What Do You Wear at a White-Tie Gala?

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When invited to a white-tie gala, prepare to step into a fantastic world of tuxedos, tiaras, gowns and satin gloves. Bringing with them the highest level of formal wear, white-tie events have specific and sometimes intimidating dress requirements. With an understanding of white-gala attire, you can relax and delight your host by debonairly debuting an appropriately fashionable ensemble.

Transforming Tuxedos

Gentlemen can swap their everyday shirts and trousers for iconically classic tuxedos when dressing for a white-tie gala. Required wardrobe for men includes a tuxedo with a black tailcoat, and trousers that have a satin stripe running down the outside leg seam. A freshly pressed, wing-collared, white dress shirt with a white vest and a white tie or bow tie should be worn beneath the tux jacket. Black dress socks and shiny, patent-leather, black dress shoes are essential. White-tie accessories for men include opaque mother-of-pearl cuff links and white satin gloves to complete the look.

Elegant Evening Gowns

For women, a white-tie gala introduces the often-rare opportunity to wear full-length evening gowns. Ladies need to exercise taste and sophistication when choosing their fabulous frocks. Pick a dress style that works with your figure and has movement in the fabric -- wearing a gown that is too tight is not white-tie appropriate and will cheapen your look. While you can choose a gown color on a seasonal basis -- such as a harvest-orange color in fall -- rich jewel tones as well as classic neutrals are also wonderful choices. For example, bring a regal sense to your white-tie gala look by wearing a deep-plum evening gown in a sumptuous satin fabric.

Sophisticated Shoes

Step into a white-tie gala with style by slipping on appropriate shoes. Black, patent-leather dress shoes are customary for men, but women have a variety of shoe options. With full evening gowns being the required fashion choice, high-heeled pumps or stilettos are the best shoe options. Patterned pumps are appropriate for creative black-tie or semi-formal looks, but the white-tie event calls for a solid-colored shoe. Both pumps and stilettos can feature tasteful embellishments such as faux-diamond and jewel accents, and avoid plastic or cheap-looking shoes to maintain the integrity of your look.

Amazing Accessories

Take your white-tie look from stylish to stunning with elegant accessories. Small, handheld clutch purses are the appropriate choice -- choose a clutch that either matches your dress color or is a showcase piece, such as a jewel-encrusted, metallic clutch. Diamond -- faux or real -- tiara headbands and hair barrettes can add extra sparkle and sophistication to your tresses. Flowers can also be worn in the hair for added romance and whimsy for a white-tie gala. Coordinate hair blooms with your gentleman partner by having him wear a corsage of the same flower on the lapel of his tuxedo jacket.

Magnificant Makeup and Hallowed Hair

With white-tie attire being held to the utmost standards of style and decorum, makeup and hair are essential components of this dress code. Men's facial and head hair should be washed, conditioned and groomed. Men's longer hair should be tamed -- either slicked back or pulled into a low ponytail -- and short hair can be coiffed, but not overly done. Both men and women should have clean, conservatively manicured hands and nails, and ladies' polish choices should be nude or subtly complementary of the gown color.

A classically beautiful makeup look is the only thing that will do for a white-tie gala. The key to this makeup style is simplicity. Set a lovely foundation with powder and apply traces of glowing blush to the apples of the cheeks. Eyeliner, neutral-hued eyeshadow and mascara are appropriate to make your peepers pop. For the formalness of white tie, a berry-red lip color adds sophistication. Makeup should be a compliment and not detract from your entire look, so keep it simple and sweet to let your gown take charge.

Hair needs to follow the same notion -- whether getting it done or doing it yourself, a simple yet chic updo is essential for a white-tie gala, and adds to to the sophistication of your overall look. A side-swept chignon bun is timelessly perfect for a formal look. Add romance with curly updo styles by twisting and pinning curls into place for a whimsical look. With the nearly overwhelming elegance of your ensemble, use your makeup and hair to balance the tone of your overall look and keep you on point to be a style sensation.