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Skirt Lengths for Black Tie Affairs

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My friends and I will be attending a "Black Tie" evening garden wedding. What is an appropriate dress length for this affair? Are there any preferred fabrics or colors for Black Tie events? My friends and I joke that any dress is Black Tie as long as your date is wearing a tuxedo. But, I will not have a companion, so my ensemble will have to stand on its own.


Dress Stands Alone

Dear Dress Stands Alone,

For "Black Tie" events, men are limited to tuxedo attire. But for women, there are many options and choices.

Any nice outfit in any skirt length is appropriate, from the short little black dress to a longer more elegant gown. Dressier suits as well as pants in sandwashed silk or sueded rayon combined with a beautiful beaded/sequined top are also good choices.

While a dressier fabric is often silk or satin-type material, it doesn't need to be a fancy material. Basically, medium to lightweight stretchy or woven fabrics are fine. If you feel the material is not formal enough, then enhance the attire with attractive jewelry pieces at the neck and wrist. Stylish shoes will also help transform the ensemble.

For weddings, guests should not wear solid white dresses so as not to "compete" with the bride. Otherwise, any color is acceptable for Black Tie, unless the event is a Black & White Ball.

The only time a skirt length must floor length is for White Tie functions.