What does black tie really mean and what rules should we follow?
"For ladies, a smart dress (such as a cocktail dress) is appropriate. It can be long or short, as long as it's not too short. It need not be black." - Debretts
Be aware that you have options
In terms of length, as Debretts explains, black tie can mean long, midi or short (though not too short), so, unless your invite advises on a specific length within the black tie code, the choice is up to you.
Don't be afraid of colour
"The key is that it doesn't have to be black," says stylist Martha Ward "...and print works too!"
Dress for your shape and size
"When choosing an evening dress for a black tie event always ensure you dress for your size and shape," says womenswear buyer at John Lewis Donna Stamp. "A long, flowing gown will generally look great on taller women, whilst petite women tend to suit a 50s prom dress or something more fitted that cuts off at the knee."
What about a black tie wedding?
"Black tie is black tie, there's absolutely no difference at a wedding", says Astrid Joss of Brides magazine. "But..," she advises, "...keep black seasonal - keep it in winter so don't wear it in the summer and I'd say probably if it is more of an evening event. The only rule is don't wear white, cream or ivory."
Think about your accessories
"Don't leave it to the night to think about your accessories and make-up, as a pair of killer heels, sparkling necklace or bright red lip can transform any outfit," says Donna Stamp.
To read Bibbi's article in full click here