The black tie dress code has lost the strict formalities originally associated with it: men have done away with bow ties and cummerbunds, and women have followed suit with ever-shorter hemlines and more daring pieces such as jumpsuits or trouser suits.
Black Tie today just basically means an opportunity to walk out in the dressiest get-up you dare to wear.
If you are worried about playing it safe, something classic and elegant is the best way to go. Slashed splits and look-at-me patterns may leave you feeling self-conscious, so look to a designer such as Roksanda Illincic for cool and minimalist eveningwear. The full-length gown in the gallery above, with a contrast back has a timeless quality and is flattering and sophisticated – all it needs is a rhinestone necklace to make you really shine.
Equally ‘safe’ and no less stunning is the siren-red gown from Raoul (click through the gallery above). 100% silk will feel luxurious and the cinched waist and draped bodice will flatter most body shapes.
If you want to go short, choose luxe materials and a substantial shape: skimpy dresses never look right for a black tie event. The Marc Jacobs satin number makes maximum effect of the collar bones, an oft-forgotten erogenous zone that is perfect to focus on at a black tie event.
Shorter dresses mean you can have more fun with texture and if you’re looking for something a little more ebullient, go for sequins. This dress from Alice + Olivia has a chic and flattering below-the-knee hemline and an understated silhouette which shows off the wearer rather than just the dress.
If this is just a one-off event and you don’t go to Black Tie events very often, you might want to consider renting a dress. Sites like WishWantWear.com and GirlMeetsDress.com have a brilliant selection of evening dresses and gowns that range from Yves Saint Laurent and Herve Leger to Christopher Kane and David Koma. Even your bag can be borrowed from the night, from www.theborrowersclub.com – so you can wear head to toe designer clothes without paying the prices