The designation of "black tie" signifies the party's level of formality indicating that men should wear tuxedos and women should wear long gowns. Guests are expected to honor the dress code etiquette or decline the invitation.
Planners of formal affairs go to great lengths and significant expense to create the refined atmosphere of a black tie event. An understanding of the etiquette and conventions of these occasions allows guests to choose the appropriate attire and contribute to the dramatic, elegant nature of the event. Depending on the details of the function, shorter gowns may be acceptable for women, but tuxedos are always expected for men.