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Attending an evening business awards gala requires you to dress the part. Whether you're the person in charge or looking to make industry contacts and work your way up the ladder, you want to look your best. Plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need well beforehand to avoid any last minute fashion disasters.

What to Wear to a Gala

A gala is a formal event. Like all events, some are more creative and some will be conservative. This usually depends on the industry. Graphic designers can usually get away with quirky spins to their suits or tuxedos, while those working as a financial broker cannot. The invitation will usually state what's required, "Formal dress required, or "Creative black tie encouraged," so take the direction of the invite. If you're still at a loss for what to wear, ask around in the weeks before the event to get an idea of what others will wear for this special occasion.

Formal Fashion for Women

Because you are at a work event, it is important to keep everything work appropriate. Women should steer clear from exposing too much cleavage, or showing too much skin in general. A good rule is to balance the amount of skin on display. If you opt for a strapless, go with no slit in the skirt of your dress. If you are wearing a cap sleeve or covering up shoulders with a capelet or shrug, showing a subtle flash of leg is fine. Be sure you have appropriate undergarments like a strapless bra or shapewear that fits you properly to create a pristine, finished look under your dress.

Rules for What to Wear

Men should wear a tuxedo. A suit might work for a creative industry, as long as it looks expensive. The suit should always be dark, as it is an evening event. Men should be be well groomed. Women should wear an evening gown with a floor-length hem. This is a formal occasion, so look for rich fabrics such as satin and taffeta for that high drama finish. Heels are a must. Hair should look shiny and polished, and makeup should look fresh. Refrain from any heavy makeup looks that can appear garish. For older women, a pantsuit will work for a formal occasion like an eventing business awards gala, as long as it is well-tailored and complemented by formal accessories such as shimmering jewelry and heels.