Your one stop for college news and resources!

Lifestyle & Fashion

What to wear to a black tie affair

Janelle Vreeland

Hints to help you dress for that black tie affair

Have you recently been invited to a black tie affair and scrambling because you don’t know what to wear? Well, your worries are over. Here are some helpful tips that will make heads turn from the minute you walk through the door.


While there are several variations of black tie attire, men are usually expected to wear traditional tuxedos. In higher fashion cities, such as New York City and Los Angeles, a tie-less black shirt and tuxedo may be perfectly acceptable. But, if traditional attire is required, the following are some necessary pieces that you will need to put together the perfect ensemble.

The suit jacket can be single- or double-breasted with peaked, notched or shawl collar lapels. One or two buttons are required, and pockets should not have flaps. For the most formal look, make sure your jacket does not have vents.

Pants should be cuff-less and the same material as the jacket. A single band should also be seen along the outside seams to match the lapels.

Along with French cuffs, the shirt should be white with a turndown collar. Eyelets for studs are usually found, and the fronts can be pleated or piqué (cotton, rayon or silk fabric woven into raised, lengthwise cords).

A black, silk bow tie or long tie that matches lapels is a smart choice.

Black, patent or highly polished leather Oxfords or other dress shoes will complete the look.


Women are usually seen wearing cocktail dresses (at-or-below the knee), long dresses or elegant two-piece outfits. Silk, satin, velvet, beads and rhinestones are good materials to choose, as they are always elegant. And just because this is a “black” tie event, doesn’t mean that your dress has to be black. Deep red, plum, silver, gold and pastel colors could also look stunning. However, if you are still unsure, you can always check with the host on the formality of the event.

Related Articles