What To Wear To A Black Tie Event

Stefanie Keenan

With the Venice Film Festival well under way and fall’s many glamorous fêtes just on the horizon, we can’t help but get excited about black tie dressing this time of year. (Not that we don’t wholly appreciate summer’s lazy beach days.) The tricky part of putting together a look for a formal affair is knowing how to spice things up without breaking the dress code in an embarrassing way. The sneakiest move in our book: opting for classic black formalwear done in edgy silhouettes and adding a few accessories with personality to finish the look. A few chic examples straight from Rachel’s own collection, below.

Black Tie Cutouts, Three Ways

From peek-a-boo jumpsuits to back-baring sheaths, there are several ways to show a little bit of skin and still look elegant as ever. Here's how we're styling these daring pieces for our next party or event.

The Glam Column Gown

A daring split and a backless bodice might seem like a lot but long-sleeves and a clavicle-covered neckline balance things out in just the right way. In terms of accessories, look for modern twists on traditional staples like lariat-style pearls or a minaudiere with heavy hardware.

The Edgy Strapless Sheath

If it's not too tight and pared with glamorous, substantial accessories (think: double cuffs, mules and a structured clutch), a strapless black dress is the epitome of edgy nighttime glamour. Play with hair and makeup to change up your look from one event to the next.

The Sophisticated Jumpsuit

If the dress code leans slightly more casual than strict black tie, we love the idea of a structured jumpsuit made more formal with smoldering makeup and serious accessories. We live for this particular style; the flash of skin in the back is sultry but not too revealing.