What Is a Black & White Attire Party?

by Chris Brower
Black-and-white-attire parties can include dancing.

Black-and-white-attire parties can include dancing.

Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images

A party theme gives your party direction. It helps the guests decide what to wear, understand the tone of the party and know how they should behave. A black-and-white-attire party requires its guests to wear only the colors black or white. No khaki pants or brightly colored dresses are allowed. Aside from the attire, other components can enhance a black-and-white-attire party.


Black-and-white-attire parties have a long history of popularity. These parties are typically seen as elegant and high class. Common attire includes tuxedos and formal dresses, though other variations do exist. According to the website The Independent, one of the most famous ones was Truman Capote's 1966 Black and White Ball, hosted at the New York Plaza Hotel. This sought-after invitation instructed its guests to wear only black and white attire, as well as masks. This party created a stir as people and the press flocked to see celebrities, which included Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Sammy Davis Jr., Greta Garbo, Walter Cronkite and Andy Warhol.


A black-and-white-attire party can happen for any type of occasion, but it is often held in conjunction with elegant occasions, such as banquets, art openings, weddings and balls. These occasions typically ask for a more formal style of dressing. People who want to throw a dressier party, such as a ritzy New Year's Eve party, might call for black and white attire too.


For a black-and-white-attire party to be a success, the invitations must clearly state black and white attire is required. Invitations should use the colors black and white to help emphasize the nature of the party theme. Art on the invitations can include other things relevant to black-and-white-attire parties, including martini glasses, jazz or classical music and formal wear.

Decorations, Music and Food

In keeping with the black and white theme, decorations at the party should be black and white, including tablecloths, banners, streamers, balloons or candles. Like any party, the atmosphere can be improved with music. You can play classical or jazz music, or, for a humorous edge, play modern music with "black" or "white" in the words, such as AC/DC's "Back in Black" or Michael Jackson's "Black or White." As for food, it can be difficult to stick to things that are solely black or white, so there must be some leniency. However, some black and white food you can serve includes cake, ice cream, rice and white fish. For drinks, options include chocolate martinis and white Russians.

About the Author

Chris Brower is a writer with a B.A. in English. He also spent time studying journalism and utilizes both to deliver well-written content, paying close attention to audience, and knowing one word could determine whether a product is a success or a failure. He has experience writing articles, press releases, radio scripts, novels, short stories, poems and more.

Photo Credits

  • Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images