Laura Haddock in blue tulle gown, sat on a Union Jack sofa with one leg up on a coffee table with fish and chips on it

15 Black Tie Dresses That Will Steal the Show

Fashion /


Dress to impress for your next big event

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more

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, Rotaro and My Wardrobe HQ.

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.

Model in black one-shoulder dress walking past with her head turned towards the camera

(c) Alexander McQueen

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

Photo 1 of
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

Bernadette

Delilah Halterneck Taffeta Dress, £770, matchesfashion.com

Model in brown satin gown

Reformation

Frankie Silke Dress in Cafe, £300, thereformation.com

Model in long black dress, with one shoulder and cut outs on the torso

Valentino

Georgette 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 £30 per day, mywardrobehq.com

Model in yellow crepe dress

Jason Wu Collection

Impressionist-print Cotton-blend Crepe Dress, £4,680, matchesfashion.com

Model in silver metallic corseted 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 Rufle Festival Dress (UK8), rent from £127, hurrcollective.com

Model in green sequin gown with long sleeves

Needle & Thread

Snowdrop Gown, £570, needleandthread.com

Model in A-line blue floral patterned gown

LaMetamorphose

Azure Floral Gown, rent from £30 per day, mywardrobehq.com

Red strappy dress

Erdem

Rea Dress Cutwork Embroidered Organza, £2,625, erdem.com

RIXO

LEANNA Midi Dress With Bow Detail in Green, £255, rixo.co.uk

Model in long orange gown

Yasmina Q

Delphine Dress in Orange, rent from £29, rotaro.co.uk

Featured image: Country & Town House May/June 2022 Issue Cover Shoot Tulle dress: ACT No1 / Red Carpet collection bracelet with amethysts, sapphires, emeralds, Paraiba tourmalines and diamonds set in 18ct white gold: Chopard / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Gloves: Cornelia James / Photographer: Carla Guler / Fashion Director: Nicole Smallwood

DISCOVER MORE

Summer Party Dresses for Sunny Celebrations