Knowing when to wear what to an event can be quite confusing. Between the words black tie, white tie, formal, and semi-formal, it is often difficult to distinguish between each of these terms. But despite how similar they may seem, each standard of dress has its own unique requirements. It is critical to decipher between these options in order to respect the wishes of the host or hostess.

White Tie Formal

This form of dress is generally known for being the dressiest standard for attire. For ladies, formal, floor length evening gowns are expected and are occasionally accompanied by long gloves. For gentlemen, the standard is a black tailcoat with matching trousers with a single stripe of satin worn with suspenders.  This is worn with a white piqué wing-collared shirt, a white vest, and white bow tie.  Other embellishments such as shirt studs or cuff links, white gloves, and black patent shoes are suggested.  Events that typically require White Tie dress may be formal, evening weddings, galas, or charity balls.

Black Tie Formal

Black Tie is also very formal but allows for more deviation. Ladies attending a Black Tie event will either dress in formal, floor length evening gowns or dressy cocktail dresses. Gentlemen must sport a black tuxedo with matching trousers accompanied by a formal white shirt. The other additions above are also included, with the exception of white gloves. Esteemed soirees such as business awards, state dinners, or weddings are often when black tie formal is the appropriate dress.


Characteristically, when one hears the term “formal” they are to assume that their attire can be slightly less formal than the standard set forth by a Black Tie Formal event. Conversely, this idea is primarily for the gentleman’s dress. The selection for a ladies’ attire remains between floor length evening gowns or cocktail dresses. Gentlemen, however, can deviate between a tuxedo, as stated prior, or a formal dark suit paired with a white shirt and a conservative tie.


Occasions that are less formal such as cocktail parties or holiday gatherings insinuate a less rigid dress code. Generally, ladies will wear short afternoon dresses, long skirts with a matching top, or dressy pants. Gentlemen often select dark colored business suits with a dress shirt and tie. Occasionally a matching vest is included and leather dress shoes.

The next time you receive an invitation to an event, refer back to this short tutorial on when to wear what to ensure that you are always dressed for success.



Shop PromGirl for the latest dress styles and hottest fashion trends for 2020. Discover top designer prom gowns, short semi-formal dresses, and unique print creations sure to make you picture-perfect for your next pageant, formal, or special occasion. Read more…

Illusion gowns and dresses are one of this year’s most popular looks. These designs let you show off a hint of skin while maintaining a super glamorous and sophisticated style. We have long formal dresses with illusion tops for prom or pageants and short illusion party dresses embellished with delicate lace or sparkling beaded accents in both sleek body conscious designs or with twirl ready fit and flare skirts.

Two-piece gowns and crop top dresses continue to rock the red carpet and create a youthful yet elegant vibe at this year’s homecoming events and proms, but for the girl looking for a fairy tale prom experience a princess ball gown will always be on trend.

Looking to show off your curves? We have daring open back gowns that will have heads turning and cute short cut out dresses for junior prom, semi formal dances, or wedding guests that are flirtatious and fun. Dainty lace gowns with sleeves and strapless cocktail dresses embellished with dazzling sequins, metallic fabrics, or dramatic beadwork that will give you a sensational spotlight-stealing look for any occasion you want to make special. Remember, no matter what the fashion magazines say, the right style for you is the one that makes you feel confident and look your best.

The 10 Best Cheap Prom Dress Stores

The 10 Best Cheap Prom Dress Stores


If you’re a teenager or the parent of a teenager, you’re well aware prom season is just around the corner.

In between the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the corsages, the limo, the dinner, and of course, the tickets, teens and their parents can easily drop close to a grand on this adolescent rite of passage. According to an annual survey by Visa, the average American household spent $919 on the big dance in 2015. While that number is actually down a bit from $978 in 2014, it’s a price tag that’s out of reach for many families.

So how can you help your teen feel like the belle of the ball without withdrawing all the money in her college fund? With the help of Brad’s Deals, of course! We’ve put together a list of little-known online stores that offer adorable dresses at affordable prices. With styles ranging from Morticia Adams goth to fairytale princess poof and everything in between, you’re sure to find a dream dress for less at one of these sites.

The Best Websites to Buy Cheap Prom Dresses



I’m a giant ASOS fangirl, so I wasn’t in the least bit surprised when I found their prom selection to be primo. As with everything ASOS, the prices can range from dirt cheap to “oh my God I think I need to pawn grandma’s necklace,” but their search tools make it easy to control for price and style, and ASOS also has a VERY wide range of sizes and brands available.

Nordstrom Rack


Nordstrom Rack is a fashion treasure trove just about any day, so it’s not all that surprising that we didn’t have to look too hard to find plenty of adorable prom-ready styles under $100.

Forever 21


Prom dresses might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Forever 21, but the fast fashion chain actually sells more than cheap summer dresses and graphic tees. Check out the formal dress section of their website and you will be blown away by just how many prom-worthy dresses they have for insane prices. I’m talking $25 and less for floor-length formal gowns that no one will EVER believe you bought at Forever 21. Are these the kinds of dresses that are going to last the ages? In a word, no. You probably won’t be passing these down to your granddaughter, but as you’re only going to wear this dress once, do you really need to invest in something super durable? I don’t think so.



Got a sophisticated fashion palate? Check out LastCall, the outlet-like offshoot of Neiman Marcus. You may need to do some digging to get past the more mumsy silhouettes, but we found plenty of trendy covet-worthy prom dresses to love.

Rent the Runway


Can’t stop dreaming of walking into the ball dressed in designer duds? Check out Rent the Runway, and rent a designer prom dress for a fraction of the retail cost. As I’ve said before, you’re not going to wear this dress again, so why not rent it for a night and send it back when you’re done? We’ve written before about why we love RTR so much, but if you’ve never taken a poke around their site, do it now! Your wallet will thank you and you friends will be green with envy.



If you thought Macy’s was out of your price range, think again. We found enough formal dresses under $100 to clothe your entire high school class.



Boohoo’s all about edgy style for the prom-goer on a budget. With dresses in their prom section for as little as $16, free shipping on orders over $50 AND a wide variety of plus-sized styles, it’s easy to find a unique and chic dress at Boohoo.



Lulu*s is perfect for a prom-goer who’s looking for a classic style that won’t make her prom pics look dated in a few years. With tons of styles under $100 and shoes and accessories to boot, Lulu*s is a great place to shop for prom 2018. Plus, all orders more than $50 ship for free, and returns are free, too!

Charlotte Russe


If your budget is extra tight, give Charlotte Russe a look. Many of the formal occasion dresses we saw were priced well under $50.



Modcloth is stuffed to the brim with adorable vintage-inspired styles, which makes it a great place to buy a quirky pinup-style prom dress that’s guaranteed to be great quality. Most of their dresses go for under $200, and as someone who’s purchased her fair share of ModCloth frocks in the past, I can attest to the fact that they’re usually true to size, and ALWAYS solid quality.

Did we miss your favorite place to shop for prom online? Let us know in the comments!

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