Would you wear a cocktail dress to a black-tie event?
Long gone are the days when to be fashionable meant you had to follow the herd. The term black tie was coined in a conservative era when expression through dress was strongly dictated by rigid rules and expectations. That’s so 19th century. Today, with the evolution of society, the way you dress has become a strong form of selfexpression, particularly for women.
Yes, black tie certainly denotes an occasion is formal and that a high degree of respect is due to the event and its host. But true glamour, which after all is what black tie is about, is no longer the sole domain of long gowns. It’s about having confidence in your dress sense while paying due respect to the formality of the occasion. A chic short lace cocktail dress worn with stunning diamonds, great legs and a 100W smile pays your host respect without compromising your individual style.
Long or short, cocktail or sari, if you dress with class and confidence, you will be true to yourself and your host—and that’s what modern-day fashion is all about. The perfect black-tie event can easily and respectfully be rocked in the ultimate cocktail dress. TANIA MOHAN IS THE OWNER OF INDIA-INSPIRED CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES BRAND TABLA Just because your Zuhair Murad cocktail dress cost HK$888,888 doesn’t make it acceptable black-tie attire, nor does the HK$120,000 price tag for your limited-edition jeans allow you to get away with, “Yes, I know they’re denim, but they cost…” All too often guests forget what is appropriate for a blacktie event and concentrate on the price of a garment or the wow factor.
I’m not sure exactly when “black tie/ formal” became “cocktail/no tie”, but when attending grand events where society, culture and performance are at play, full-length gowns and black tie are de rigueur; it’s an important tradition to show respect to the host as well as yourself. Seasoned society guests think about the purpose of the event, the environment and the dress code and outfit themselves appropriately. Furthermore, it’s from these glamorous black-tie affairs that fashion takes its cues.
We must reignite glamour and formality in society when the host calls for it. If they wanted cocktail dresses rather than formal gowns, they would have specified that on the invitation. I hope to see everyone dressed to the nines at the next black-tie extravaganza. SHARIE ROSS-TSE IS A MEMBER OF THE BALLET GUILD AND THE BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL