17 Stunning Outfits to Wear to a Gala in 2024

Gala events are some of the most glamorous occasions on the social calendar, and dressing for them can be both exciting and daunting. With so many different dress codes and styles to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

To help you navigate the world of gala dressing, I’ve put together a list of 17 outfits that are sure to turn heads. I would also be going over general etiquette to follow at a gala event.

Formal attire is required for this black tie event and I would be sharing some of the best looks to wear for a gala dinner.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.

17 Outfits to Wear to Gala events

1. Classic Black Gown: For a classic black-tie gala, opt for a sleek black gown with elegant jewelry and a pair of simple black heels. A special occasion calls for formal gowns and this is the perfect time to pull out a sleek black dress.

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2. Red Carpet Glam: Go all out with a show-stopping red carpet look, complete with a floor-length gown and sparkling accessories. Gala events are black-tie events which tend to have a formal dress code and so a long gown is appropriate attire to opt for.

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3. Ball Gown Beauty: Make a statement in a dramatic ball gown with a full skirt and intricate detailing. Black-tie dress code calls for formal evening wear and nothing says glamorous gala attire like a full-length gown. A ball gown also works for a white tie event.

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4. Chic Cocktail: For a more relaxed gala, choose a chic cocktail dress in a bright color or bold print. Cocktail dresses are a great option for a semi-formal event. Add a pair of high heels for a chic look and a small purse or crossbody bag.

During the colder months, add a pair of black tights and opt for a pair of heeled ankle boots.

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5. Jumpsuit Chic: A chic jumpsuit can be just as elegant as a gown, especially when paired with statement jewelry and heels. Most people think dresses when they think of a gala dress code but if dresses are not your thing, choose a sleek jumpsuit to attend this formal occasion.

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6. Lace Love: Embrace the romance of lace with a stunning lace gown or cocktail dress. If you do not wish to show much skin, opt for a lace dress with long sleeves. A midi dress is more appropriate for a charity event. Keep the short dresses for more casual occasions.

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7. Metallic Magic: Add a touch of sparkle to your gala look with a metallic gown or dress. You can create a full monochrome outfit by pairing your metallic outfit with metallic heels. Choose a long dress to respect a gala with a black-tie dress code.

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8. Bold Prints: Make a statement with a bold printed gown or cocktail dress. This is a good choice if the dress code is creative black tie or a gala event with a red carpet portion such as the MET gala. Just make sure your print respects the dress code.

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9. Glamorous Velvet: Velvet adds a touch of luxury to any gala outfit, whether in a full-length gown or a chic cocktail dress. Feel free to play around with different colors of velvet to make your look more interesting while showing off your personal style.

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10. Cape Drama: Make a statement with a dramatic cape or train on your gown, perfect for a black-tie event. A detachable cape could serve as a 2-in1 outfit if your event has a red carpet component as well as a formal dinner. Capes work best with long dresses or pants as they’re very dramatic.

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11. Art Deco Flair: Add a touch of art deco glamour with a vintage-inspired gown or cocktail dress. If the occasion allows, choose a shorter dress to pull this off like a pro. This works great at themed gala events.

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12. Sheer Sophistication: Play with sheer fabrics for a sophisticated and modern take on gala dressing. Just make sure your outfit is still appropriate for a black-tie gala and you’re showing skin in a tasteful way.

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13. Bold Color: Stand out in a bold, bright colored gown or cocktail dress. Bright colors are a great way to show off your fun side at a special event. Complete your look with fun accessories that are bound to be conversation-starters.

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14. Lace-Up Details: Add a touch of edge to your gala look with lace-up details on your gown or cocktail dress. Full-length ball gowns can have lace-up accents in the back to give them more of a Victorian-era vibe.

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15. Embellished Beauty: Make a statement with a gown or dress covered in intricate embellishments, perfect for a black-tie event. If you feel like an embellished outfit is a bit much for you, try opting for embellished accessories such as a clutch purse or statement necklace.

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16. Playful Prints: Add some fun to your gala outfit with a playful printed gown or cocktail dress. You can always add a shawl, scarf or cape featuring playful prints if you would rather keep your dress more neutral.

A little black dress could be spiced up with a bolero in a playful print.

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Check out my post: 8 Items to Wear Over Your Cocktail Dress for some ideas on how to style your gala attire during the colder months.

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17. Glamorous Pantsuit: Go for a modern twist on gala dressing with a glamorous pantsuit, complete with sparkling accessories and heels. A sleep jumpsuit with an exaggerated cape would be a great outfit to wear instead of a floor-length dress.

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Whatever your personal style or the dress code, there is a perfect gala outfit out there for everyone. From classic black-tie elegance to bold and daring prints, the most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in whatever you choose to wear.

To help you navigate the social niceties of a gala, I’ve put together a guide to gala etiquette. Keep these in mind the next time you’re invited to a gala with a black tie dress code or particular event with a formal wear dress code.

Gala Etiquette

1. Dress Code: The dress code for a gala is typically black-tie, meaning formal attire is expected. This can include a long gown for women and a tuxedo or suit for men. It’s important to adhere to the dress code to show respect for the occasion and the other guests.

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2. RSVP: Always respond to your invitation promptly and with your full name, indicating whether you will be attending or not. This helps the hosts plan for the number of guests and seating arrangements.

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3. Arrival: Arrive on time or slightly early to allow time for check-in and socializing before the event begins. Late arrivals can disrupt the event and create an awkward moment.

4. Greetings: When you arrive, greet the host or hosts and thank them for inviting you. It’s also polite to greet other guests as you mingle throughout the event.

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5. Table Manners: If the event includes a sit-down dinner, use proper table manners, including using utensils properly, not speaking with your mouth full, and engaging in polite conversation with those seated around you.

6. Networking: Galas can be great opportunities to network with other guests, but it’s important to approach this with tact and respect. Avoid interrupting others’ conversations, and be sure to introduce yourself and ask permission to exchange business cards.

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7. Dancing: If there is dancing at the gala, it’s important to remember that it is a formal event. Dance appropriately and avoid any suggestive or inappropriate behavior.

8. Alcohol: If alcohol is being served, it’s important to drink responsibly. Don’t overindulge and avoid becoming drunk, as this can be embarrassing and disrespectful.

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9. Thank-You Notes: After the event, send a thank-you note or email to the host or hosts to express your appreciation for the invitation and the event itself. This applies especially to weddings or birthday celebrations.

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Following these guidelines will help you navigate the etiquette of a gala with ease and ensure that you have a fantastic time while showing respect for the occasion and the other guests.

The dress code for a gala is typically black-tie, which means you’ll need to dress in formal attire. To help you navigate what to wear to a gala, I’ve put together a guide to help you find the perfect outfit.

A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Gala Outfit

1. Formal Gowns: A long formal gown is the traditional attire for a gala. Look for gowns made of elegant fabrics like silk, satin, or chiffon. These gowns can be simple or embellished with beading, sequins, or lace.

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2. Cocktail Dresses: If a full-length gown isn’t your style, opt for a cocktail dress. Choose a dress made from luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet and keep the length just above or below the knee.

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3. Jumpsuits: Jumpsuits have become a popular alternative to traditional gala attire. Choose a jumpsuit with elegant details, such as a draped neckline or a wide-leg silhouette.

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4. Suits: Men can opt for a classic black or navy suit for a gala event. Make sure the suit fits well and is paired with a formal shirt and dress shoes.

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5. Tuxedos: A tuxedo is the traditional attire for men at a black-tie event. Choose a classic black tuxedo with a white dress shirt, black bow tie, and black dress shoes.

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6. Accessories: No gala outfit is complete without the right accessories. Opt for elegant jewelry, such as diamond or pearl earrings, and a statement clutch or evening bag.

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7. Shoes: Your shoes should be elegant and comfortable. Choose a pair of heels for women or dress shoes for men.

When choosing what to wear to a gala, it’s important to consider the dress code, your personal style, and the occasion itself. The key is to find an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Remember, a gala is a special occasion, so dress to impress and enjoy the festivities.

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Do check out my post: 10 Best Dresses to Wear to a Gala if you are looking for ideas for gala dresses specifically.

I also have a post: 7 Outfits to Wear for a Formal Event in case you need some additional outfit inspiration.

If you need some ideas when it comes to pairing your long formal dresses with the right shoes, check out my post: 15 Shoes to Wear With a long Formal Dress.

Until the next post,

XOXO

Theankaraquen