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PARTY QUEEN / Jun 29, 2021

DECODING THE DRESS CODE: WHAT IS COCKTAIL ATTIRE?

Dressing up for an occasion is always exciting, but figuring out what to wear can be tricky. There seems to be a different dress code for every event! So today, we're helping you decode: cocktail attire.

What is cocktail attire?

Since a cocktail party isn't super formal, there's no need to bust out your ball gown—but cocktail attire does allow for some sparkle and glam. Typically, women will wear a short or mid-length dress, but skirts and pantsuits are also appropriate.

From there, the world is your oyster. To get you inspired, we'll be discussing five cocktail dresses and how to accessorize them. By the end of this article, you'll not only know what cocktail attire is but also how to dress to impress for your next event.

Off-The-Shoulder Embellished Dress

off the shoulder cocktail dress

Off-the-shoulder dresses are all the rage right now—and a short or mid-length one would be perfect cocktail attire. Show off those shoulders, ladies!

At cocktail parties, we see a lot of sparkle—sequins, jewels, gold, silver. Embrace your inner queen! As you can see below, this cocktail dress is super textured and bedazzled—it's sure to catch the light and score some looks.

Neutral colors, such as gold, silver, black, and nude, are common colors for cocktail dresses.

Pair this dress with a clutch and strappy heeled sandals. Simple, yet stunning.

Get the look: Jewel and Sequin Embellished Glitter Mesh Short Dress

One-shoulder Bodycon Dress

One Shoulder Sequin Bodycon cocktail dress

Speaking of exposed shoulders, a one-shoulder dress is totally fit for cocktail attire. For an extra sultry look, opt for a bodycon dress with a sweetheart neckline and show off your lovely curves! Va-va-voom.

Sequins all over? Yes, please! We love that the cocktail dress below is covered in black sequins—it's eye-catching but not too flashy. Look up "cocktail dress" in the dictionary, and you'll see this: subtle glam.

If you pick a black dress, of course black heels would work—but we encourage you to get a little bold and choose a silver or gold pair of heels. Complete the look with a chic updo.

Get the look: One Shoulder Sequin Bodycon Short Dress

Two-Piece Dress

two-piece cocktail dress

Are you a gal that loves to be different? Then you have to take a look at this two-piece cocktail dress that showcases beautiful floral embroidery.

Want to show off your figure? Go for a pencil skirt and embrace that hourglass figure! Don't worry, a higher neckline—as you see below—will balance the cropped top.

If you choose a dark color, we encourage you to add some glitter to your shoe choice. Gold, silver, bedazzled—any will do.

To keep this look fun and unique, rock a fishtail braid. They're so beautiful and surprisingly simple to do—everyone will ask you how you did it!

Get the look: Two-Piece Embroidered Pencil Skirt Dress

Long-Sleeve Bodycon Dress

Long Sleeve Bodycon cocktail Dress

Another body-hugging dress that's great for cocktail attire is the long-sleeve bodycon dress.

These long-sleeve beauties are perfect for cocktail parties in the fall and wintertime—you can show off your legs while keeping warm. (Pro tip!)

As you can see below, you can totally play around with different fabrics and textures. We love the mesh sleeves here—and the sequin embroidery laid on top.

Because the dress is such a showstopper, feel free to keep the accessories minimal. Pairing it with silver or gold shoes is a fabulous way to bring the look together.

Get the look: Long Sleeve Bodycon Short Dress Accented with Jewel and Sequin

Cut-Away Shoulder Crepe Dress

Cut-Away Shoulder cocktail dress

From the dress to the accessories, this has cocktail attire written all over it. A form-fitting dress with off-the-shoulder sleeves is a classy choice for your next cocktail party.

Like on the dress below, subtle glitter captures the glam that is typical for cocktail attire—but it's not too distracting. (Skip the neon yellow this event)

Anytime you pair a dress with nude heels, you elongate the legs. For a short cocktail dress like this one, it's the perfect opportunity to do so.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we encourage you to rock a cocktail hat or headpiece, because. when else can you?! Trust us, you'll feel like royalty when you put it on. (Move over Meghan Markle.)

Get the look: Cut-Away Shoulder Glitter Crepe Bodycon Dress

Got another upcoming occasion?

Decoding dress codes doesn't start here—and it certainly doesn't end here either. There are many events where you'll need to create the perfect look: weddings, galas, prom, quinceanera, homecoming, and more. So take a look at our blog—we've got you covered!


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