Going to a Black Tie Event? Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted August 22, 2023 by in Fashion

It’s not every day when you get to attend a black tie event. A black tie event is something much different then going to another event such as a corporate event or a wedding. This makes it a bit difficult to know what to do. There is a dress code as the name implies, and generally an unwritten list of rules and norms that must be followed. 

Although a black tie event is often depicted in movies or TV shows, it isn’t always clear what is expected. It can be nerve-wracking to say the least when you find yourself invited to one. In this article, we will go over many of the essentials to understand before attending a black tie event. 

Understanding the dress code

Whether you are a man or woman attending the event, there is a certain dress code that has to be adhered to. Women tend to have more options than men, however. Evening gowns are the most common choice. These dresses typically reach the floor and come in various styles from sleek and form-fitting to ball gowns that add a touch of drama. 

Evening gowns are the most popular choice and what you’ll most likely see other women wearing. These dresses typically reach the floor and come in various styles. Black is a classic choice that aligns well with what the men will be wearing. However, there are many other colors to choose from.

Accessories are also very important. Choose accessories that match or complement your dress and don’t compete with it. For instance, clutches are preferable over large bags since they can be understated, yet elegant such as these ones from Rafe

Hair and makeup are as important as the rest of your outfit. For many women, black tie events are a chance to experiment with hairstyles they might not wear daily. Updos, elegant braids, or cascading waves can all be suitable choices. 

Black Tie etiquette

The right etiquette is essential when attending a black tie event and it begins with your arrival. Arriving on time shows respect for the host and the importance of the occasion. It’s a good rule of thumb to arrive just a little after the start time, but never fashionably late, as it could disrupt planned activities or ceremonies.

Seating is generally reserved and well planned out ahead of time. Never decide where you want to sit unless it is made clear that there is no seating plan. When you arrive, find out where you will be sitting and keep the spot memorized.

Make sure that your posture is also thought of when you are standing alone or mingling. A sign of confidence and signal that you belong there is to use an open posture that invites conversation. Avoid checking your watch and keep your phone away for the evening. 

How to engage in conversation

At a black tie event, conversations are essential in meeting new people which will create memorable experiences. However, knowing how to approach a conversation with people you may not know well in a formal setting can be intimidating. Just like in most social settings, a friendly smile and a simple introduction can break the ice

You can make it a lot easier on yourself if you come prepared with a few topics that you might want to talk about ahead of time. Good conversation starters are things like complimenting somebody’s attire, taste in drinks, or something about the venue or hosts. 

There are also a few topics best avoided. Steer clear of divisive subjects like politics or personal questions that might make someone uncomfortable. If you find yourself in a tricky conversation, it’s okay to gracefully steer it in another direction.

How to navigate the bar

The bar is usually the focal point of the event and is a good spot to congregate and mingle. There are some rules to be aware of before you make your way to the bar, of course. 

The most obvious rule is to not overindulge. While it’s okay to enjoy a drink or two, it’s essential to know your limits. Overindulgence can lead to embarrassing situations or impaired judgment, neither of which is suitable for a formal event. Remember to pace yourself and drink plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks. 

Try to order quickly and not make it too complicated for the bartender to make. This prevents people from having to wait too long behind you while you get served. 

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