • Formal, long gown.  Can be a full skirted ballgown.
  • It is not appropriate to wear a short cocktail dress.
  • Shawls and long gloves are commonly worn.
  • Gloves should be white, upper length/opera gloves and should never be taken off until you are seated at a table.They are to be put on again once the meal is finished.
White tie for men:
  • White tie means a tailcoat. This coat or jacket is short or waist-length in the front but has two tails in the back that  reach to the knees.
  • Pants worn for white tie events are black and may have a satin stripe that runs down the outside of the leg. Pants should be high quality materials, wool or a wool/silk blend.
  • White pique bowtie (Pique refers to a weaving style with cotton yarn. The weave is raised parallel cords or fine ribbing.)
  • White pique vest
  • White pique front or plain stiff fronted shirt with a detachable wing collar.
  • Cuff links and shirt studs
  • Black patent leather shoes