Understanding Different Types of Evening Dresses and Appropriate Wear
In the strictest sense, evening dresses are formal wear that are often worn for white tie occasions, which is the most formal of all dress codes. Although this is the strict definition of an evening dress, these dresses are also worn at other formal occasions such as black tie and morning dress events.
In general, there are three categories of evening dresses that a woman may choose from. These categories are the ballgown, the evening gown, and the cocktail dress. As the fashion world expands and changes, the differences between these types of evening dresses sometimes becomes a bit blurred.
Traditionally, cocktail dresses are shorter than evening gowns and should be reserved for the less formal of formal occasions. Evening gowns are longer and are appropriate for a more formal occasion, while a ball gown is long and full and to be worn for white tie occasions.
Getting prepared for a white tie occasion, however, requires more than just knowing the differences among types of evening dresses. Other accessories that the rules of etiquette call for wearing along with ball gowns include formal pumps, ballet slippers, or evening sandals. Women are also expected to wear earrings and a necklace, while bracelets and rings are optional. Watches are not considered to be appropriate unless their faces are jeweled to make them look like bracelets.
Gloves are also option for a white tie occasion, though they should be opera length if they are worn. In addition, a s cape, stole, opera coat, or cloak should be worn and the woman should carry a small evening bag or clutch style bag. If “state decoration” is specified on the invitation for the event, married women should also wear tiaras.
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