May 23, 2012

What to Wear to a Black Tie Optional Wedding

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a black tie optional wedding in Virginia. It’s one of the toughest dress code. Cocktail attire makes sense. You wear a cocktail dress… like this. But black tie optional? That can mean a gown or a fancy shorter dress depending on the location.

To be safe, I went with a simple gown, borrowed from BCBG. To make it a little more casual, I played with color by adding a matching clutch and contrasting necklace.

If you go long, avoid bling and opt for understated fabrics like jersey. The opposite applies if you go short. Look for fancier materials, like satin or sequins. And dress it up with statement jewelry and metallic heels. A high low hemline is also a great medium. And the same rules apply as for every wedding: no white!

Here are some options I found online:
1. BCBGMaxAzria, $328
2. Twobirds, $310 (wear it two ways!)
3. Maggy London, $148
4. Lauren by Ralph Lauren, $198
5. T by Tadashi, $158
6. JS Collections, $248
7. Vera Wang, $495
8. T by Tadashi, $138

Keep reading for detail shots on my black tie optional wedding look!

BCBGMaxAzria dress, lia sophia necklace, Lauren Merkin clutch, Charlotte Russe shoes

Leave a Comment


  1. Julie commented:

    Sydne! Love the blue and orange combo! I have an ask Sydne question. Is it a faux pas to wear black to a wedding? I’m thinking its ok in NYC but I’m headed also to VA for a wedding this weekend and I’m not sure! <3

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  2. Sydne commented:

    Julie, it’s definitely not a faux pas for a nighttime wedding. There were plenty of people wearing black at the wedding I went to in VA. I prefer to go for something softer but black is perfectly acceptable!

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