When planning to attend a Viennese Ball, it is important to determine the required dress code. Otherwise, you might find yourself feeling very out-of-place, or worse yet, never admitted past the front door.

White Tie

The most elegant Viennese balls are white tie events.

The gentleman wears a black tailcoat, black trousers, black shoes, a white bow tie, white vest, and a white wing-collar shirt. The traditional material for the white tie, vest, and shirt is pique, a fabric with a slight diamond-shaped waffle texture. If pique is not available then other white fabrics may be acceptable. Studs must be worn on the shirt over the buttons. A white folded pocket square is worn in the upper left pocket of the tailcoat, and the gentleman will ideally also be wearing white gloves. Some individuals may also be wearing diplomatic or military medals.

The lady wears a formal floor-length dress. Short cocktail-length dresses are not considered acceptable. It is important that these dresses should not be narrow at the bottom in order to allow free movement of the legs. The wider dresses look especially lovely as they swing back in Viennese turns. Unless the lady is a member of the opening ceremony cotillion, her dress should not be pure white. Women will also sometimes wear opera-length gloves.

The Vienna Philharmonic Ball,  the Vienna Opera Ball, and the Techniker-Cercle Ball are "white tie only" events.

Black Tie


The most common dress code for a Viennese ball is black tie.

The gentleman wears a black dinner jacket, black trousers, black shoes, a black bow tie, and a white wing-collar shirt.

The dress code for the lady is the same as for a white tie event.

White tie attire is usually acceptable at black tie events.

Some viennese balls permit special dress, such as formal military uniforms or ethnic folk costumes. There are also a few Viennese balls that have no dress code.

Dark Suit

A few of the less formal Viennese balls, such as the BonbonBall, permit men to wear dark suits with matching bow ties.   Long ties are not acceptable.


Shoes are the most important component of the attire that you will wear to a Viennese Ball. Men’s shoes should be black, simple, and well-polished. Women should avoid overly high heels. The soles of the shoes should be leather, rather than rubber, because it will be much easier to perform the rapid turns that are required for the Viennese Waltz. There can be rubber on the heels, but there should not be any on the soles.

It is a common practice to bring a separate pair of dance shoes and slip into these before you step onto the dance floor. Because it is important that your dance shoes should be comfortable, you will want to make sure that they have already been broken in and will not produce any blisters. You will be dancing in these for many hours.

Note:  An informative video summary of the dress code for most of the balls in Vienna has been produced by Peek & Cloppenburg.

Also, the 2012 DRESSCODE issue of the ball culture online magazine includes extenstive details about dress expectations for balls in Vienna.