Formal balls, like a military ball or the Met ball, require formal wear and may be labeled as a white tie or black tie event. There are differences between white tie and black tie events, so it is important to know which type of dress the ball requires.
Black tie events for men mean wearing a black tuxedo with a white shirt, black bow tie, cuff links, black leather shoes and a vest or cummerbund. Women may wear a long, formal gown or a short cocktail dress that complements their date.
White tie events for men mean wearing a black tail coat with a white shirt, white vest, white bow tie and white gloves. Women should wear floor-length gowns with optional long gloves.