How to Dress for a Formal Dinner Party

Formal dress for men

Read the invitation carefully to determine what will be appropriate attire for the evening. If the invitation says, “black tie,” then you will need to wear a tuxedo. If you own a tux, make sure it is still in style, still fits and that all the needed accessories are ready to go. Should you rent a tuxedo, check out your rental to make sure that you account for all the pieces such as a vest, cummerbund, shirt, shoes and maybe cuff links, not to mention check to see if all the buttons are sewn on.

  • Seeing that the invitation says “black tie optional” would mean that a very nice dark suit, preferably dark blue or black would be acceptable in place of a tuxedo if you prefer. Should you choose to wear the suit instead of a tuxedo, make sure that the tie you wear is of formal status and not casual.
  • Know that if you are invited to a “white tie” dinner formal, that this is a very formal affair. It means the whole monkey suit, formal shirt, vest, “white tie,” cummerbund, cuff links and the shiny black shoes. Some may even want to put on the ritz with a top hat, tails and cane.
  • Accept the fact that if the formal dinner is a part of a wedding and you are a part of the wedding party, you will need to wear what the bride and groom have requested you wear, even if it’s a tuxedo with a pink ruffled shirt.
  • Realize that wearing a white dinner jacket and formal black pants or tuxedo pants to a formal dinner party would be considered acceptable attire as well, especially if it’s a small personal affair or dinner.

Formal dress for women

  • Grab that “little black dress” from the back of the closet when that invitation to a formal dinner party arrives. Of course, your dress needs to be in the class of a cocktail dress. It can be short, meaning at the knee or slightly above, with a formal touch. This could mean a little sheen to the fabric or even a few touches of rhinestone accessories. Be sure to wear tasteful and color-blending shoes and evening style handbag.
  • Wear a long formal dress to a formal dinner party that is of a more grand nature or maybe even a media involved event. Again, make sure your shoes and handbag are coordinated with your dress.
  • Look great in formal evening pants. This never means denim of any type. Your formal evening pants should have some flow to them and be topped with an evening style top, camisole or jacket.
  • Attend an evening formal dinner that is part of a wedding by wearing any of the dress attires listed above. Of course, if you are in the wedding party, you’ll have to abide with what the bride and groom have selected for your formal dress attire.