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Dress Code: White Tie

5 min

Understanding White Tie Attire

White tie attire represents the epitome of elegance and sophistication when it comes to formal dressing. Reserved exclusively for the most prestigious occasions, it serves as a symbol of profound respect, grace, and refinement. It’s not an easy one to get right, but this guide will equip you with the essential information you need to decide on your ensemble.

The strict dress code rules and etiquette associated with white tie events has come about since it is reserved for those most important events, so congratulations on receiving an invitation to a white tie event. Dressing appropriately will show respect and ensure your style reaches the expected level of sophistication. With this guide, we share our expertise gleaned from decade of dressing men for white tie events. We cover the essential components of white tie attire, catering to both men and women.

Decoding Men’s White Tie Attire

When preparing for a White Tie event, it is good to understand the specific elements that make up the dress code in order to honor tradition. For evening occasions, men should choose a black tailcoat jacket accompanied by matching trousers, both adorned with silk details such as peaked lapels and gallon trim. For a daytime event, a morning coat is the preferred choice for formal day dress.white tie etonAs you will be wearing a white bow tie, you will want to choose a shirt that provides a good match.
A classic Piqué White Tie shirt featuring a wing collar, single folded cuffs, and pristine white studs is an excellent choice. Layer over the shirt with an elegant single-breasted evening waistcoat cut from a cloth that enhances the color and fabric of your shirt and bow tie. Opt for a white cotton pique bow tie, either self-tied or ready-tied, in order to harmonize with the texture of your shirt and waistcoat lapels.

When it comes to accessories, a thoughtful touch is a white silk pocket square. The fold should be a puff-fold style to add a touch of character. However, if you are wearing medals as is expected at white tie events, it is advisable to forgo the pocket square to ensure the focus remains on your achievements. Choose understated cufflinks, preferably in silver, to avoid diverting attention from your ensemble.

Complete your attire with black patent lace shoes or, for the more daring, black patent opera pumps. Pair them with calf-high black trouser socks to prevent any visible skin. If you wish to embrace the dress code wholeheartedly, a black top hat and white silk scarf are appropriate additions for arriving at the venue, but make sure to check them in to the cloakroom upon arrival.

One final detail will truly show you understand the white tie dress code. To honor the proper etiquette of white tie events, leave your wristwatch at home. Instead, wear a pocket watch or discreetly check your phone for the time when necessary.

There is a lot to consider when preparing for a white tie event, and you will have a good understanding of the event, the location and which of the details you should pay most attention to. If hand folding your bow tie is something that makes you nervous, either make time to practice using our handy guide, or choose a ready tied one. You will know which rules you feel comfortable bending.

Deciphering the White Tie Dress Code for Women

When it comes to the white tie dress code for women, it presents a splendid opportunity to display grace and sophistication. An essential element is a floor-length evening gown crafted from luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin, or chiffon, adorned with intricate detailing like embroidery, beading, or lace. A gown in a classic, rich color that harmonizes with the event's color scheme and the season is always a safe choice, and for fashion forward women, it’s an excellent chance to display your style within the respected norm of a full-length gown.

Complete your ensemble with delicate jewelry pieces like diamond or pearl earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Carry a small clutch purse and choose stylish yet comfortable footwear. Additionally, you have the option to enhance your outfit with long gloves made of satin or silk, which can add an extra touch of refinement, and were once a staple of white tie dressing for women, but are no longer obligatory.

For women’s hair and make-up, aim for elegance and sophistication. A classic updo or neatly styled loose hair are both good alternatives. When it comes to make-up, strive for a polished and elegant look which matches your overall outfit choice.

How to wear White Tie Attire for Men

For men, white tie attire entails following the previously mentioned guidelines for the white tie dress code, including the tailcoat, shirt, waistcoat, bow tie, and all accompanying accessories. Immaculate details are paramount, as they reflect the formality and prestige of the event.

In conclusion, the white tie dress code signifies refinement and elegance, reserved for the most prestigious events. By adhering to the strict guidelines and meticulously preparing the components of your ensemble, you can attend a white tie event or wedding with confidence. Remember, the key to mastering white tie attire lies in maintaining a polished and well-groomed appearance, ensuring that every element of your outfit harmonizes with the overall aesthetic. That said, most fashion faux pas can be brushed off with a confident smile and charming demeanour, as that is what your fellow attendees will remember. However, with careful planning and attention to detail, you will excel at the white tie dress code and create an enduring impression at the event.