Vintage Wedding

The 22 Best Black-Tie Wedding Guest Dresses: Dress Code Approved

Basically, 2022 is the year of the postponed wedding. Ask anybody over the age of 26 and they’ll likely tell you they’ve attended one every other week since January. And we hate to break it to you, but winter weddings are coming up in no time and cold-weather nuptials are more likely to be black tie. While dressing for a black-tie wedding seems more formulaic than most with floor-length gowns and pumps, it’s fun to get a little more creative. When else do you have an excuse to dress up like a red-carpet celebrity after all?

Although it’s a fun thought, dressing like a gala-going Hollywood star is also significantly daunting. So… where exactly should you start? Consider the setting, New York City–based stylist Alexis Badiyi says. “The time of year, weather, and location can determine everything,” she adds, mentioning that the best black-tie wedding guest dress doesn’t need to be a dress at all. “A gorgeous tuxedo works, too, and there’s room to play with hair, makeup, and jewelry.”

You can also phone a friend. Los Angeles–based stylist Patricia Lagmay thinks the best way to find something to wear for more formal events is to crowdsource. “Most of us attend very few events that call for a black-tie dress, and it’s always a shame when we buy something for a specific occasion only to never wear it again,” she says. “Closet sharing is a great solution for that. It’s more economical and much less wasteful too.” But if you want something unlike anything your friends have ever seen, Badiyi proposes looking for one-of-a-kind archival vintage pieces from resale sites like The RealReal, 1stDibs, and Desert Vintage.

One thing to keep in mind, though, Lagmay says, is length. “It’s the easiest way to tick the black-tie box,” she says. “Often, a simple and striking dress will do the trick, as long as it hits the ground or comes close.” Ahead, the best black-tie wedding guest dresses with all the glitz and glamor of a full-blown red-carpet affair, long floor-grazing trains included.