A vintage cocktail dress is appropriate for any occasion. Vintage clothing has developed a reputation for elegance and taste, so feel free to wear a vintage cocktail dress anywhere that you would wear a new one. Vintage style can include anything from any previous era, so your choices are virtually limitless.
When shopping for a vintage cocktail dress, however, it is important to keep a few basic rules in mind. Vintage clothing is, by definition, old. Most vintage clothing is well made and holds up very well against wear and tear. However, it is important to examine the garment carefully. Make sure that the seams are tightly sewn, not worn or frayed. Examine the actual fabric as well. Look for spots that are worn or thin in appearance. Also, check for spots, stains, spills or signs of age. Work with any zippers or fasteners to ensure that they move freely.
If you notice any imperfections in the garment, look critically at your ability to repair the problem. Many imperfections are quickly and easily fixable if you have reasonable sewing skills or are willing to pay someone for the work. If the cocktail dress has significant problems, you will need to decide if the cost of major repairs or even remaking the item is worthwhile.