What to Wear to a Spring/Summer “Black Tie Optional” Event

When I heard we were having a “black tie optional” party at the conference I attended a few weeks ago, I immediately went on high alert. Every time I was shopping at the mall or online, I was on the lookout for the perfect dress. I knew I found it when I saw this fringy sheath at J.Crew.

The perfect Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" dress -- this fringy sheath from J.Crew!

When an event is black tie optional, that basically speaks more to the men than the women. It basically means, wear a tuxedo if you have one, and if not, a dressy dark suit will do.

For women, you will see everything from cocktail dresses to ball gowns in attendance. It’s just a matter of personal preference which way you go. I decided there was more chance I’d get to wear shorter dress again, plus I just happened across this one and fell in love with it, so that was that!

What to Wear to a Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" Event

I’m also pleased to be able to tell you that this dress just went on sale! It’s $118 at J.Crew right now, and it also comes in white, coral, and a fun citron yellow, so there are lots of options. It does run a little bit big. I have the size 6, but I usually wear an 8 in dresses.

The next question is, of course, how to accessorize. It depends largely on the type of event. Since I was attending a fashion blogging conference, I could have jazzed this up with colorful shoes or a stand-out bag, but I kept it classic and simple with nude strappy sandals and a black tassel clutch.

What to Wear to a Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" Event

I already had this clutch in my closet; it was actually gifted by GiGi New York at this same conference last year, and I love it. It’s versatile and goes with so many things, and the leather is beautiful. There is also a removable strap, which is nice when you want to be hands-free.

My shoes were a splurge this spring. I’ve been wanting a pair of these sandals for years, and I kept watching and waiting for them to go on sale, but they never do. When I knew I was going to this conference and had an occasion to wear them, I sprung for them.

What to Wear to a Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" Event

They were perfect for a fashion blogging conference, but I’ve also worn them with jeans for a date night and with a dress for church on Easter, so they’re definitely versatile.

If you like the style but not the price tag, several brands make a similar style for less. Steve Madden has the Stecy sandal and Sam Edelman has the Patti, and I’m sure there are others. I haven’t seen any that are as delicate as the Stuarts, but they all have a similar look that will go with a lot of outfits.

I went with a red lip for the event, and I kept wishing I’d found a red clutch to carry, or maybe some red earrings, but I ran out of time. I ended up accessorizing with a few pieces I already had — the Gala chandeliers and bracelet from Stella & Dot. Unfortunately they recently sold out. Another great option would be the Celine wrap bracelet and Etoile chandeliers.

What to Wear to a Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" Event

I felt like this outfit was just a little bit on the safe side, especially for a fashion blogging conference, but it would be appropriate for most black tie optional events. Sometimes it’s okay to play it safe. I felt comfortable and confident (well, as comfortable as one can be in 4″ stilettos, lol!) and that’s the most important thing!

What to Wear to a Spring/Summer "Black Tie Optional" Event: J.Crew fringe sheath, Stuart Weitzman Nudistong Sandals, foldover clutch fro GiGi New York

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fringy sheath (also available at Nordstrom) // Stuart Weitzman Nudistong Sandals (similar for less here and here) // foldover tassel clutch c/o GiGi New York

photo credit: Megan Weaver

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