What Is Proper Evening Attire?


Quick Answer

Proper evening attire for a woman ranges from dressy separates to full length evening gowns, while men's wear varies from a dark suit to white tie, with a black dress tailcoat. Attire choices depend on the category of the event, from "black tie optional" to "white tie."

Continue Reading
What Is Proper Evening Attire?
Credit: Sam Edwards Caiaimage Getty Images

Full Answer

For black tie optional events, women can choose dressy separates, a "little black dress," a dressy cocktail dress or a full-length evening gown. Men choose between a dark suit with white dress shirt and conservative tie, with leather shoes and dark dress socks, to a tuxedo. Black tie events require the same choices for women, sans separates. Men wear a black tuxedo jacket and pants, formal white shirt, black bow tie, black cummerbund or vest and black patent leather shoes with black dress socks.

During summer, on a cruise, or in the tropics, men can substitute a white dinner jacket for black. The white tie event for women leaves the full-length gown as the only dress choice, with long gloves optional. Men wear a black tail coat with matching pants containing a satin stripe in the United States or two stripes in the United Kingdom with a white formal shirt with pique wing collar, white vest, white bow tie and cuff links. Add the same shoes and socks as black tie, plus white or grey gloves.

Learn more about Dress Codes

Related Questions