An awards ceremony is a formal event. Depending on the industry some events will be more creative than others and some will be conservative. The invitation will state what is required for example ‘Creative Black Tie encouraged’ If you are still at a loss for what to wear follow this guide to inspire…


The Dress

Ladies don’t have it quite so easy when it comes to dressing up for a Black Tie event, little black dress with pearls for a formal business function, to something far more glamorous with ‘important’ jewellery! Dresses can be either short cocktail dresses or long evening gowns. The latter are more elegant. The dress should be floor length, below the knees or to the knees. It should be made from high end materials like satin, silk, velvet or brocade. A good rule is to balance the amount of skin on display if you opt for a strapless, go with no slit in the skirt of your dress. If you are wearing a cap sleeve or covering up shoulders with a shrug, showing a subtle flash of leg is fine. Be sure you have appropriate undergarments like a strapless bra or shapewear that fits you properly to create a pristine, finished look under your dress. The choice of evening gowns is endless. There are no restrictions to colour and design, or even taste. Some wear long gloves and shawl, which is optional per etiquette rules, a woman should remove her right glove before entering a receiving line so she may shake hands. Hair should look shiny and polished, and make-up should look fresh. Refrain from any heavy make-up looks that can appear garish. It is recommended you get your hair and make-up done professionally. However, if you do it yourself, keep it natural, simple and classic.

The Shoes

Due to the length of some award events, wear comfortable shoes. They should be made from the same materials of your dress or bag and in the same colour.

The Accessories

A woman’s jewellery choices should also reflect the formality of a black-tie affair accessories are the finishing touches to the outfit. Diamonds or pearls are an acceptable choice. A simple or chandelier earring, a more formal bracelet or necklace is also appropriate. Keep it simple and don’t overdo it. Make more of a statement with one or two fine pieces. Carry a small clutch or bag that matches your dress or shoes.


Creative Black Tie

Black Tie, when worn correctly, is not to be taken literally: it does not mean wearing a black tie – one is not going to a funeral. Black Tie is more diverse than some imagine, it can be dressed up or down. The reason men wear black and white is so that it acts as a blank canvas for their partners to wear whatever colour they so wish (within reason, of course). Men should wear a tuxedo. A suit might work for a creative industry, as long as it looks expensive. The suit should always be dark, as it is an evening event. Men should be well groomed; the tie is a black bow tie. A white dress shirt (preferably piqué) with turndown collar can be fastened. A black dinner jacket and tapered trousers are also part of the dress code. Black patent leather evening shoes are optional, although preferred with black dress socks. Shirt studs and cufflinks should be silver or white. A white handkerchief is usually worn.

Source by Stuart Sharples