What To Wear To Your Next Black-Tie Event

On their own, the words "black" and "tie" aren't very intimidating. Together, they suggest floor-length hems, fancy heels, and tuxedos instead of regular suits, which can send any casual kind of person into their closet to hide. Formal occasions, unlike getting ready for work or a weekend brunch, aren't ones we can dress for on a whim. They require a considered plan, and maybe even a fairy godmother. Well, that's us. We styled five perfect outfits for any upcoming big-deal event, from elegant off-the-shoulder tops to tea-length frocks, and more. Glass slippers not included — but how about some silver oxfords? 

The Off-The-Shoulder Top
Black tie doesn't mean your outfit needs to start entirely from scratch: If you already own a delicately pleated skirt (one you might regularly wear to work), pair it with a devastatingly elegant off-the-shoulder blouse for an instantly elevated vibe. Front-to-back earrings and quirky colorblocked pumps will provide the finishing touches fit for a five-star dinner date or even a wedding. 
The Floor-Length Gown
Whether you're headed to a spring formal or the opening gala for your friend's exhibit, you can't go wrong in a ball gown. Instead of doing it up the prim and proper way, we styled Halston Heritage's soft blue dress with a single earring and bomber jacket for some welcome edge. 
The Wide-Leg Pants
Instead of a matching blazer and pant, we went a little outside the box putting wide-leg trousers with a frilly blouse and printed coat. The complete look has the sophistication of the former without feeling tired or already done. A perfectly mismatched clutch seals your fate as coolest belle of the ball.
The Tea-Length Frock
Hems hitting mid-calf are only gaining in popularity. Do the silhouette justice in a frock that can stand on its own for a night out, but don't forget about accessories altogether. Silver oxfords are a fun alternative to heels, especially when there's a dance floor involved.
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The Printed Maxi-Skirt
Formal dress codes shouldn't limit one's color palette or affinity for wearing prints. Enjoy the best of both worlds with a printed maxi-skirt on the bottom and a black crop and blazer on top. This way, your ensemble is equal parts appropriate and fun.