How to Shop for Clothing for a White Tie Event

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The white tie affair is the ultimate in upscale events, surpassing the black tie affair. The attire expected at these events is extremely formal and very specific. Expect to spend a decent amount of money on clothing to wear to the event.

For Women

1. Know that white tie etiquette dictates that your gown must be floor-length, so shop in dress stores that are more upscale.

2. Try on as many gowns as necessary. It shouldn't be too lively or patterned and should preferably be made of a "special occasion fabric" such as silk, velvet or chiffon. Bare shoulders are usually fine, but it depends on where the event is being held. Your shoes should not have too high of a heel and should match the dress.

3. Pick out white elbow-length gloves if you're wearing a gown with short sleeves; short gloves are required if your sleeves are long. These will be worn at all times (except when eating) so make sure they are comfortable. If you'd like to wear a shawl (good if your dress is sleeveless) buy one that is also made out of a "special occasion fabric" that complements your dress.

4. Buy or borrow jewelry if you don't have any. Diamond necklaces and earrings are the most appropriate items to wear, as they are very traditional pieces.

For Men

1 Locate a formal wear store. If you live in a more rural area, you may have to go to the closest large city to find one. Decide if you'd like to buy or rent the tuxedo. If you have a lot of white tie events to attend, it's wise to make the investment and buy.

2  Make an appointment for a fitting. Tell the salesperson that you are attending a white tie event and will need the appropriate clothing. Some stores don't carry tuxedos with tails, so tell the person what you need before setting the appointment.

3 Go to your fitting. The salesperson will measure you and give you a few suits to try on. Ensure that your coat has tails and satin peaked lapels, and that your pants have a fishtail for your suspenders and double satin stripes down the sides. Pick out a tasteful white button-down shirt with a stiff collar (instead of regular buttons, they will be decorative) and single cuffs, a white vest, a white bow tie, black button-fastened suspenders and black opera pumps.

4 Accessorize your tuxedo according to what your date is wearing. Acceptable accessories include white gloves, silk scarves, handkerchiefs, canes, top hats or a simple flower in your lapel. Cuff links are a must and will match the decorative buttons on your shirt.

5 Arrange to pick up your clothing on the date of the event (or the night before, depending on the time and location of the store). Put down a deposit, if necessary.


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