Gala dresscodes are difficult, that's why we compiled a list of do's and don'ts for a white tie event. Everyone is welcome, no matter what you look like, and we won't appreciate you less as a person or kick you out if you don't dress "properly". But to make this party picture perfect, we would love to see everyone looking their best!
A masquerade ball (or bal masqué) is an event in which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. A masquerade ball usually encompasses music and dancing. These nighttime events are used for entertainment and celebrations.
Masquerade masks were worn delicately by the prosperous class at balls. Masquerade masks had many uses including hiding one's identity, and using different colour to express one's freedom of speech and voice one's emotions and opinions without judgement. There were two types of base masquerade masks; black masks and white masks. Designs and patterns were created over the base that was chosen. The main types of masks included masks with a stick (which one could hold to keep the mask in front of their face), the head mask, the full-face mask, and the half face mask. From classics like The Phantom of the Opera and Romeo and Juliet to The Lone Ranger and Gossip Girl, masquerade masks have been, and are still used in many types of media today.
Perhaps one of the hardest things in life is choosing the perfect outfit. And when there’s a dress code, all of a sudden the stakes are even higher. But it doesn’t have to be, because we’re here to decode all your fears, queries and questions about every single dress code.
White tie is traditionally the most formal of all the dress codes, the ultimate formal outfit for only the fanciest affairs — think, the Met Gala, Oscars, or an extra special wedding.
For men, this one means full suit including a white bow tie, hence the name white tie — but the suit should be black, not white, and shoes should be the proper formal dress, nothing else.
A few things to take into account are:
- Black socks are worn with formal shoes.
- If you put a pocket square (or pochet) in your breast pocket, this should be white, just like the tie.
- Wearing a watch is considered rude, because time shouldn't be important at an event like this.
- Pay attention to the rest of your appearance as well. Try to look your best!
For women, the rules are a little less strict and much more vague, with the criteria really being to wear a long dress, up to your heels. However, as it is the older sister to black tie, we advise to amp it up. Think Blake Lively at Cannes and every old Hollywood star you remember.
Go for structure, a gown and show a little décolletage — couture is ideal. Go for a strapless design or own with a chique decolleté. Backless dresses are allowed, but choose one with a more conservative front to still keep an elegant vibe. For those of us without access to a French couture house, we’d suggest going with a dress with plenty of body and a shape that ultimately flatters you — look good, feel good.
White tie is ultimately a ball gown dress code, which means a fitted bodice with a full-skirted gown that reaches the ground — think Disney princesses.
Every colour is accepted, as long as your outfit matches. If you have trouble choosing a suited colour, let the seasons guide you. Warmer weather asks for lighter coloured dresses.
White tie can also mean gloves are expected, but depending on your event, we’d keep these for the ultra-high end events — we’re talking the White House or other official night time ceremonies.
Even though the rules are less strict for women, there are still some rules to adhere to.
- The same rule about watches that applies for the gents, also applies for the ladies. It is considered rude to keep track of the time.
- Try to match your shoes, purse and other accessories with the colour of your dress.
- Going all out with your make-up and adding extra sparkles to your look is encouraged, but keep it classy.