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Interpreting Holiday Party Dress Codes: Black Tie

Yes, I know it’s still October, but this past week my husband has sent me no less than three holiday party invites from his work. They are all varying dress codes, and it threw me into a mini panic just thinking about what I was going to wear! You probably have a few holiday parties to attend this year too, so before you start hyperventilating, let’s talk about interpreting dress codes, and then I’ll share with you a few pieces I would wear for a party with this particular dress code.

Starting from the most formal to the most informal, let’s start with Black Tie. Of course, it’s easy for the men — a tuxedo, or dark suit and dark tie/bowtie. For women, it’s actually not much harder. Black tie typically means floor length dresses, but a classic Little Black Dress (LBD) is totally appropriate as well.

When you attend a black tie event, most of the dresses are black. Maybe it’s because everyone thinks black is slimming, but most likely it’s because black is easy to wear and is endlessly versatile. But colored and patterned dresses are fair game too, so I’ve thrown in a few, but most of them are dark or black. And don’t forget — you can add jewelry, shoes, a bag, and a hairdo to let your personality shine through all the basic black!

I’ve found ones in varying price ranges, and I’ve sorted them by black formal dresses, colored formal dresses, and little black dresses.

  • Scalloped Lace Gown 1 of 12
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    This simple silhouette is absolutely stunning. I'm a total sucker for 3/4 length sleeves, and I love the little visual interest the scalloped neckline adds.

    Find it at Nordstrom for $218.

  • Lace Neck Maxi Dress 2 of 12
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    This one from H&M is a total steal. It has some pretty lace detail on the bodice, and it's a nice soft knit so you'll be the comfiest woman at the party!

    Find it at H&M for $59.95.

  • Oceans of Elegance 3 of 12
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    The sweetheart neckline and slightly puffed sleeve makes this one of my favorite picks! Add a killer pair of heels and an awesome statement necklace and you're set! 

    Find it at ModCloth for $52.99.

  • Jarlo Button Through Maxi Dress with Lace Insert 4 of 12
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    The slightly high collar on this dress immediately caught my attention. But once I actually got a good look at it, I noticed the gorgeous lace cut-out at the waist. Together these two interesting details make a simple black dress anything but simple. 

    Find it at Asos for $151.28.

  • Textured Lace Mermaid Gown 5 of 12
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    This gorgeous dress will certainly turn heads with its black lace overlay and stunning mermaid silhouette! 

    Find it at Nordstrom for $378.

  • Embellished Mesh Gown 6 of 12
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    A beautiful burgandy colored dress is so holiday appropriate, but is also versatile enough to wear throughout the year to other black tie events. Its pretty grecian style makes this dress classic and gorgeous. 

    Find it at Nordstrom for $188.

  • Little Mistress Maxi Dress with Sequin Bodice 7 of 12
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    I think this is my favorite of all the dresses, and if I had a black tie event to attend this year, I think I'd pick this one up. The gold and navy combo is unique and stunning. Plus, anything with sequins is holiday-appropriate in my book.

    Find it at Asos for $133.49.

  • Love Wrap Front Maxi Dress 8 of 12
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    What better color to wear to a holiday party than a bold red? Adding a simple gold belt helps break up the all-over color and adds a festive touch.

    Find it at Asos for $56.95.

  • Coast Lori Lee Maxi Dress 9 of 12
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    Although this color is a little bold for me, the shape of this dress is amazing. Flowy and fitted in all the right places. 

    Find it at Asos for $347.06.

  • Mirabelle Dress in Silk Chiffon 10 of 12
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    This gorgeous silk dress from J.Crew is high on my list of favorites. It comes in a ton of other colors, including black, but I think this gray is stunning! With some sparkly jewelry and a pretty pair of pumps, it's totally black tie appropriate. 

    Find it at J.Crew for $265.

  • Sweet Intentions Dress 11 of 12
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    A simple LBD is taken up a notch with a lace yoke! 

    Find it at ModCloth for $54.99.

  • Breathtaking Arrival Dress 12 of 12
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    Lace dresses are everywhere right now. This gorgeous one is expensive, but is such a classic shape and style that it could last you for years. Plus, since it's fairly simple, you could wear different accessories, add a jacket, a fur snood, or a belt, and then wear it to party after party and no one would even notice it was the same dress!

    Find it at ModCloth for $467.99

Find more of Merrick’s style and writing at Merrick’s Art

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

 

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