What Jewelry and Accessories to Wear for Black Tie Events

Black tie events are fairly common around the Washington, D.C. area. In fact, sometimes it feels like any excuse will do for a fancy party! However, this can bring a great deal of “dress stress” along with it. Because dress codes are getting ever less prescriptive, the chances of a misstep increase.

Not to worry, though. With a little research and planning, you can make the best-dressed list every time.


Black tie events are not thrown together at the last minute, so there will invariably be an opportunity to ask about appropriate attire. You have two options: Ask friends or colleagues what they plan to wear, or call the facility hosting the event and ask what is customary. If there is a discrepancy, default to what your peers will be wearing.

The dress is the main source of concern for most women. No, it need not be black, and often, it need not be floor length (particularly for early evening or business-related functions.) What matters the most is that it be simple, stately, and elegant. By finding out the most suitable length of dress, the process of choosing one will be greatly simplified.


When you’ve chosen a simple dress, then you can choose your accessories. If your dress is too showy, it becomes difficult to add accessories without overdoing it. But if you choose a dress that is almost plain, you can add three or four stunning accessories and look like a million dollars.

Start with the shoes, because you’ll likely be standing most of the evening. They must be elegant and comfortable generally with a three inch heel or so.

Next is the bag and wrap, which should match. If you have a beautiful clutch, it is not too difficult to go out and find a wrap of the same color or style.

Next is the jewelry. Black tie events are formal, even today. That means fun and funky styles are out. Stick with gold, platinum, diamonds and pearls. You can’t go wrong with stud or button earrings. A simple necklace and a ring or two are all that’s needed to complete the look.

Remember, trying to get too fancy or baroque with your look is what’s going to make the outfit look overdone. But the accumulated effect of a simple chignon, an elegant dress, diamond studs and a drop necklace is one of considerable style and show-stopping effect.

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