23 Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses That Are Très Chic

Any excuse to get dressed up sounds good to us

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editors pick black tie wedding guest dresses
Dasha Burobina for PureWow

Dressing up for a black tie wedding can be a ton of fun. It's a chance to put on your finest jewels and a lavish, floor-length gown for a memorable evening at a stunning venue. And black tie wedding guest dresses are easier to shop for than you might think. Whether you're looking for a black one-shoulder gown you can wear repeatedly from Lulus or you prefer a unique silhouette from Anthropologie, many retailers have a formal dress section, or even a black tie wedding specific section to browse.

The Best Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses at A Glance

Meet the Expert

Claire Asher is a the fashion product director at Boohoo, a fashion website known for affordable, trendy styles including clothing, accessories, shoes and more.

What Counts As a Black Tie Wedding?

A black tie wedding is going to be more upscale (read: very fancy) compared to most other themes. This means following in the footsteps of the bride and groom's attire of formal wear (usually tuxedos and gowns). TL;DR: This is not the time to underdress.

What to Wear to a Black Tie Wedding

Opt for a formal look that's in line with the theme of the event. "Guests to a black tie wedding should always opt for floor-length gowns, and if that's not your style, you can go for a slightly shorter midi-length dress or even a classy suit," says fashion product director at Boohoo Claire Asher. Don't feel beholden to just a few styles, as there are a lot of options out there, whether you prefer to dress up a simple gown with jewelry and extravagant heels, or you want to go with a fun pick with fewer accessories. "Experiment with [a few different silhouettes] to see which [ones work for] your body type and which ones you find the most comfortable and can [move] in," says Asher.

Is It Appropriate to Wear Black to a Black Tie Wedding?

In short, yes. Back in the day, it was considered a faux pas to wear black to weddings in general, as the color evoked a somber vibe. However, we've since evolved to consider black as another favorite shade many since it's flattering and complements all skin tones. "Black dresses are classy and look good on everyone, which is why those who attend black tie events probably have a few gorgeous black gowns on rotation, which are the perfect go-to," mentions Asher.

How We Chose the Best Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses

While black tie wedding themes are less common these days, a few of our editors shared the dresses they've worn over and over to these types of events in the past. We also looked into best sellers at top retailers to select dresses that are timeless and will stay in good shape for many years to come.

1. BHLDN A-Line Gown

Best A-Line Dress

  • What We Like: flutter sleeves, empire waist
  • What We Don't Like: neckline may be too deep for some tastes
  • Size Range: 0 to 16

The timeless silhouette and stunning satin material will have you wearing this dress year after year. It comes in many different colors, although we recommend grabbing one in a bold jewel tone like this emerald, so it transitions nicely from season to season. The dress is also available in standard and plus sizes.

2. Eliza J Embellished Dress

Nicest High-Low Dress

  • What We Like: high-low hem, waist embellishment
  • What We Don't Like: only available in navy
  • Size Range: 2 to 18

Chiffon is a go-to fabric for weddings in all seasons because of its elegant look and lightweight feel. We love the standard V-neck, A-line silhouette of this pick that's made more unique with a high-low skirt hem. And of course, the waist embellishment adds a little bling.

3. Norma Kamali Diana Gown

Best Ruched Midi

  • What We Like: full body ruching, one-shoulder
  • What We Don't Like: material is a little thick
  • Size Range: XXS to XL

This dress has been a popular wedding pick for a few years now. The material is durable and easy to wear, and the ruching is surprisingly flattering on all body shapes. The body-contouring shape and thicker material will keep you feeling supported throughout the night, too.

4. Sachin & Babi Carissa Dress

Best Halter Pick

  • What We Like: floral print, cupcake-shaped skirt
  • What We Don't Like: sides may fall a little low for larger chest sizes
  • Size Range: 0 to 14

If you have expensive taste, we can't blame you. Luckily, this pricey number is made to last so you'll get plenty of bang for your buck. The color palette is ideal for a spring or summer wedding, and if you're looking for a more modest neckline, this is the dress for you. Plus, the halter keeps the back open for a nice balance overall.

5. Boohoo One-Shoulder Maxi

Fashion Expert Top Pick

  • What We Like: draped midsection, one-shoulder
  • What We Don't Like: slit may be too high for some tastes
  • Size Range: 4 to 14

A twist on a standard one-shoulder silhouette, this dress has some draping at the waist and a structured sweetheart neckline underneath the added fabric. It also features a sexy, high slit and some flattering side ruching.

6. Lulus Good Times Only Maxi

Most Timeless Pick

  • What We Like: one shoulder, high slit
  • What We Don't Like: can fit a little too snug
  • Size Range: XXS to XL

This style is a sleek, sexy choice that can be worn to many events including that upcoming black tie wedding. “It’s the perfect black maxi that lets me have fun with accessories like a colorful shoe, which changes up the look. Best of all, it’s super comfortable,” reports senior audience development strategist Mary Rogers.

7. Azazie Forever Lovable Maxi

Best Embroidered Dress

  • What We Like: floral embroidery, illusion neckline coverage
  • What We Don't Like: not washable
  • Size Range: XS to 3XL

Want something a bit more fun? This dress is covered in gorgeous floral embroidery to stun for spring or summer events. The back and neckline are cut into a deep V, while the front has a few inches of sheer fabric added to keep your chest more covered.

8. Dessy Convertible Chiffon Gown

Best Off-the-Shoulder Dress

  • What We Like: chiffon sleeves, sweetheart neckline
  • What We Don't Like: runs small
  • Size Range: 0 t0 18

Billowy, off-the-shoulder sleeves are great if you like a whimsical look. The chiffon fabric on this dress is lightweight and great for twirlingplus, the high slit will make dancing easy (and breezy) all night long.

9. Ronny Kobo Nann Dress

Best Long Sleeve Maxi

  • What We Like: cuffed sleeves, flowy skirt
  • What We Don't Like: neckline may be too deep
  • Size Range: 0 to 16

This long sleeve dress is a beautiful choice for a black tie wedding or any formal event. It features a deep V-neck and high slit for a sexy look that's still comfortable thanks to the flowy skirt.

10. Azazie Sweetheart Satin Maxi

Best Corset Style

  • Why We Like It: corset bodice, open back
  • What We Don't Like: might show too much skin for some tastes
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Trendy picks are especially great when they have an affordable price tag like this one. With an adjustable back to tighten the bodice and a skirt that skims your body to enhance your shape, this dress is one of our favorites of the moment. "I got this on the fly for a black tie wedding and got so many compliments since it has a unique look. It was definitely outside of my comfort zone since I usually opt for more classic pieces, but the corset bodice and open back sold me" mentions commerce editor Olivia Dubyak.

11. Tadashi Shoji Evening Gown

Best Draped Gown

  • What We Like: draped one shoulder, high slit
  • What We Don't Like: might fit bulky around the bodice
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Draping is so much fun, and this bold blue hue is a spring and summer favorite. The twist waist is so chic and there’s even a hidden back zipper.

lulus infinite glory

12. Lulus Infinite Glory Dress

Best Mermaid Dress

  • What We Like: mermaid fit, adjustable straps
  • What We Don't Like: tight fit
  • Size Range: 0 to 10

You can’t go wrong with a simple, black, mermaid dress for a black tie affair. This one has a scoop back and the straps are easily adjustable.

13. Retrofête Ophelia Dress

Best Mini Dress

  • What We Like: boat neckline, bell sleeves
  • What We Don't Like: short silhouette
  • Size Range: 0 to 10

While short dresses are not ideal for black tie affairs, if you must wear a mini, this one is a great choice. We have to admit, we’re kind of obsessed with this wide neckline and bell sleeve combination. The sleek and romantic style would look just about perfect with a pair of gold pumps and some beautiful jewels, too.

14. Shona Joy La Lune Cowl Maxi Dress

Best Cowl Neck Dress

  • What We Like: cowl neckline, high slit
  • What We Don't Like: not much chest support
  • Size Range: 0 to 10

The Grecian flare of a cowl neck will most likely never go out of style. This maxi dress is a great choice to rewear to another wedding, and the color is lovely for spring and summer.

15. Solace London X Revolve Petch Maxi Dress

Best Open Back Dress

  • What We Like: one shoulder, open back
  • What We Don't Like: not much support
  • Size Range: 0 to 10

The conservative neckline contrasts beautifully with the open back on this number, and a bold pair of earrings are the perfect finishing touch. It has a high slit to show off your legs and the fitted silhouette is sure to accentuate your curves.

lulus tulle

16. Lulus Rare Beauty Maxi Dress

Best Tulle Dress

  • What We Like: tulle overlay, two side slits
  • What We Don't Like: may be too much skin showing for some people
  • Size Range: XXS to 3XL

Oh hello, hot stuff. The straps cross in the back and are adjustable, plus there are two high slits on the underlining for an extra bit of flare. The deep neckline is sexy, but if you have a larger chest it may be too open so you may not have much support.

Size range XXS to 3X

susanna cutouts

17. Susana Monaco Tube Dress

Best Cut-Out Dress

  • What We Like: side cut-outs, open back
  • What We Don't Like: may look too short on taller frames
  • Size Range: XS to XL

To wear cut-outs without scandalizing poor Aunt Judy, you need to go subtle. This gown has two small side cutouts around the ribcage that open to the midback and show just a hint of skin.

18. Abercrombie & Fitch Emerson Dress

Best Ruched Bodice

  • What We Like: tube dress, comfortable silhouette
  • What We Don't Like: material needs to be dressed up
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Don’t want floor-length? This knee-length silhouette is sweet and feminine. The bodice is sleek and the fun skirt will twirl whimsically on the dance floor.

fame and partners
Fame and Partners

19. Fame And Partners Tassiah Jumpsuit

Best Jumpsuit

  • What We Like: ruffled sleeves, off-the-shoulder sleeves
  • What We Don't Like: material is thick
  • Size Range: customizable

This jumpsuit is one of our favorite choices on the list, from the chic puff sleeves and wide leg silhouette to the bronze satin material and off the shoulder neckline, this suit is incredibly stylish. The best part? You can submit your measurements, so the garment is tailored just for your body. Just make sure you order in time because shipping can take four to seven weeks.

Size range custom

show me your mumu1
Show Me Your Mumu

20. Show Me Your Mumu Jasmine Halter Mini Dress

Best LBD

  • What We Like: halter neckline, shift silhouette
  • What We Don't Like: runs slightly large
  • Size Range: XS to XXL

Haven’t you heard? Tradition is out the window, because wearing black to a wedding is totally allowed (unless the bride specifically asks you not to). This mini satin LBD has cross neck detail for a sleek and romantic look. Again, mini dresses aren't common at black tie weddings, so dress this look up with jewelry, heels and perhaps a sleek wrap.

lulus ruffled

21. Lulus In Love Forever Maxi Dress

Best Ruffled Dress

  • What We Like: ruffled hem, open back
  • What We Don't Like: neckline is low for large chest
  • Size Range: XS to XL

We will definitely be wearing this dress for more than just weddings. The wrap style and ruffled hems are perfect for summer, but work well into the fall too. Some reviewers note that if you have a larger bust, you may want to opt for a dress with a smidge more coverage.

so juicy

22. Katie May So Juicy Gown

Best High Slit Gown

  • What We Like: cowl neck, ruched skirt
  • What We Don't Like: thin material
  • Size Range: XS to XL

A high slit gown is best paired with a feminine detail like this extra draped fabric in the midsection. The cowl neckline is gorgeous, and did we mention the back is cowled as well?

lulus floral

23. Lulus Love And Beyond Floral Maxi Dress

Best Floral Dress

  • What We Like: floral print, flowy skirt
  • What We Don't Like: some reviewers mention it's too tight in the chest
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Believe it or not, you can wear floral prints to black tie weddings. The playful flower embroidery over the sheer chiffon brings a decided level of delicate elegance.

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Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to West Texas to Chicago to Northern Colorado since then experiencing new things to broaden her perspective as a writer. She writes across the board in fashion, beauty, wellness and home, focusing on product reviews and roundups that can elevate your everyday life. She's been writing in the commerce-sphere for nearly five years and loves trying new products, sharing her honest experiences to help you decide whether what you’re buying is worth it or not (yup, Augustinus Bader is a must-have).

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

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Commerce Editor

Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...