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.
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.
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.
It’s sleek, sophisticated, and sexy. “But how will it look on me?” you ask. Good question. Before purchasing that perfect cocktail dress you’ve always wanted, there are a few things you may wish to consider. So we all can’t have that ‘model perfect’ body that seems to grace the pages of most magazines these days, but is that any reason not to look your best? Of course not! With a few handpicked tips and tricks, you can emphasise the positives, and downplay the negatives.
The most important factor is to choose the right cocktail dress for your shape. While most individuals can identify attributes that will fall into more than 1 category, choose the category that best describes you overall;
What is it? Slender/elongated upper body - Smaller bust - Hips and thighs larger than upper body.What to look for:
What is it? Petite chest and bottom - Few visible curves - Slender legsWhat to look for:
What is it? Waist curved outwards - Thick or thin legs - Wider appearanceWhat to look for:
What is it? Broad Shoulders - Narrow waistline - Petite hipsWhat to look for:
What is it? Tiny waist - Large chest and hips - Small bone structureWhat to look for:
Remember that beauty comes not only from style but also from self-confidence. When you feel good about the way you look, it shows. Spend a little time planning and shopping to find that perfect cocktail dress and you’ll be well on your way to turning heads in no time at all.
If you’re going to a ‘casual’ cocktail party but you don’t want to appear underdressed or overdressed for the event - how do you know what’s appropriate as well as in style? Here are a few options:
If you need a dress for that special event, but are afraid you aren't going to find one that compliments your body shape, you aren't alone. There are a lot of women who experience stress when it comes time to buying a dress, because of a little extra weight they are holding on to. But this kind of shopping doesn't have to be stressful. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need so you can shop with confidence.
Tip! One of the best dresses you can get is the proverbial 'little black dress'. Black is a flattering colour for plus sized women and a little black plus sized cocktail dress can be worn to almost anything. Just dress it up with some jewelry and you're ready to go.
A cocktail dress is a very versatile dress that can be suited to a number of occasions, so unsurprisingly a wedding is pretty high up on that list of occasions. When it comes to attending weddings, there are a few rules to keep in mind when choosing dress. If your dress is white, forget it. Only the bride gets to wear white. This is her day and no one gets to take that colour except her. Black cocktail dresses are also out at weddings. Black is a bit sombre of a colour for a wedding.
Now that you know what colours not to wear, you can focus on what you can wear. If the wedding is semi-formal or an informal evening event, a regular cocktail dress will do just fine. If it's a formal evening event, you can still wear a cocktail dress, but it needs to be very dressy (think beaded or heavily accented with a wrap and stunning jewelry.