The Proper Shoes for a Black Tie Affair

Choose the formal shoe style and materials that best complement your black tie outfit.
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Black tie affairs require that you to dress to impress -- an objective that extends right down to your shoe choice. Although women have more shoe options than men, everyone looks for the same features in formal footwear: fashionable, functional and comfortable.

1 Men's Formal Shoes

Court shoes and oxfords are heeled men's styles made of patent leather. The court shoe is the dressier of the two options and these shoes may be adorned with silk bows or leather tassels. Choose this distinguished glossy slip-on style when you wear a tuxedo. The oxford, a lace-up shoe, is more appropriate for "black tie optional" and "creative black tie" affairs, as well as festive events such as black tie holiday parties or formal work functions. Although wearing oxfords with a tux is not unheard of, this style also looks sharp with a conservative suit.

2 Women's Formal Shoes

Women have more options when it comes to black-tie footwear. Closed-toe pumps and open peep-toe heels in luxe fabrics or patent leather are appropriate. Both styles accommodate the length of a full evening gown and come in a number of colors, finishes and heel heights. Slingbacks are appropriate footwear choices for black tie daytime and/or outdoor occasions. For more contemporary black tie affairs, women can also wear ankle-high booties with a cute cocktail dress. If you expect to be on your feet for a long period of time or decide to hit the dance floor, dressy leather flats are acceptable at formal events.

Diane Bautista has more than seven years of professional experience writing for a variety of industries including fashion retail, communications technology and nonprofit. She currently works as an advertising copywriter and holds a B.A. in English from Washington State University.