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Handy guide to white tie formal wear style

At the dressiest end of the scale, you will not want to make a fashion faux pas at a white tie affair. If you don’t already know the difference between black tie and white tie, don’t panic. This guide will help you choose a fancy outfit that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


Unlike a black tie event, short cocktail dresses are strictly prohibited. Women typically wear long, full-skirted ball gowns. Dress up the outfit with some elegant jewelry, but be careful not to overdo it. And, if you really want to stand out, you can also accessorize with a pair of long, white gloves.


If you thought a proper black tie outfit had many elements, get some paper and a pen. You will want to take note of these tips so you can look like a white tie expert.

Tailcoat: Cut in a double-breasted pattern with peaked, satin lapels, the tailcoat is not meant to close. And, make sure that the coat is the proper length. The front of the coat should end slightly below the waist, and the tail should touch behind the knees.

Pants: These pants should also be cuff-less as well as match the color and material of the tailcoat. Two narrow stripes or one wide satin strip should be visible along the outside seams.

Waistcoat: The waistcoat must be white in color and shorter than the front of the tailcoat. This piece is usually backless, low-cut, and single- or double-breasted with oblong, self-faced lapels.

Shirt: Along with a high, stiff detachable wing collar, the shirt should also be white and stiff in the chest area. Single cuffs must be fastened with links, and eyelets for one or two studs should be visible.

Neckwear: A white bow tie with a butterfly or batwing shape to match the waistcoat is typically worn.

Footwear: Black patent leather or highly polished dress shoes will make you look dressy from head to toe.

Accessories: If you would like to make your look even classier, you can add an optional white, linen handkerchief or white boutonniere.

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