Dress Code | What To Wear To A Black and White Affair

From silhouette to styling and beyond.

As event season approaches, so, too, do the invitations with a plethora of dress codes to decipher. From ‘beach formal’ to ‘black tie’, there are myriad common dress codes that come with an unspoken understanding of what constitutes suitable attire.

 

Conversely, there are also non-traditional variations where the requirements are not always explicitly obvious, including ‘black and white’.

 

Despite the moniker, the rules of a black and white dress code go surprisingly beyond simply wearing its namesake colours. From fabric and finish to hemline heights and jewellery hues, there are multiple factors to consider when selecting the perfect monochrome outfit for your event.

 

To learn more, continue reading for The Aje Report’s guide on what to wear to a black and white affair.


What is a Black and White Dress Code?

The requirements of the black and white dress code are not always, if you will, entirely ’black and white’. Somewhat on the unconventional side—unlike its ‘cocktail’ or ‘white tie’ counterparts—the black and white dress code is one that is typically assigned to semiformal and formal events. As the name suggests, guests are expected to dress exclusively in monochromatic hues from head to toe.

 

Depending on the event location, time of day and level of formality, outfit specifics are subject to variation. If unsure of the details, there is one golden rule that will always serve you well: it is perennially preferable to be overdressed than underdressed. In short, when in doubt, veer towards the more formal and understated end of the spectrum, favouring elegant tailoring, elevated accessories and polished grooming. As it is a classic colour combination, there is often room to experiment with silhouette, cut, texture and contrast to create a memorable ensemble.

 

Below, The Aje Report’s edit of effortless ensembles for a black and white dress code, broken down by style.


The Mini Dress

When it comes to the black and white dress code, the mini dress should always be reserved for daytime events. If the level of formality is unclear, be sure to err on the conservative side by steering clear of cut outs and colourful embellishments. Instead, opt for long sleeves, buoyant hems and tonal, tiered ruffles for a chic take on monochrome dressing.


The Cocktail Dress

Cocktail events that call for a black and white dress code typically balance a formal yet relaxed sensibility that can take form in a variety of silhouettes. Perfect for events spanning from daytime garden parties to evening drinks, lean towards sophisticated mini and midi dresses in fluid silks and layers of organza, paired with understated accessories. For a striking effect, choose a sophisticated cocktail dress in a crisp white or deep noir and contrast your accessories with the opposing colour.


The Midi Dress

For a more formal black and white occasion, look to midi dresses with below-the-knee to ankle-grazing hemlines, puff sleeves and intricate details, such as lacing, pintucking and tonal embellishments. If congregating outdoors, pair it with a chic hat and grass-proof heels. When it comes to evening occasions, wear your midi dress with a tonal clutch and dainty jewellery in classic gold or silver tones.


The Monochromatic Set

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Chic sets in black and white can be worn as tonal outfits or mixed and matched for a fashion-forward, monochromatic look. Turn to cropped bodices, billowing blouses, flowing midi skirts and high-waisted trousers paired together to master the brief. No matter whether it is day or night, play with proportions, textures and styles to create an outfit that is sure to turn heads.


The Gown

Colour palette aside, when invited to formal events with a black or white tie dress code, a floor-length gown is an unspoken must. Whether in black or white, block-colour gowns make for an effortless formal outfit at the forefront of elegance. Accessorise with strappy heels, a clutch bag and delicate jewellery to allow the dress to shine.


The Shoes

No matter the event or dress code, black and white shoes will pair back with almost any outfit. Think jewelled sandals for daytime soirées, mules for garden party dressing and high heels for formal occasions.


The Accessories

No monochrome event outfit is complete without matching accessories. Find black and white clutches, sunglasses, footwear and jewellery to subtly perfect your ensemble. Fit for any occasion, invest in artisanal accessories made to stand the test of time.


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