This term is the least often seen, but the best understood.
Military formal function — The invitation may say "Formal," "Black Tie," or state a specific uniform or choice of uniforms. Regardless of the uniform worn, the bow tie is standard for formal functions. Officers are expected to wear either the Army Mess uniform or Army Blues... For NCOs and enlisted personnel, Army Blues are preferable, but Army Greens (Class A's) with white shirt and bow tie are acceptable. Civilian guests will wear tuxedos.
Civilian formal function —; The invitation may say "Formal," "Black Tie," "Tuxedo," or "Smoking" (European), but they all mean the same thing. Military men may wear either a tuxedo or an appropriately formal military uniform.
Although formal dress styles vary with the times and from one location to another, a long dress is always appropriate for formal functions. Additionally, a very fancy short dress, cocktail dress, and evening trousers with dressy top are sometimes in fashion. If you're new in an area and wondering what to wear to a formal function, it’s a good idea to ask a friend what is normally worn in that location. It's also important to consider the type of event before deciding what to wear; for example, a full-skirted ball gown would be lovely at a formal ball, but a bit too much for a formal reception. Note: Long dresses and long skirts are not normally worn before five o'clock in the evening, unless you are the hostess and the party is in your own home.
Next Slide: Informal