Only nine days till Christmas and the formal events will be coming your way sooner rather than later. But what to wear to wich party? Longdress or cocktail? High-heels or not? Tux or tails? Tie or bow-tie?
When you're attending an gala event, it's important to do your research: What kind of gala? Who's coming? What's the dresscode? What's everybody else wearing? You don't want to be overdressed, but you certainly should avoid being underdressed!
At an official Gala (like a debutante ball) the men ought to wear tails. A black jacket with long tails at the back. It's very important to know the difference between a tailcoat (left picture) and a morning tailcoat (also called Shadbelly on the right picture). The cut of the morning coat is less sharp and therefor it's only appropriate to wear such a coat at daytime. Both should be worn with trousers in the same shade or color as the coat's. A tailcoat is especially for very formal occasions and is only worn when the invitation says "White tie". You'll have to wear a white tie with your tailcoat. People will see the diffrence between the guests and the waiters, since the waiters will be wearing black ties.
It's appropriate for women to attend a very formal gala in a long dress. Below the ankle.
The perfect long dress is very hard to find. It has to be perfect for your body type. These longdresses are quite heavy and they will emphasize all al your curves (including the ones we'd rather not show in public). Your dress also shouldn't be too long. After all you're not getting married. A simple gown must be enough. Dark colors are always good since they're very slimming and try to avoid shiny fabrics. But keep in mind when the invitation says "White tie": You'll have to go in a white dress.
For the less traditional occasions, the man should be wearing a tuxuedo. A black blazer (colored lapels are optional), black trousers and a white blouse. The blouse has to have black buttons and the model and cut of the jacket can be different all the time. Single button, two buttons above each other, or this season's favorite: Double breasted (two rows of buttons next to each other) How informal an gala may be, never ever even think of wearing jeans to a gala. If you don't like blazers,go opting for a vest. Keep in mind that vests aren't very slimming and they certainly will make you look bigger than you actually are. If you're trying to be very rebellious you could always try wearing no jacket or vest at all, but don't be surprised by the evil glances coming your way.
Now for the women attending a less-formal gala: Go for the cocktaildress, the shorter (around knee-length) classy dress. Available in all sorts and sizes. You can go as wild as you'd like but make sure it fit's or body type! That's all I have to say.
Next: the shoes. For men it's easy, just find yourself a nice pair of dress-shoes. A nice pair of pointy black shoes. By some quality ones, so you'll be able to enjoy them for the rest of your life.
For women: High-heels or flats. I would definitely say High-heels. I hate flats, and high-heels will finish the entire look. Of course, I'm a dude, so I won't have to walk around in those high poles all the time. Who am I to judge but I've heard many women crying over the pain they're going through wearing stiletto's. But I'll assure you the pain will pay of in beauty at the end. It's your choice. Of course you could also bring an extra pair of flats in your purse. No one will notice you switching your shoes at the end of the night, and it's always better than going bare foot.
At last, the eternal battle: Tie or Bow-tie
In the end, it doesn't matter. It's all about personal taste. In my opinion a plain tie always has that "back to the office" look. I think a bow-tie is a bit more playful. Much better for a party if you ask mee. But (!!!!) when you are wearing a corsage on your chest, never ever ever go for the bow tie! Your torso will be way to crowded, your conversation-partner won't know were to look with all those clowny-decrations. It's always important to focus on 1 point. Tie or Bow-tie, do what makes you feel best. As long as you know how to tie them...