If you have a handsome wood or glass-top table, the trend is to use a tablecloth for only the most formal occasions. However, if you prefer not to show off your table or if you like linens, use a tablecloth that fits the look you desire.
Traditionally, white damask or plain white linen, with or without lace inserts or embroidery, is used for formal dinners. The damask weave, rather than the Jacquard weave, is considered the most formal. Use a table pad with a formal cloth and setting to provide a buffer between the tablecloth and table surface.