First, if you are being honored, will appear at a podium or are part of the group / association / committee that organized the event your choice is simple; Wear a tux/evening gown. Go formal all the way (within good taste). If you are not one of the people described above DO NOT go "black tie". Consider these wardrobe choices instead.
- A plain, dark blue (I mean DARK blue) or black business suit (matched jacket and trousers). No pinstripes or pattern materials. Definitely never a sport jacket.
- A collared solid white or solid, very dark blue dress shirt. Shirts with two-tone collars are not an option. Do not wear a shirt with a traditional button collar. That is a work shirt, not a dress shirt. The shirt material should be smooth (linen) vs. rough (oxford). A shirt with french cuffs would be preferable. My preference in cuff links is always "braided knots" but if you wear metal of any kind go for understated.
- Black belt and black, lace-up dress shoes. Any kind of loafer (slip-on) or wingtips are not acceptable. Stick to a smooth-toed black lace-up.
- A solid color or dark patterned tie. This is not the occasion for a colorful "fun" tie, club ties, or a bright "power" tie (sharp reds, bright yellows, etc.).
- Wear a "dress" watch if you own one. This is not the time to wear a digital sports watch or giant-faced, multi-function chronographs.
- A simple, dark suit as described above, or, a simple black dress. This is not the place a flashy and colorful cocktail dress. Always think, "understated".
- If you wear a suit a plain white or solid, skin-tone enhancing blouse is appropriate. Avoid colors or patterns that are too loud or bright.
- Nylons or stockings are in the realm of personal choice. If you wear them match your natural skin-tone or light black (not patterned).
- Dark shoes with moderate heels (1 1/2 - 2 inches). Again, style is a personal choice but lean toward "understated"
- Minimize jewelry. While "somber" is never a good choice, "elegance" is always appreciated.
- A smaller purse that matches your suit/dress choice. If it has a strap the strap should be thin.