Navigating a cocktail dress code can be kind of complicated – is it smart? Is it casual? Smart casual? It can feel like a bit of a mystery, but not to worry, that’s all about to be solved. Whether you’ve just RSVPd to a cocktail wedding, you’re headed to a swanky party or you’ve been invited to the ever-illusive cocktail hour, these tips are going to come in very handy. Here are the definitive dos and don’ts of cocktail attire for women…
Keep it Demure
When it comes to cocktail hour, you should veer on the side of refinement. Although you want to look as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as possible, you should also keep in mind that cocktail hour can often mean that you’re mixing with colleagues or attending a formal spot, which means that it’s best to keep to elegant lines and demure cuts. You’ll look striking, appropriate, and seriously stylish, and really, more what could you ask for when it comes to evening wear?
Accentuate with Accessories
Your accessories can really transform a basic cocktail dress and make it work for any occasion you might have coming up on that social calendar of yours! Look for statement items to switch up the vibe of a classic neutral cocktail style frock, the best thing about this is that the embellishments are usually pretty cost-effective and you can change them out for the seasons and to keep up with different trends that you might want to try out. Choose eye-catching styles such as pointed mules, statement earrings, layered delicate necklaces, and chic headbands to have a collection of go-to pieces that can totally transform your dress.
Choose Something Classic
So in order to switch up the look and feel of your cocktail dress on the regular, you’re going to want to keep it with a classic style. Sticking to a timeless dress will mean that you have the perfect backdrop for all of your fashion moods. By opting for something classic, you can focus on perfecting the fit. Finding your most flawless silhouette will mean that you have something that you can reach for and feel absolutely fabulous in, again and again.
Carry a Clutch
Always keep a clutch on hand to carry your essentials with you! A clutch bag is a must-have for any occasion you might have coming up. Try to invest in a neutral, natural fiber clutch bag so that you can make it work for countless different events. A disruptive oversized bag can throw off an entire outfit no matter how meticulously put together it may be. Go subtle, small, and high quality for a perfect investment that you’ll stash your essentials in for a long time to come.
Try to avoid following trends too closely, this can become an expensive and inauthentic habit that leaves you with a wardrobe full of items that you don’t wear. Fast fashion trends often produce low quality, wear-once, and throw away items, which will be bad for the environment, your wallet, and your personal style!
Wear a Full Length Gown
Although you want to be formal and put together, you don’t want to go overboard. The key with the cocktail hour is to look beautifully appropriate, stylish, and put together – but not like you’re all dressed up for a formal or extra special night. A great way of avoiding this is by only sticking to mini or midi cut dresses, floor-length gowns are just too formal for a cocktail dress code.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.