Your invitation will give you an indication of what is appropriate to wear. It should state the formality of the dress expected.
There are different levels of formality…
No other form of dress is as steeped in such a sense of formality as Black Tie. There is something elegant about the simplicity of black and white, with its stark contrast, they present a man at his most debonair.
Black Tie is a dress code that for men consists of a Black Dinner Suit or Tuxedo, a white formal shirt, a black bow tie or alternatively a black long tie, black formal shoes and an optional black formal waistcoat or black cummerbund.
A business suit is not suitable for a Black Tie event.
White Tie is very formal. If an invitation states “White Tie”, the standard of dress required is Evening Tails, Marcella shirt, Marcella waistcoat, white bow tie and black cummerbund. White gloves are also expected. This is a very strict code of dress. A dinner suit is not suitable for a White Tie event.
School balls are formal events. A School Ball invitation will state the required dress code. Formal but fun is the way to go.