Cocktail attire is a dress code that baffles men and women. What on earth does it even mean?
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If you received an invitation with a cocktail attire dress code and you’re totally confused, I’m here to help you out.
These dresses work for any type of cocktail event, whether a wedding, office outing, engagement party or class reunion. See, I’m already giving you some ideas of where cocktail dress codes are appropriate.
In this post you'll find:
- What is Cocktail Attire for Women?
- So, What is Appropriate for Cocktail Attire?
- Outfit Ideas for Cocktail Attire Dress Code
What is Cocktail Attire for Women?
Cocktail attire is a shade below a formal event. That’s really it. It’s not as fussy as formal but it’s miles away from casual. And no, it’s not semi-formal either. I’d say it’s just slightly above. Semi-formal kinda screams “dress up your jeans” and this ain’t that.
A cocktail attire dress code is about looking sophisticated and put-together without being as formal as black tie or as casual as everyday wear. It allows for some personal style expression within the established guidelines. When in doubt, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed for a cocktail event.
At a cocktail event, you’ll want to keep your neckline and hemline decent. It can be a place where you may run into your boss or your future boss or prospective client so you’ll want to keep the sleaze at bay.
So, What is Appropriate for Cocktail Attire?
Cocktail attire is a semi-formal dress code typically worn to events such as weddings, parties, or upscale gatherings. It strikes a balance between formal and casual attire, allowing you to look stylish and polished without being overly formal. Here’s a breakdown of what cocktail attire entails:
- Suit: Wear a well-fitted, dark-colored suit. Charcoal, navy, and black are safe choices.
- Shirt: Opt for a crisp, long-sleeved dress shirt in a solid color or subtle pattern.
- Tie: A tie is generally expected. Choose a silk tie in a complementary color.
- Shoes: Leather dress shoes in black or brown, polished and in good condition.
- Accessories: A belt that matches your shoes and perhaps a pocket square can add a touch of style.
- Dress: Choose a knee-length or slightly above-the-knee dress. The fabric and style can vary but should lean towards a more elegant look.
- Color: Darker or muted colors like black, navy, deep red, or jewel tones are suitable. Avoid overly flashy or bright colors.
- Heels: Heeled shoes, pumps, or stylish sandals work well. Avoid overly casual footwear.
- Accessories: Elegant jewelry, a clutch bag, and a well-coordinated shawl or wrap if the event is outdoors.
- Grooming: Ensure you’re well-groomed with clean hair and appropriate makeup.
- Avoid Casual Items: Stay away from jeans, sneakers, and overly casual clothing.
- Fit Matters: Fit is crucial for both men and women. Tailoring your outfit can make a significant difference.
- Weather Considerations: Take into account the event’s location and weather when selecting your attire.
Outfit Ideas for Cocktail Attire Dress Code
This red lace dress is the perfect cocktail attire for women. It’s lacy and demure with a high neckline and low hemline. It shows off your figure without being too revealing or over the top. Classic earrings and a simple pump complete the look.
This chiffon plus size dress with statement neckline is also a good cocktail dress for an evening out. The neckline keeps the eye at conversation level and the hemline is flirty with varying lengths. The chiffon adds a playful see-through flair.
Little Black Dress
Of course, the little black dress will make an appearance every season. This slinky number is just perfect, soft and feminine. You’ll be the belle of the ball on your mister’s arm. Get it here.
Floral and Flirty
Bright florals are perfect for the holidays! This fun number is flirty and soft and works well for my fellow big girls. Link here.
Flirty Day Time Party Dress
Chiffon Dress Perfection
If you loved the above dress but aren’t really a floral type of gal, this powder blue dress is the perfect option. I love how light and airy it is.
More ruffles! I just can’t help it, they’re too pretty. This is an updated ruffle dress with asymmetrical lines. I love it. Get one here.
Vintage Flapper Style Dress
Ok, let’s move away from ruffles and get into sequins. The holidays are nothing without a little sparkle baby and this vintage-inspired flapper dress is the perfect scene stealer for your themed parties this year. Link to buy.
Sequin Party Dress
For something simpler but still shiny, this dress is the perfect piece. Here you go.
Flirty Animal-Print Cocktail Dress
Colourful Sequin Party Dress
The more shine, the merrier. It’s Christmas party season after all. The perfect excuse to be as blingy as your heart desires. Clicky here.
NYE Style Sequin Party Dress
Now we’re shining! I feel like this dress would be perfect for New Year’s Eve. You know where to click.
A Christmas Gown
Let’s get into a few more gowns. I love the draping of this one and feel like the style is very classic. Will take you through a few seasons. It’s a great price point too. Here’s the link.
Date Night Party Dress
Don’t hurt him now! This dress is the perfect date night dress for a cocktail party with your boo thang. It will surely land you a boo if you’re out looking. Get it here. Pair this dress with nude Christmas nails for added flair.
Speaking of hurt. Oh laaaawd. You don’t need convincing. You just need the link.