I recently went to my first black tie optional event (not counting weddings) and when I bought my tickets a month beforehand I realized I wasn’t 100% sure what black tie optional meant. I decided to do some research just to be safe. After posting my outfit and writing about the event, I thought since I’ve done the research why not write a blog post on the dress code!
Black tie optional basically means men have the option of wearing a tux or a dark suit with a white shirt and a dark tie, while women have the option of wearing a gown, cocktail dress, suit, or a dressy skirt with a blouse. So many options! I’m personally a dress girl and have focused my visual research (shopping) on dresses, but have thrown in a few of the latter.
For dresses, a standard gown can be great. Women are able to wear either light or dark colors and as well as a number of silhouettes.
Cold Shoulder Cowl Back Pleated Maxi Dress/Hammered Satin One Shoulder Maxi Dress/Lace Maxi with Frill Sleeve/Petite Wrap Front Maxi Dress/Tall Satin Paneled Lace Pleated Maxi Dress/Petite Lace Insert Paneled Maxi Dress
If you are extremely short like me, or just don’t own a gown (how many times are you actually going to wear them anyway) a cocktail dress is a great option. There are still a variety of silhouettes to choose from, however it is best to wear them in rich dark colors or jewel tones.
Petite Lace & Dobby Mini Skater Dress/Petite Frill Skater Dress/Petite Halter Lace Dress/Petite Midi Tulle Dress with Lace Up Back/Lace Detail Midi Dress/High Neck Lace Midi Dress with Tulle Skirt
Some could say women should follow the same rules as men when it comes to suits and jumpsuits, but I think with the right cut about any color could work. I know what you’re thinking, still so many options, and you’re right. Just choose what ever cut and color works best for you. Skirts on the other hand should follow the same rule as dresses. If the skirt is long, any color can work. If the skirt is short, rich dark colors and jewel tones are best. I also added a couple of blouses that can be worn with either the suits or skirts, although the black top might be a little bulky under a blazer.
Soft Jacquard Blazer & Pants Co-ord/Boxy Blazer & Slim Leg Pants Co-ord/Soft Tailored Blazer & Peg Pants Co-ord/Sleeveless Soft Shirt/Top with Ruched High Neck/Frill Knit Shell Top/Mini Tulle Skirt with Faux Pearl Embellishments/Lace Pleated Maxi Skirt/Maxi Tulle Skirt with Crossover Embellished Waistband/Wrap From Jumpsuit with Peg Leg/Tall Tuxedo Jumpsuit with Collar Detail/Petite Bardot Cutwork Lace Tailored Jumpsuit
Lastly, I’d like to go over cover ups. Basic jackets and cardigans are a definite no-no. Faux fur, capes, and wraps compliment black tie optional looks best. Think of it this way, you don’t want what ever you’re covering up with to dress down your dressy outfit. What ever type of cover up you go with (if you even need one) should be on the same level as the rest of the outfit or elevate it even more.
Faux Fur Coat/Faux Fur Jacket/Maxi Coat in Faux Fur/Chiffon Cape Cover Up/Chiffon Maxi Cape Cover Up/Faux Fur Cape
Decoding the Dress Code:
Formal Beach/Resort Wear