Elegant, sleek & suitable for semi-formal to formal occasions – Put simply, a cocktail dress is typically a knee-length party dress to wear at a cocktail party. There are many different styles of course, and here we attempt to feature some of the more popular ones. But first, let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts when dressing for a cocktail party.
Things To Remember
Go for high heels. Avoid flat shoes unless completely unavoidable.
Choose the right dress line. Go for a full length dress for a black tie (formal) event, knee-length or slightly lower for semi-casual event, and knee-length or higher for casual event.
Wear hosiery. Sheer black or a nude colour will suffice for the occasion.
Both open and closed-toe shoes are acceptable for a formal or informal event. If the shoes are open-toe then go for seamless hosiery.
Avoid wearing skirts or suits (unless your invitation states casual or semi-casual).
What’s a good sleeve length for a cocktail dress?
There are no general rules for the appropriate sleeve length, so wear whatever you’re most comfortable in. Click here for help choosing the right sleeve types.
Do I bring a coat or cover up?
For a late finish cocktail party a coat would be prudent but bringing something as simple as a wrap or light formal jacket would be fine too – you’ll enjoy the party more if you’re not shivering from the temperature.
What necklace goes best with my dress’s neckline?
For V-line dresses – wear a longer necklace with a simple drop for a flattering affect that doesn’t take away from the look. For round neck dresses, a 15 inch or less chain with a decorative pendant or charm works well.
Which sleeves are right for you?
If you have attractive arms, you may want to show them off and emphasise them through the use of a cap sleeve that shows your skin, or fitted sleeves, that will show the shape of the arm. If your arms are a little lankier than you would like them to be, you can give them more oomph through the use of a Bishop, Dolman or Gibson sleeve.
Have a little extra weight on your arms than you would like? Juliet or Bell sleeves may be your better options. The Juliet sleeves will let the poof at the shoulder pull eyes away from the rest of your arm that you may not want them to see. Likewise the bell at the bottom of the bell sleeves will make the rest of your arm look smaller, in comparison.