Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

June 19, 2017

Your Guide to Summer Black-Tie Wear.

      Today's post is written in collaboration with Alyce Paris. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Southern Belle in Training possible!

    One of my favorite things on earth is the chance to get all dressed up. I was the high schooler who lived for prom- not because of the date or the limo or the after party (Who are we kidding- my "after party" senior year was a movie night with a few friends in someone's living room!), but for the dress. I felt like a princess at both my junior and especially senior prom thanks to my dresses, and the promise of sorority formals may or may not have been a motivating factor in me wanting to investigate joining Greek life in college. I don't even want to think about how I'll be wedding dress shopping someday.... ah!

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios

      Luckily for formal attire loving girls like me, there are some wonderful things in the adult world: Black Tie Events! The formal definition of Black Tie is that it is a dress code for formal evening events and social functions. For men, Black Tie implies a dapper tuxedo ensemble. For women, the rules are a little bit more flexible, and vary based on what is popular with women's fashion at the time. For example- there was a point in (not so long ago) history when Black Tie absolutely demanded dress gloves with a lady's outfit ensemble... but how often are you seeing dress gloves in fashion today? Not as much (and thank goodness for that!).

     There are many different direction that a woman can take her Black Tie outfit in these days, but with that said, a few timeless guidelines do remain. Black Tie means a floor length dress or gown, and to stay away from shorter dresses (an exception being if you have a shorter dress that is embellished or extremely formal). Black Tie is also a time to wear long dresses of fine fabrics- this is not a time to break out a polyester maxi dress made for the beach. And lastly, Black Tie is a time to wear fine jewelry. Either pieces made of gold and gemstones, or high quality costume jewelry. This is not an occasion for fad jewelry trends.

     But even with those guidelines in place, there is still a lot of flexibility, especially when it comes to summer Black Tie attire. Summer brings the return of bright colors to the wardrobe, and some of those can be easily incorporated into a Black Tie dress code as well during the warmer months! As much as I love these shades for daytime wear, I personally would stray away from anything neon colored for Black Tie formalwear. But the other colors of the rainbow are at your disposal!

     I felt like a princess getting to style this beautiful Alyce Paris formal dress for today's blog post! This dress is Style #1141, and it's a radiant shade of blue, which I think it is still fine to be worn to summer Black Tie events, since you can definitely play with color more in summer. The beading on the bodice of this dress is absolutely incredible, and I swear it's even prettier in person.

     One last tip that I have for dressing for Black Tie events is to choose one part of your body to accentuate, but not all. Black Tie events are classy functions, so it's not a chance to look like you're going to a nightclub. Choose to highlight your cleavage, legs, or back, but not all three of those! With this dress, it has a gorgeous open back, so another thing I liked about the dress was the fact that was more modest in regards to the dress and legs, since the back is exposed and highlighted.

     (I will give a quick note though on the chest part of this dress...some formal dresses that I've worn in the past have had a very "flattening" affect on cleavage, and what girl wants that?! I was worried this dress might be the same since it's higher cut, but it couldn't be further from that! I don't think I've ever worn a formal dress that flattered and enhanced my chest more, but by doing so in a modest way. Can you say a win-win?? 😉)

     Alyce Paris dresses are sold at fine formalwear retailers all over the US, and world! Near the Burlington Vermont area where I now live, there are retailers in St. Albans, VT, and just across Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, NY. And for my readers back in Charlotte- there are multiple retailers in the Mecklenburg county metro area as well. Quite honestly- there are fine formalwear retailers selling gorgeous Alyce Paris dresses just about everywhere in the country! (I mean if Vermont has it... ha!)

     Now I just need a Black Tie Wedding or gala event to wear these beautiful dress to again! I'm already yearning for the next time that I get to put it on... I truly felt like a princess!

     Also a fun note on my hair- I decided to mix it up from my normal big curls hairstyle for this blog post! I tried a DIY Pinterest side updo and I was so pleased with how it turned out! I think I might have to start playing with more fun hairstyles for future posts.

      Thanks so much for reading! I hope you're having a beautiful start to the week. My dad is here in Vermont right now visiting for a long Father's Day Weekend... and today I have a special surprise experience planned for his Father's Day present! I'm hoping the weather holds out in our favor for it. Stay tuned to my IG stories today (@miss_alk) to see what it is!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)



  1. Everything about this post I have heart eyes over!! Everything from your hair, the dress,t he color (which is my FAVORITE color on everyone) and location is beautiful! Total princess vibes!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  2. Blue looks so pretty on you! I love dressing-up to. And it's so sad I don't have many opportunities to do it.

    xx, Melissa

  3. I also LOVE any excuse to get dressed up. I lived for prom even though like you my after party was watching movies in a friend's living room hehe. That dress looks so pretty on you and the back is stunning!

  4. Omg you look gorgeous and I love your dress!

  5. I love love love Alyce Paris dresses and wore them to both of my proms! This one looks beautiful on you!!

  6. Love this dress on you! I've heard about Alyce Paris but have never gotten any dresses from them. I will definitely be on the lookout for their dresses for my next formal event.

  7. That dress is so amazing! It kind of makes me want there to be a prom for grown adults so I had an excuse to buy this!

  8. What a pretty dress! That color looks wonderful on you!

  9. Wow...that dress is sooooo gorgeous!!!!

  10. This is so pretty! I wish adult life had more formal events. None of my friends have had black tie weddings, my husband hates military balls (and we don't live near a marine base anyway), and the one fraternity formal we did go to wasn't exactly formal.

  11. That dress and your hair is gorgeous!

  12. I love that dress!!! So gorgeous. I always loved dressing up too. I had to laugh because your prom after party sounds a lot like mine haha but still I loved wearing a gown all night

  13. Your dress is absolutely gorgeous!! ❤️❤️❤️

  14. Oh my goodness you look stunning!! I just adore this dress on you!

  15. You look so regal and elegant in this dress! The royal blue color compliments you skin tone and hair beautifully and I love the soft wavy low, ponytail! xoRach |

  16. I have a black tie wedding in September and I am SO excited to get all dolled up for it!


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