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formal dress etiquette

(30 Posts)
dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 17:40:47

Help. Black tie gala dinner coming up for business awards. I have bought a dress which I like but am not a dressy person and am worried it is TOO formal for a dinner and awards. Its more like a ball gown, or what I imagine a ball gown to be. It's full length and the skirt is quite full. Am I going to look a tit if other women wear cocktail dresses?

dontcallmemam Sun 02-Feb-14 17:42:38

Gosh, it's a hard one. I think nowadays Ball gowns tend to be just for balls/ white tie. Mostly anything goes for black tie. Could you find out what other people are wearing?

CMOTDibbler Sun 02-Feb-14 17:44:01

I think it prob is too formal if full length and full skirted tbh. DH goes to a lot of business awards things and its trousers and a sparkly top or cocktail length dresses apparently. At the ones I've been to its def similar

HermioneWeasley Sun 02-Feb-14 17:44:20

IME at something billed as a "black tie gala dinner" about a third of women will be in the sort of thing you describe, another third in longer but less full dresses, and the other third in short dresses (some of which are wildly inappropriate)

Accessories make all the difference - something modern or interesting and you'll look fabulous. Matching earrings and necklace set from Accessorize and you run the risk of looking frumpy.

HyvaPaiva Sun 02-Feb-14 17:45:59

Your dress sounds more suited to white tie than black tie, I think. Do you want to give us a link to it? Then we can see your taste and search for a black tie equivalent.

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 17:54:05

Oh crap. Now I'm really worried.
I'll try and find a link. Its a satin material. The skirt isn't huge like a gown with loads of u derskirts, but it isnt clingy., if it helps, there will be a military presence and they will be wearing mess dress.
Dammit, I like the dress but I'm just not sure now. I'm not very good at this.

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 18:03:51


dontcallmemam Sun 02-Feb-14 18:04:34

Actually, the army dos I've been to have been very dressy. Mostly full length, so it might be just the thing.

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 18:05:12

Oops,that didn't work did it?

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 02-Feb-14 18:13:33

I think you will be fine with that. It isn't what I pictured when you said full-skirted, and the colour is very sophisticated.

I think you'll look lovely and you will also tend to look better in something you like and feel comfortable in.

The only thing is, if everyone else is in shorter dresses, you'll have to remind yourself to ignore it and remember you like how you look - people respond to that as much as anything else, so if you look nervous and are tugging at your dress or whatever, they will pick up on it. But if you walk into the room looking happy, you'll look as if you belong there.

Pollywallywinkles Sun 02-Feb-14 18:16:12

It looks lovely and I think you will be more than fine wearing it.

BoJolly Sun 02-Feb-14 18:19:57

What a beautiful dress. Such a lovely colour.

I think you will be fine wearing it to your awards evening.

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 18:22:07

Oh thank was the colour that I liked. It looks a little fuller when its on,but that's because I'm in it!!
Confidence is what I lack and I do have a simpler fallback dress, but I am sort of co-hostess so want to look and feel stunning!

notjustamummythankyou Sun 02-Feb-14 18:22:18

That is lovely! Gorgeous colour.

I used to go to a lot of black tie business do's, and anything goes really. I always used to go for a short cocktail dress, but I saw many ladies in long dresses too (and some even in office suits!).

Have a lovely evening!

notjustamummythankyou Sun 02-Feb-14 18:22:47

If you're co hostess you need to stand out. Its perfect.

HyvaPaiva Sun 02-Feb-14 18:23:39

Oh, it's lovely! It isn't a full skirt at all. When you said like a ballgown, this came to mind. Yours is perfectly fine for black tie.

notjustamummythankyou Sun 02-Feb-14 18:34:49

hyva - that's what I thought! Perhaps vintage Laura Ashley circa 1985 with a velvet bodice, taffeta skirt and a huuuuge bow at the back. grin

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 18:34:50

hyva lol at that dress. It feels "full" to me as I am a jeans and tshirt sort of gal.
Thank you all for your kind comments - you have given me a confidence boost.
My colleagues are wearing red. We will look like traffic lights.....

notjustamummythankyou Sun 02-Feb-14 18:38:19

I just noticed: you got the dress for a tenner??? Bargain!(Why don't I ever get bargains like that?)

BoJolly Sun 02-Feb-14 18:40:05

I know notjust, I couldn't believe the OP got such a bargain.

I don't go anywhere to wear a dress like that, but for that price I would just sit at home and admire it.


BoJolly Sun 02-Feb-14 18:42:37

This is what I had in mind when I read the OP.

notjustamummythankyou Sun 02-Feb-14 18:45:20

I bet the seller was spitting feathers, especially as the dress was bnwt. grin

dementedma Sun 02-Feb-14 18:47:11

[Grin] sorry for being misleading, the world of frocks is new to me!
Yes, I got it for a tenner and it has the tags still on. I love green and have some silver jewellery with peridots which I think will go well, nothing very fancy.
What should I do re shoes? I dont do heels really but am 5 7 anyway so an inch or two is enough (snigger)
Strappy? Court shoe?
Sheesh, I need a dresser don't I?
Will the dress clash with my purple spiky hair?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sun 02-Feb-14 18:47:27

It's beautiful envy

BoJolly Sun 02-Feb-14 18:47:52

I always wonder what the story is behind those sales. Did the seller chicken out of going to a do? Did she get stood up?

I obviously have too much time on my hands!

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