What is Creative Black Tie?

Behind the Design

black and white fabricblack and white fabric

When an invitation arrives inviting you to attend a special event dressed in creative black tie attire, you may be wondering what that means. While classic black tie is a familiar dress code, creative black tie offers a unique take on the traditional style. Our fashion experts at St. John can help clarify the creative black tie dress code with tips and tricks to craft the perfect ensemble for your next creative black tie event.

The Rules of Classic Black Tie

Traditional black tie attire is worn at elegant formal events, often those hosted in the evening. For women, this calls for a floor length gown, a long cocktail dress, or a set of dressy separates. For the most formal black tie events, longer dresses tend to be the most elevated choice.

Breaking the Rules

In essence, creative black tie is black tie that breaks the rules. If black tie is a structured look, then creative black tie is the opportunity to break out of the box. It's the chance to embrace the foundation of formal attire while exploring your own unique style. Play with trendy prints, bold colors, and statement accessories for dressed up style that's a little more open and free than traditional looks.

sequin neckline on black dresssequin neckline on black dress

How to Style Creative Black Tie Looks

When you're crafting a creative black tie ensemble, begin with a classic black tie foundation. The look is still quite formal, so stay within the cuts and styles of traditional attire. A long evening gown or cocktail dress creates a dressed-up silhouette, while an elegant print, rich texture, or glittering fabric keeps the look feeling playful. 

Another way to add a creative element to black tie style is to explore your accessories. This is the perfect opportunity to incorporate the latest trends – a bright shoe, sequined clutch, or statement necklace breaks out of the traditional box without making your outfit feel casual or overdone. 

Tips and Inspiration for Creative Black Tie

Still looking for the perfect finishing touch? Explore a few simple tricks to take your ensemble from classic to creative:

Try new textures: A traditional cocktail dress takes on new life with a sleek velvet accent, while an elegant sequin gown offers the classic black tie silhouette with style-defining shine.

Play with print: Bold animal prints offer the perfect opportunity for creative elegance. A zebra knit gown blends the traditional long cut of black tie with a unique pattern that sets your style apart.

Accessorize your style: Looking for a subtler way to share your creative side? Accessories offer a unique way to accent an otherwise traditional look. Put a fresh twist on a classic black tie gown and heels with a vibrant clutch or bold jewelry.  

Draw every eye in the room with elegantly crafted ensembles for creative black tie events. Explore evening couture with subtle sparkle, playful prints, and defining color for special occasion looks that perfectly blend formal and unique style.