How to Dress for a Formal Dinner Party

Got an invitation to a formal dinner? Don’t worry about choosing the appropriate dress for it. Your right choice of clothes and dressing will not only help you gel in with the crowd and socialize easily but also help you avoid an embarrassment of sorts. There are separate codes for men and women, and following these codes is the crux of the matter. You need to start out by reading the invitation carefully for any requirements set by the host and then work towards following his / her requirement in full letter and spirit. Go through the below mentioned ‘how to dress for a formal dinner’ guideline and make yourself feel proud.


  • 1

    Men - Black tie

    Go through the invitation carefully and check for “black tie”. If it says “black tie” then it means you would need a tuxedo for the party. If you already own a tuxedo, make sure it fits properly and is not out of style and all the accessories are perfectly ok. If you opt for renting a tuxedo then make sure you receive all the other pieces with it like shirt, cuff links, cummerbund, shirt and shoes.

  • 2

    Men - Black tie optional

    If the invitation says “Black tie optional” then it means that a formal suit, usually of black or dark blue colour, may be worn in place of a tuxedo. If you choose to wear a suit in place of a tuxedo then make sure the tie gives a formal look.

  • 3

    Men - White tie

    If the invitation says “White tie dinner formal” then it means it is a very formal affair and black dress coat / tailcoat along with a formal shirt, vest, white tie, cummerbund, cuff links and shiny black shoes should be worn.

  • 4

    Men - Wedding event

    If the formal dinner is a part of a wedding then you should adhere to what the bride or groom has asked you to wear. Also, wearing a white tuxedo with tuxedo pants or formal black pants may also be acceptable, especially if it is a small (personal) event.

  • 5

    Women - Black Dress or evening Gown

    Get a black dress for the formal dinner; it could also be knee length or just a little above it. If it is more of a glorified event then you should prefer using a long formal dress. Grab your best accessories, jewellery, hand bag and shoes to match the elegance of the event.

  • 6

    Women - Pants and Jacket

    If you are choosing pants then make sure they are not denims, because they give a very casual look. Top it with a formal evening jacket or top.

  • 7

    Women- Wedding Event

    If it is a wedding party, then you have to follow the demand of the bride or groom.

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