Comprehensive Guide to White Tie Dress Code for Men

white tie dress code

The white tie dress code is the highly formal attire and is considered an epitome of elegance among men’s formal wear. Although white dress code events rarely occur, unless you are a celebrity or a royal. But, when they do, make sure to dress up right according to the rules with strict attention to detail to save yourself from any embarrassment. 

With the white tie dress code comes a set of inflexible clothing etiquette. Therefore, showing up in a usual business suit won’t do the job. However, we understand that adhering to so many rules and regulations can be overwhelming. So, here we present you the ultimate dress-up guide for a white tie event to help you style yourself like a Pro!

So, strict with us to know more.

What Is A White Tie Dress Code?

A white tie dress code is the most prestigious formal attire. Usually adorned at royal events, State meetings, highly formal weddings, and Hollywood Galas. A white tie dress code may sometimes be described as a tail, full evening dress code, or dress suit event. So, not to be deceived by these fancy names and stick to the standard clothing rules.

We have often seen the black-tie dress code as a standard formal dress code. But, the truth is white tie dress code is the ultimate formal attire. In the early nineteenth century, the white tie dress code was the standard attire for all the formal events.

Tables have turned in the recent years. Now you can show up to a formal event dressing up in a laid-back attire with no questions asked. However, there are still a handful of traditional settings where a white-tie dress code is a compulsion, with adhering to the strict formal clothing etiquette.

White Tie Vs. Black Tie: A Comparison

Although both white and black tie dress codes are for highly formal events, they slightly differ in the level of severity. For example, You can wear a black-tie attire to any usual formal gathering. However, a tailcoat suit is specific for attending an event with high social impact like a presidential dinner or elite royal wedding. 

Apart from the type of event, the dressing etiquettes for the two dress codes are also different. A black-tie attire comes with a slight room to experiment. However, you cannot deviate from the standard clothing rules with a white-tie dress code. 

For Instance, you can wear a tuxedo or some sober business suit to a black-tie event with a black bow tie, according to your style. But, a tailcoat with a white satin shirt, low cut waistcoat, and white bow tie with trousers is the only standard attire for a white tie event.

Tips For Styling White Tie Dress Code 

  • Always go for a tailored tailcoat suit for the perfect fitting. An ill-fitting outfit may result in a  fashion disaster.
  • Do not deviate from the specific guidelines and stick to the standard white dress attire.
  • Avoid wearing any fancy accessories like a wristwatch or sunglasses. However, wearing a pair of white gloves and a hat would be acceptable with are not necessary.
  • Be careful about the color of your white tie outfit. Always opt for a crisp white; an off-white or ivory would not work with your formal dress.
  • Stick to a white bow tie. Wearing anything other than a satin finish hand-tied bow tie is against the rules.

What Not To Wear To White Tie Events?

The whole idea of a white-tie dress code revolves around how efficiently you can follow the instructions and adhere to formal etiquettes defied by the host. You may be a fashion rebel in your day-to-day life, but a tailcoat event is not the right time to make a statement and depict your creativity. In order to help you avoid any blunder, here are a few outfits that you should avoid while styling a full evening dress attire.

White Vest Dress

A vest dress is suitable for moderately formal events, but a white vest outfit without a proper tailcoat is against the white tie dress code rules.

Casual Suit

Wearing a casual suit may work for a black-tie optional dress code but is not recommended for a white or black-tie event. A white tie dress revolves around a tailcoat. So, wearing a casual business suit will not work.

Formal Dinner Clothes

Although dinner clothes are formal, they do not fit the standard rule. Therefore, keep your dinner jacket suits for other formal events and adorn the tailcoat event’s traditional clothing to avoid those sarcastic smirks.

White Shirt And Black Tie

Hand-tied white bow tie is an essential part of the full evening dress code. So, wearing a black tie and shirt won’t do the job, anyway.

Formal White Blazer Outfit 

A formal black blazer with lapels is a standard white-tie attire. So, wearing a white blazer is against the dress code.

Open Collared Shirt 

Keeping your collar button open is considered uncivilized and is against formal etiquette, whether it’s a black-tie or white-tie event. So, make sure to button up your shirt before heading on a formal occasion.

No socks

Wearing an appropriate pair of socks is crucial for white-tie attire. Choosing to wear no socks or a bright-colored pair is not only against the rules but will make your overall look bland and break your charisma.

White Tie Dress Code Attire

The tailcoat events are highly prestigious and critical. So, you cannot risk your reputation over your rebellious desire to create a fashion statement. Dressing up for a white tie event involves a strict clothing etiquette that must be followed religiously. Therefore, sticking to the basics is the best way to get through. In order to help you dress appropriately, here is the list of all the essential components you need for a flawless white tie look.

White Tie Tail Coat 

A tailcoat is the only clothing article that differentiates between a tuxedo outfit and a white tie dress. It is a custom-tailored black formal coat with long tails stitched on the backside. Make sure to match your toe of black with your formal trouser for a complete tailcoat look.

Formal Pants

Formal dress pants are a mandatory element of any formal attire. Your trousers must be made from the same fabric as your coat with a satin strip on both the outseams. Moreover, the waistband and pocket piping must exhibit exclusive craftsmanship for an impeccable look.

White Satin Shirt 

A formal white shirt is the one shirt that will compliment your white tie outfit. Do not settle for a usual button-down or sports shirt, as it is against the standard dress code. Moreover, choose a crisp white shirt; an off-white or ivory shirt would kill the sophistication.

 Cufflinks And Studs 

Cufflinks and studs are essential whether it’s a black-tie or white-tie event. Apart from keeping the cuffs in place, a sober pair of black metallic cufflinks and studs goes a long way to level up your white tie look.

Pocket Square

Placing a white satin pocket square is another accessory you can carry to make your tailcoat look stand out. But make sure to style it properly; an untidy pocket square may destroy your whole look.

White Bow Tie

After a tailcoat, the second most crucial part of a white tie dress code is a white bow tie. While a pre-styled bow tie may work but it is recommended to wear a hand-tied bow for an exquisitely styled look.

A White Waistcoat

A white tie attire is incomplete without a low-cut white waistcoat. The waistcoat must be made in the same white shade as your dress shirt to match the standard rules.

The Right Shoes

Wearing the perfect formal shoes to complete your white tie outfit is among the vital clothing antiques. A patent black leather dress shoes are an ideal pair of shoes to complement your black-tie attire. Moreover, wear your shoes with black mid-calf socks for a perfect formal look.


What is the white-tie ladies’ dress code?

At a severely formal white tie event, women can dress up in a ball gown or a stylish floor-length evening dress. In addition, wearing evening gloves with a white tie dress code is as essential as a white bow tie for men. Lastly, a pair of statement earrings with a formal embellished clutch and a pair of stilettos will complete the look with perfection.

What is the difference between the black and white tie dress code?

The primary difference between the black and white tie dress code is the severity of the formal event. For example, a formal evening party would be a perfect event to adorn a black-tie outfit, but a white-tie attire is specific for highly formal state events or elite gatherings. Moreover, a tuxedo will work well with black-tie attire, while a tailcoat outfit is a standard for white-tie events. 


A century ago, the white tie dress code was a compulsion for every formal event. But, today, it is more of a highly formal dress code adorn by royals and elite members of society on some special occasions. So, if you are invited to a white-tie dress code event, dress up according to the set standard of rules to save yourself from any uncalled embarrassment.

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