Cindra Lee Henry

Where Transformation Begins!

Cindra Lee Henry

Black Tie Optional

In this day and age, what the heck does Black Tie Optional really mean?!

When I was growing up, event categories had very specific meanings where clothing was concerned.  The most common categories were:

1. Black Tie
2. Black Tie Optional
3. Cocktail Attire

Here are the basics of each category:

– Men in tuxedos with bow ties
– Women in floor-length gowns

– Men can opt to wear tuxedo or dark business suits
– Bow tie or long, usually dark, conservative suit ties
– No sport coats even with dress slacks
– Women can opt for dressy, elegant business suits or evening dresses
– Women can opt for long or short evening dresses

– Men in business suits or elegant sport coats and dress slacks with long ties
– Women in dressy short dresses or dressy suits

As you can see, Black Tie Optional has always presented the greatest challenge simply because it offers so many choices and far fewer restrictions.  However, these days it seems to offer NO restrictions.  I feel so bad for the women I see who ask for advice on what to wear to a Black Tie Optional event because I know that they are very likely going to see just about every possible fashion option once they arrive at the function.  There simply is no right or wrong anymore for such functions.  Just about anything goes.

So, tomorrow I’m going to start a discussion about what options are most effective and give you some tips about figuring out how to determine what direction to take with this crazy notion of Black Tie Optional.

See you tomorrow!

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