What to Wear to a Gala


Whether the invitation is for a charity event, fundraiser or auction, you were fortunate enough to get an invite to an upcoming formal gala. Cheers to you! Attending such an event could very well be the highlight of the year. But what should you wear to a gala dinner? Is it a black-tie event, black tie optional or semiformal? What shoes and accessories should go with the dress to make you stand out from the crowd? No need to fret we have just the advice to help you impress everyone the moment you walk through the door.

What Dress to Wear

Before picking out a dress, find out the dress code. The invitation should say whether it is a black tie gala, black tie optional or semiformal event. If the invitation doesn't give you any clues, give the host or another invitee a ring to gather the gala details. Here's an easy guide to formal dress traditions:


Black Tie Gala: A black tie event is a dressier affair where men wear tuxedos or formal suits. Women should wear long formal gowns. Rich bold colors for dresses work for this as the Short Sleeve Beaded Blouson Gown embodies elegance and luxury. If you desire for something with a bit more sparkle, the Scoop Back Sequin Gown allows you to complement your date's attire without overpowering it. Shop our curated black-tie dress collection here.


Black-Tie Optional Gala: If the invitation says black tie optional gala, this is a less dressy event where a tuxedo is optional for men as they can opt for a dark suit with a black tie. Women can still wear formal evening gowns or a dressy cocktail dress if they so desire. You may consider the One Shoulder Flutter Jumpsuit to make a great impression.


Semiformal Gala: A semiformal affair usually involves a party with a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. Men can wear a nice business suit while the ladies can be a bit more at ease with a cute cocktail dress or midi dress. Floral prints and multiple colors are welcome. The Beaded Cocktail Dress is the perfect styling for a semi-formal or cocktail attire event. Shop our complete curated cocktail dress collection here.


What Shoes to Wear

Shoes are the item that can bring your look together with options that will dress your look up or down. Sparkling peep-toe heels are an easy go-to as you can select a color that matches your outfit; go black or neutral to let your dress do the talking. Consider the Jamie Peep Toe Pump for formal black-tie galas when you want to make a shining impression. You also can never go wrong with straps, as the Halton Sling Back Heel works well for both black-tie and black-tie optional gowns.


How to Accessorize for a Gala

Never pass up the opportunity to accessorize. Since you are trying to decide on what to wear to a gala dinner, always think about the weather and the amount of time you may be out in the cold. Consider a shawl or wrap for bare shoulders to keep you warm without detracting from your evening gown or being too bulky and cumbersome. Shop Adrianna Papell Jackets and Wraps here. 


When selecting jewelry for gala dresses, always take into consideration the type of neckline which is on the dress. Off the shoulder, strapless and V-neck dresses pair well with a short necklace or choker, while you can go long and extravagant with your necklace for boat necklines. Less is more when it comes to jewelry, so don't go overboard. Two pieces will suffice, such as a necklace or bracelet with earrings. Go for muted jewelry colors for dresses that have splashy and multi-colored designs, and sparkly and shimmery jewelry for dresses that are more monochrome and neutral. Shop Adrianna Papell Fashion Jewelry Here. 


When you walk into the gala, put your best-dressed foot forward and wow the other guests with your red carpet ensemble. Follow these style tips and your look is bound to be memorable.