Woman leaning back in white dress with feather fan

14 Black Tie Dresses That Will Steal the Show

Fashion /

Dress to impress for your next big event

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If you’ve found your way here, chances are you have fancy event coming up and have hit the age-old question of ‘what do I wear?’ – and we wouldn’t blame you, we’ve become a bit out of practice since the pandemic began. But now, with social season opening back up (hopefully this time for good), we can go all in on our choice of attire. Find some inspiration for your next big do with our edit of the best black tie dresses below, featuring designer options from Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, as well as rental alternatives from HURR Collective and My Wardrobe HQ.

The Country & Town House Responsible Buyers’ Guide

What is a ‘black tie’ dress code?

Dress codes are more often than not a source of confusion and frustration for most events – and with vague terms like ‘business casual’, ‘smart casual’ and ‘semi-formal’ lurking about, it’s easy to see why. With certain events requiring a specific dress length, strap width and colour palette, the choices for what to wear can become tricky. Generally speaking, if you choose to go to an event in a dress, it’s expected of guests to wear something something long-ish (aka not a mini skirt). Any colour is up for grabs (despite the name, black is optional), unless there is a specific request or theme, and feel free to dress it up a bit with jewellery and heels.

Woman in red dress stood in front of curtains

(c) RIXO

Now for the dresses. As always, before you buy, check at home to see if you have something that fits the trends we see on the runway. Re-wearing old clothes is the best way to be sustainable, but if you can’t avoid it then shop consciously at responsible retailers, as well as rental and resale sites.

Black Tie Dresses That Will Steal the Show

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Red dress with glittery bands


Alexia Red Diamanté Detailed Gown, £675, rixo.co.uk

Long mint halter gown


Elma Sequin Halter Gown in Mint, £575, rixo.co.uk

Long, hot pink dress, with ruffles and thin straps

Alexander McQueen

Women’s Polyfaille Exploded Corset Dress in Bobby Pink, £4,300, alexandermcqueen.com

Woman on the beach facing away from the camera, wearing a pink evening dress with a large bow on the back

Rebecca Vallance

Rosetta Dress (UK8), rent from £174, hurrcollective.com

Long, yellow halter neck dress


Delilah Halterneck Taffeta Dress, £770, matchesfashion.com

Model in brown satin gown


Frankie Silke Dress in Cafe, £335, thereformation.com

Hot pink dress


Crepe Couture Evening Dress, £5,600, valentino.com

Model walking through room in long pink satin gown with one shoulder

Stella McCartney

One Shoulder Double Satin Dress in Martini Pink, £1,795, stellamccartney.com

One shoulder sequin gown with draped sleeve in shades of blue, yellow and orange

Mary Katrantzou

Isolde Sequin Dress, rent from £39 per day or buy secondhand for £1,000, mywardrobehq.com

Metallic dress

Alexander McQueen

Women’s Bow Drape Bustier Dress in Silver, £3,490, alexandermcqueen.com

Red silk gown with half sleeves

The Vampire’s Wife

Red Silk Ruffle Festival Dress, rent from £127, hurrcollective.com

Black and white ruffle dress

Needle & Thread

Rosella Ruffle Strapless Gown, £550, needleandthread.com

Model in A-line blue floral patterned gown


Azure Floral Gown, rent from £30 per day or buy secondhand for £1,861, mywardrobehq.com

White dress with black ribbons


Adele Gown 3D Sequin Organza, £3,795, erdem.com

Featured image: RIXO