What Is A Red Tie Affair?

A “red tie affair” is a gala or event held for charity causes. The red tie affair generally does not involve the participants actually wearing red ties, though this occasionally happens. A typical “red tie affair” is a black tie affair where those attending donate money or otherwise give to a good cause. Red tie events are held around the country, and are sponsored by charity organizations and individuals alike.

Types of Red Tie Galas

The American Red Cross holds red tie affair fundraisers, which helps raise money for local chapters of the Red Cross. For instance, the American Red Cross of Santa Monica will be having what they describe as a “Red Tie Affair gala” at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, and celebrities will be in attendance. Red tie affairs often invite celebrities to be in attendance, which hopefully draw others to the fundraiser. At the Red Cross red tie affairs, people wears your standard black tie event clothing, but are encouraged to add include a wear red somewhere on their attire to show support. This event will have a VIP reception, an auction for unique items donated to the cause and live music.

For instance, Neimann Marcus holds a biannual “Red Tie Gala” in San Francisco during the even-numbered years. This fundraiser takes place at the six-story Neimann Marcus store, has thousands of visitors and over a million dollars is raised to benefit the Little Sisters of the Poor-St. Anne’s Home.

White Tie Affairs


A “white tie affair” is considered the most formal dinner party or social event one can hold. Originally, the white tie event was the only form of society dinner that the upper crust held. Those attending a white tie dinner would wear a black jacket, white shirt and white tie. To this day, the white tie affair is considered the most formal and rigid type of social event one can attend, with strict formalities.

Black Tie Affairs

At some point in the 1860’s, future English King Edward VII wanted something a little less formal for his evening dinner parties. He had his tailor design an outfit based on evening wear which was coming into fashion among the countryside elite. Others followed the then-Prince’s lead.

As legend has it, a visiting American dined with the prince in 1886 and borrowed the style of the prince, taking the black tie to his own social club back on his return to America. This caught on and the black tie affair was started in America. A black tie affair involves wearing a tuxedo jacket and black tie, instead of the more formal white tie. Therefore, though the “black tie affair” is considered a formal event by many Americans, it is considerably less formal and rigid than a white tie affair.

One example of the difference is how clothes may be worn at the black tie affair. If the heat is unbearable, for instance, the ranking person or “guest of honor” at a black tie affair can take off their dinner jacket or tuxedo, and others can follow suit. This would not be allowed at a white tie affair. Also, there are considerably different dress codes at different black tie events, as well as different definitions of what a “tuxedo” is.

Rules For Red Tie Affairs

You’ll find the rules for red tie affairs even more relaxed. In fact, any fundraising event can be considered a red-tie event, though most people will get dressed up for such events. Originally, a red tie event was a black tie event that raised money for a good cause, such as AIDs, cancer research or needy children. Charity auctions are another example of red tie events.

Because the red tie affair is asking for money to be donated, the dress code is less important than in a purely social dinner or event. The more people who qualify for the event, the more money can be raised. As stated earlier, though, there are exclusive, high-dollar red tie events or red tie affairs involving big name celebrities.

Red Tie Affair in Music

“Red Tie Affair” is also the name of a 5-person emo band (4 guys, 1 girl as the singer) active in Chicago at the moment. The band has an EP named “You Are Cordially Invited”. On the Red Tie Affair blog, they describe the band’s music as old style emo from the good old days, before emos started “crying and cutting themselves” and back before Emo guys “started wearing girls jeans and eyeliner”. They further describe the Red Tie Affair music as combining “lament with ebullience, anxiety with fragility”.