Style: What To Wear To A Black Tie Event (Without Feeling Uncomfortable Or Spending A Fortune!)


When an invite lands through my letterbox, I rip it open with anticipation; any excuse to get all dressed up and I’m there with bells on. But when I see the dress code is simply described with the two words ‘black tie’, my heart drops a little and I start to panic. It’s easy for guys to pop on a simple tux and channel their inner James Bond; a great tux never goes out of style and suits every man, plus one investment can see them pretty much through a lifetime. For us women though, a black tie dress code can cause a huge amount of anxiety – finding an appropriate dress that makes us feel fabulous, doesn’t cost a fortune, is actually comfortable enough to put up with all night and isn’t too far from our usual style can cause quite the conundrum. Plus, how do you ensure you tick all those boxes while not regretting your choice six months later when another black tie invite lands on your doorstep?

This summer I have all number of weddings, black tie events and formal invitations in my diary; like any good blogger, I’ve used these impending dates as an excuse to go shopping and find an outfit I know I can wear to pretty much every single one of them. So if you’ve got a black tie event coming up and you’re a bit stuck as to what to wear, here are some of my top tips for finding the perfect look. 


Take it from me, what looks great when you’re in front of the mirror at home doesn’t necessarily translate to a wedding or dinner party that’s spent predominately seated. I’ve made huge mistakes over the years opting for dresses with tonnes of structure and boning, that almost cut me in two once I sat down to eat; now I always opt for lighter material that allows movement – and even better, a bit of stretch. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable as soon as you’ve had a glass of prosecco and a canape, so think about the material and how you’ll feel wearing it in a few hours time. 


Black tie dresses don’t have to be super expensive, but many of them will set you back a little more than your average Saturday night outfit. Choosing a colour that isn’t necessarily on-trend or likely to date will ensure not only the wardrobe choice will see you good for a few years, but the photos don’t date either. My suggestions would be classic black, white or navy, as well as nudes or metallics like this fab number I’ve chosen.


I’ve opted for super structured dresses and billowing petticoats many times before, but after a couple of hours I know they’ll start to make me all hot and bothered. (I famously took off my huge petticoat on my wedding day once the dancing began because I was too hot!) I spend far too long poofing or fiddling and not enough time actually enjoying myself, so stripping it back and opting instead for a shape that’s totally effortless is a far better idea in the long-run. What I love about this dress is that it skims over my curves effortlessly, without being in any way constrictive. 


If the thought of spending over a hundred quid on one dress gives you heart palpitations, then opt for a look that’s easily dressed up or down; if you can wear it just as well with a clutch and pair of heels as you can with a basket bag and gladiator sandals, you’ve done well. Maxi dresses are one of the key looks we see every summer, so choosing a style you know you can get wear out of (or style down for a wedding or garden party) makes it so much more of an investment.


They really can make or break a look. Whether you want to keep it simple with an elegant black clutch and matching strappy stillettos, pick out a colour from the dress and emphasise it, or opt for timeless metallics that really do go with everything, a great bag and pair of shoes can really change the look and feel of any dress. I’ve been lusting over this Biba clutch for such a long time, but the fact it now matches my dress makes the wait all the more worth it; paired with some nude sandals and I’m good to go.

With my first black tie event of the summer only a few weeks away, I’m counting down the days until I can take this glorious number for its first proper outing – and I know I’ll love it for the years to come.

How do you tackle a black tie invite? Do you have one dress you always go back to, a few classics you rely on, or are you always on the hunt for something new?

Check out the huge range of House of Fraser dresses complete your perfect black tie event look

Issa London Dress | £130.00 (NOW £52.00) 

Biba Gold Clutch Bag | £60.00 (NOW £30.00) 

Carvella Nude Heels | £99.00

This is a sponsored feature in partnership with House of Fraser; all opinions are my own.


Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  



  1. Kelly Glen
    July 5, 2018 / 8:15 am

    What a stunning dress this is and it makes you look very stylish and beautiful.

    • Hayley Hall
      July 5, 2018 / 8:45 am

      Thanks Kelly!

  2. Mz Neti
    July 5, 2018 / 11:12 pm

    You look Fantastic in this dress!! Wear it and enjoy every minute. . .

    • Hayley Hall
      July 6, 2018 / 8:01 am

      Thank you!

  3. Lynxbaby
    July 6, 2018 / 4:14 am

    That is a beautiful dress! Classic and classy. You look lovely! That gorgeous fabric looks like it would be light enough to be tolerable in the humid summer heat.

    • Hayley Hall
      July 6, 2018 / 8:01 am

      We shot these pictures in the steaming heat and I was actually fine! It's really light and easy to move in.

  4. Vivian Yuen
    July 6, 2018 / 5:57 am

    This dress is stunning, and definitely not one to break the bank! Vivian | LIVE IN LOVEIG | @viviyunn_~

    • Hayley Hall
      July 6, 2018 / 8:01 am

      I think it's gone down again in the sale now too!

  5. Tarryn B
    August 6, 2018 / 2:31 pm

    Just wow! You look fantastic in that dress!

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