What to Wear to a Black Tie Optional Event

What to Wear to a Black Tie Optional Event

You’ve probably gotten all dolled up to attend a black tie event before, but what exactly does the phrase “black tie optional” mean?

Before you start transferring wishlist items to your cart, let’s go through what exactly this dress code looks like so you’re perfectly prepared to turn heads at your next event!

What Is “Black Tie Optional?

Black-tie optional gives you some wiggle room when you’re putting together your outfit. While it’s a plus for men to wear tuxes & women to wear a full-length dress, you can get away with a cute midi dress too.

As long as you’re still leaning into a more “dressed up” look, you can opt for your favorite patterns and designs! 

What To Look For In a Black Tie Optional Dress

Just like you have a checklist for your other events, black tie optional dresses need to fit some criteria before you say yes to the dress.

Color, pattern, length, and dress style are all things to consider when you’re finding your favorite black tie optional outfit; here are a couple of quick pointers you can use to find the right look.

Color & Patterns

For the most part, black tie optional is pretty loose on what colors you can wear. If you’re feeling a little unsure about whether your dress is too casual, you can stick to solid colors as a good rule of thumb. Neutral colors like black, navy blue, or charcoal and jewel tones like emerald green and ruby red are always a great option.

Dress Length 

Full-length and mid-length dresses are usually the way to go. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a shorter length dress. If you’re looking for something shorter, make sure it’s at least hitting the knee to keep it black tie approved! Consider the fabric, color and dress design as well. An elegant satin or velvet is always dressier than a jersey or cotton-blend.

Sleeves and Necklines

As far as sleeves go, you can choose long or short depending on what you’re feeling. You can even go for unique design elements like ruffles, sequins, unlined sleeves, and fun prints. For necklines you should think about how modest the event is and the location. Square necklines, v necklines, round necklines, the options are endless!

Now let’s look at what you should be cautious about when putting together your black tie optional outfit.

What NOT To Wear To a Black Tie Optional Event

Black tie optional doesn’t mean anything goes. 

Try to avoid dresses that are too short, since they may not fit the formal vibes of the event. This doesn’t mean your dress needs to always fall below the knees; this Showstopper Flare Dress is a great example of how above-the-knee can fit a black tie optional dress code.

As nitpicky as this may sound, you also want to pay attention to the shoes you choose. It’s important that you still wear something that’s comfortable and you feel confident in, but try and keep it classy! Don’t wear sneakers and avoid options like day sandals if they look too casual. 

Black Tie Optional Dresses To Wear For Your Event

So now that you know what you should wear to your event, it’s time for the fun part; shopping for the perfect black tie optional dress!

We have a few options that might catch your eye when it comes to black tie-ready dresses.

Anastasia Dress In Black

Just because it’s not a true black tie event, it doesn’t mean you can’t go all out. 

The Anastasia Dress comes in a classic black color, gorgeous hand-beading, and amazing layers of tiered tulle for an elegant look and feel. Everything down to the details in this dress’s fine fabrics just screams black tie and black tie optional! Also available in sage green, mauve, and red.

Starstruck Dress

Starstruck Dress in Black - FINAL SALE-Adult

The Starstruck Dress is the perfect choice for parties, special events, date nights, and weddings. The long sleeves and longer length combined with the sparkle sequin design really make for an out-of-this-world look. If black isn’t your thing, it’s also available in navy and red!

Roses are Red Dress

Solid color designs are always a safe bet, but black tie optional dresses can be so much more. 


This ankle-length gown features a beautiful rose pattern throughout with a sweetheart neckline, so you can keep it formal but add a cutesy flare. The light colors and rose design also make it a great option for a daytime event!

Maggie Dress in Emerald Green

Okay, let’s touch on those jewel tones.

Maggie Dress in Emerald-Adult

If you want your dress to have a pop of color but want to keep it elegant too, look no further than this!

The twirly skirt and flutter sleeves make it elegant enough for a black tie optional event, and the wrap front and detachable waist tie make it comfortable for expecting and nursing mothers. Who knew you could look this good and still be so comfortable?!

Nina Bow Dress in Pastel


The Nina Bow Dress in Pastel or Velvet Pink features short puff sleeves with elegant bow details. This dress is a great option if you’re looking for something on the shorter side but still look dressed up. With the right shoes and accessories it can be the perfect outfit for a daytime wedding, baby shower, engagement party, you name it!

We hope this guide helps you put together the perfect outfit for your event. If you’re still looking for “the one” check out our bridal party collection where you’re sure to find something just for you!