Best black tie dresses 2024: formal frocks for wedding receptions, cocktail parties and big bashes

Lend an eye to these opulent pics for black tie bashes

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Tania Leslau1 minute ago
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Men’s black tie is easy and instantly pleasing. There’s something about a pristine cut, a sleek lapel and a bow tie that brings the phwoar-factor.

But women in black tie attire? Now that’s a different ball(gown) game.

Black tie dress codes for women are more open to interpretation than men’s. While there are some obvious boxes to tick such as a floor-skimming silhouette and opulent fabrics such as velvet, silk, satin and lace, women’s black tie attire is a golden opportunity to bring out the big guns. 

Crystals, heirloom jewels and cascades of pearls are all part and parcel of traditional black tie dressing. Outfits can range from demure and minimalist to dramatic and voluminous. Evening bags make for a dazzling arm candy comrade. Makeup can be applied daringly. There are many pieces to the jigsaw puzzle of formal dressing. 

That said, there’s no greater hurdle to clear than selecting the right dress for the occasion. Conventionally, black tie dresses adopt a longline form in rich colourways, but the odd short style isn’t unwelcome - especially in our book.  

Brands such as Ghost, Reiss and Karen Millen supply consumers with an array of formal gowns to consider, spanning figure-sculpting strapless numbers to sequinned midis. 

It’s important to note that black tie gowns rarely dip under the £100. Unless you’re a veteran sales sifter, expect to splash out to source your dream dress. But considering high-quality occasionwear will see you through many years, we’d say it’s a sound investment.

Plus, if there’s any scope at all for us to mirror iconic black tie dress moments of the silver screen, we’re down for the gown. Think Keira Knightly’s emerald dress in Atonement, Kate Hudson’s buttery yellow satin number in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and any Bond Girl to ever exist. An exquisite black tie dress is worthy of any Hollywood red carpet. 

Scroll on for our curation of the best dresses for swanky dos, evening receptions and black tie galas.

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Reiss Spencer Halston Sequin Strapless Maxi Dress


Radiate high-octane, Seventies-inspired glamour in Reiss’ Halston gown. Featuring a resplendent ombre silver backdrop complete with cascading red blooms, the strapless gown is set to steal the show.

Buy now£706, Reiss

Ghost Florence Halter Neck Satin Dress


Ghost’s Florence dress is a sophisticated piece to roll out time and again. Perfect for all occasions from prom to black tie galas, operas and balls, the backless garment is an instant sartorial success. 

Buy now£156, Ghost

Shushu/Tong Corset Velvet Mini Dress


Posh dining dates require a traffic-stopping look with a dash of timelessness. Shushu/Tong's corseted dress comes complete with a romantic sweetheart halter neck in a sumptuous ebony velvet.

Buy now£580, Matches

Faithfull The Brand + NET SUSTAIN Santiana Dress


Model height: 5’10

Move away from pleasing pastels and opt for a rich chocolate colour scheme instead. Faithfull The Brand’s Santiana dress adopts a streamlined slip silhouette, cut from a charming coffee hue to suit any season.

Buy now£289, Net-A-Porter

Omnes Iris Maxi Dress


Yellow is a highly underrated tone, especially when it comes to black tie. A soft lemon yellow looks expensive, no matter the brand. Pair yours with gold heels and turn out a true Kate Hudson in How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days moment in Omnes’ sustainably crafted Iris dress.

Buy now£79, Omnes

Rixo Doutzen Embellished Gown


Showcasing a traditional black hue topped off with glistening jewel-embellishments, Rixo’s Doutzen gown is a one-shoulder show-stopper inspired by the cult brand’s hand-painted Waterblossom Floral print.

Buy now£525, Rixo

Arket Satin Maxi Dress


Marrying clean-cut elegance and an inky black colourway, Arket’s satin maxi dress is textbook black tie elegance. Spaghetti straps and a romantic cowl neckline create an evergreen occasionwear piece.

Buy now£97, Arket

Sir Aries Lace-Trimmed Silk Slip Dress

My Theresa

Take the floor in a stunning lemon-yellow slip dress. Sir’s serene yet sunny Aries number features a lustrous layer of silk trimmed with a froth of delicate black lace, adding a Gothic dimension to the radiant garment.

Buy now£486, My Theresa

Karen Millen Floral Strapless Premium Satin Panelled Woven Midaxi Dress

Karen Millen

An ethereal blend of ivory satin and web-like black florals, Karen Milen’s strapless number is a sensual yet sophisticated choice for spring-into-summer dos.

Buy now£135.15, Karen Millen

Hutch Bow Halter Slim Mini Dress


Ooze elegance in an Eighties-inspired mini dress. This pastel-hued garment comes complete with a sweet halterneck and petite bow detailing. Pair with a delicate evening bag and kitten heels.

Buy now£165, Anthropologie

River Island Black Satin Corsage Bodycon Midi Dress

River Island

Tap into the ongoing penchant for corsage detailing with River Island’s affordable slip number. The piece bares the shoulders and skims the ankles, so it's worth cracking out the hydrating body oil to ensure the skin on show is perfection.

Buy now£30, River Island

Nicholas Ana Satin Halterneck Maxi Dress


Ooze sartorial mysytique in Nicholas’ Ana Satin Halterneck Maxi Dress. The rich teal garment is cut from sumptuous satin and features a sleek halterneck with on-trend corsage detailing. Pair with some metallic heels for a siren-esque aesthetic.

Buy now£355, The Outnet

Rixo Cerise Midi Dress Plus


Navy is a failsafe tone to take you into the early hours. Shimmer under the lights in Rixo’s Cerise gown, available to buy in sizes 6-26 in a range of prints and colourways.

Buy now£345, Rixo

French Connection Echo Organza Mix Frill Strapless Midi Dress

French Connection

Emerge from a plume of organza ruffles in French Connection’s Echo Midi Dress. A hip-hugging number with a splash of frilled drama, the operatic piece will never fail out of fashion.

Buy now£125, French Connection

Abadia Yara Paneled Hammered-Satin Gown


Take a leaf out of Amal Clooney’s style book and dazzle in the most beautiful shade of lemon yellow. Crafted from lustrous satin, this honied number features elegant detailing spanning long slides to sculptural seams.

Buy now£1085, Net-APorter