Dressing for a Formal Event

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 1, 2019)

An invitation saying "black tie" used to mean formal evening dress, where rules were rigidly observed: men wore black dinner jackets and trousers, white dress shirts and black hand-tied bow ties; women wore long or short dresses in rich fabrics or the classic "little black dress."

Today's interpretation of black-tie formality is more relaxed, and personal style is acceptable: for men, colorful bow ties in rich fabrics, but still hand tied, are perfectly correct with or without a matching cummerbund—and women can wear nice pant suits.

The conventional dinner jacket can quite easily be exchanged for a brocade or velvet one. For formal summer occasions, light-colored linen suits as well as a white dinner jacket and black evening trousers are all acceptable dress.

Renting an evening outfit makes financial sense especially if yours is a once-in-a-lifetime function, if your weight fluctuates, or if you want to wear the most fashionable styles. Women's formal-wear rental agencies often have complete designer outfits for a fraction of the real cost. However, for men who have many black-tie engagements, buying a classic dinner jacket and trousers is a practical idea.

If you are looking to purchase eveningwear, rental shops may sell some of their stock. It is often also worth the effort to shop at second-hand and charity outlets or garage sales. Many outfits have hardly been worn and go for bargain prices. Look out for broken zippers, damaged linings, and heavy perspiration stains (which are rarely successfully cleaned). Moth holes and cigarette burns are also very expensive to repair.

For a good fit it is worth enquiring at your dry cleaners about alterations: sleeves can be shortened and hems expertly let down and taken up. Large sizes can be altered to several sizes smaller, but a small size can rarely be altered to a larger one.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

MORE FROM DORIS

Scottish Deerhound

Graceful yet rugged, the Scottish Deerhound can hold his own in hunt with both large and small game. He is friendly, ...

Discover More

Bernese Mountain Dog

Said to be the most popular mountain dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog has primarily been used as a draft and companion. He ...

Discover More

Video Storage

Whether you are a professional videographer or simply a person who is interested in making your own videos, video storage ...

Discover More
More Beauty Tips

Which Stockings are Right for You?

Shopping for stockings can be a hassle and a frustration. Few people can easily decipher between each brand and the ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Panty Lines

Panty lines have the capability to ruin an outfit, so how do you insure that does not happen? The solution lies in ...

Discover More

Buying a Man's Suit

Nothing can change a man's look faster than putting on a suit. A good suit that fits well can give a man a more confident ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)