Black Tie Gala Guide


Palm Beach season is here! Which means social functions, parties, and galas every weekend, and the constant question of "what to wear?". To help navigate what is appropriate for the upcoming formal events, we're breaking down the dress code guidelines for black tie attire.

Black-tie Formal Wear

Black tie is a dress code for social functions that typically start after 6 pm, and basically means “this event is fancy.” While the details of black tie applies more to men than to women, it is still important to dress appropriately. Aside from white tie affairs, which are not common, black tie is the most formal dress code. Men are expected to wear tuxedos, and for women, it is customary to wear floor-length gowns. However, in our modern society there are exceptions, including formal high-low dresses, or chic separates like a silk blouse and floor-length sequin or satin skirt.

Here are our top picks for black tie attire. Bonus: you may even see us rocking these beauties! 

1. Lovers + Friends X Revolve Xael Gown

We're obsessed with this chic and elegant Lovers & Friends blush Xael Gown. Sexy yet sophisticated, this dress is sure to wow at your black tie soiree. This extravagant satin gown stuns with a plunging neckline that leads into a sophisticated twist front detail. WEAR TO: The Habitat for Humanity Gala at The Breakers

2. Likely Albury Gown

This is the epitome of chic sophistication in formal wear. Black is always a welcome color at black tie events (and also the most flattering). The keyhole cutout and fit and flare style are simple touches that make this Likely Albury Gown next level. WEAR TO: The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society Gala at The Breakers.

3. NBD Astrid Gown

Indulge in the work of art that is the Astrid Gown from X by NBD. Intricate beading and sequin embellishments devise an obscurely modern design that is interjected with plunging cut-outs, crafting a masterpiece out of elegant evening wear. WEAR TO: Bal Poudré at the Grand Hall of The Flagler Museum (2018 details coming soon).

4. Jay Godfrey Bolt Gown

Jay Godfrey's Bolt Gown mixes classic tailoring techniques with modern silhouettes and luxurious fabric that accentuate and embodies the feminine figure. This effortlessly chic, sleek, sexy and sophisticated dress is a showstopper in red and ruffle perfection. WEAR TO: The Palm Beach Heart Ball at The Breakers.

Black Tie Optional

The term “black tie optional” mostly applies to men who may or may not own or want to wear a tuxedo. For women, you have the option of wearing a full-length gown, or a cocktail dress, as long as the hemline is not too short and the style is not too revealing. Essentially, chose a dress that would hold up alongside a room potentially full of men in tuxedos and women in gowns.

Here are some examples and personal favorites for black tie optional events.

1. T by Alexander Wang Knit Halter Dress

This criss-cross halter top little black dress by T by Alexander Wand is sleek, chic, and black tie optional appropriate. Pair this form fitting midi with a lovely statement earring and a sexy stiletto to complete the look. WEAR TO: The Restoration Hardware Grand Opening Party (details coming soon).

2. Nookie Dolly Midi Dress

We love the lines on this Nookie Dolly Midi Dress. The sweetheart off the shoulder top is so refined and elegant, and the color is perfectly pink. So elegant and charming, you can't go wrong with this little gem. WEAR TO: The 211 Spring Gala at The Four Seasons.

3. Alice + Olivia Katina Wrap Dress

This shimmering Alice + Olivia Katina Wrap Dress is super flirty and fun. The flowy metallic material would work well at an outdoor soiree or garden party. Add a metallic stiletto and oversized cocktail ring for the full wow factor. WEAR TO: Rock The Runway Fashion Show at The Boca Rio County Club.

4. Alexis Antoinette Dress

Make an everlasting impression in Alexis' Antoinette Dress. A corset bodice contours a form-fitting midi dress embellished with two-tone embroidered lace and set off by a heavy fringe trim. This fashion-forward dress is sure to make a statement at your black tie optional event. WEAR TO: Pair with a cowboy boot and red bandana around the neck for the Rhinestone Cowboy Haute Hoedown at The Flagler Museum.