We have all ran into the issue of receiving an invitation with "Black Tie" or "Black Tie Optional," and are stuck wondering "What's does that mean?" So I will break down the lingo for you either as a guest or if you are bride and deciding on how formal you would like your wedding guests to dress for your big day!
Men Wear tuxedos, long black jackets with tails, white vests, and bow ties. Think: long gloves with formal, full-length ball gowns.
Men wear tuxedos, bow ties, and cummerbunds, and the women wear cocktail dresses or long gowns. You could wear a ball gown or a full A-line dress with beading and embroidery.
Black Tie Optional:
Men can wear a tuxedo or dark suit and tie. Women should wear long dresses, dressy suits, or a formal cocktail-length dresses. You can go with a simple ball gown or A-line or with an embellished sheath.
For evening, darker hues are apropos, but in the daytime, opt for lighter colors and fabrics. The men war suits and ties, and the women wear cocktail dresses or dressy skirts and tops. you should skip the ballgown. I typical think of "Sunday Best."
The men might wear seersucker suits or another light-material jacket with khakis. The women wear sundresses or skirts and tops. Light fabrics, like chiffon and cotton, are appropriate for your dress. This might be what you wear to a casual church service or a nice dinner out with your man.