Less formal than a dress for a black-tie event yet dressier than what you’d put on for a girls’ night out, a cocktail dress is the epitome of semi-formal attire. It’s also an ideal opportunity to highlight your best features and show off your unique style. While everyone has a different notion about what a perfect cocktail dress should look like, there are a couple of guidelines everyone should stick to when shopping for cocktail attire. Let’s take a look.
Determine your budget
First things first, you want to decide how much you’re planning on spending on your new cocktail dress. Now, because this garment is something you can wear on multiple occasions (depending on the way you accessorize it), it makes sense to invest in a piece that’s on the pricier side. The truth is, higher quality dresses usually cost more, but they also tend to last much, much longer.
That said, if you do decide to treat yourself and splurge, make sure to get something you can wear often. Opt for classic, timeless design and color for your cocktail dress – they look elegant and chic, and are pretty versatile.
Decide on the dress style and color
Another thing to factor in when shopping for a cocktail dress is the dress color. We all have different skin tones and undertones, and they play a vital role in how good a certain color looks on us. Just like paler complexions benefit from darker, more contrasting hues, darker skin tones tend to look best in brighter colors.
Because your cocktail dress should tell something about your personality, you also need to pay attention to the dress style. Whether that’s a skin-tight dress that shows off your best features, a vintage style dress, or the classic LBD, there are designer cocktail dresses that fit every body shape and personal preference. With plenty of styles to choose from, it’s never been easier to find a dress that checks all the boxes!
Shop your shape
Depending on what you’re looking for, some dress styles can appear more attractive than the others. But other than the style, you also need to factor in the shape of your body. Certain dress styles work better for certain body types, and this can really help you narrow down your options.
For instance, A-line, flowy dresses with voluminous details on the waist look best on women with inverted triangle body shapes. Plunging necklines and figure-hugging dresses are ideal for pear-shaped and hourglass-shaped women, asymmetrical details look great on rectangular shapes, while wrap-style dresses look most flattering on apple-shaped women.
Choose the right dress length
Other than the dress style, your body shape will also dictate your dress length. Above-the-knee hemlines benefit women with an hourglass shape, knee-length ones are ideal for apple shapes, while asymmetrical ones look best on rectangular-shaped bodies.
That said, you also need to keep in mind the occasion you’re buying the dress for. If it’s a more formal occasion, you want to play it safe by getting a longer dress (below/past the knee). On the other hand, if it’s a semi-formal event, you can get away with wearing a shorter cocktail dress. Think about the type of event you’re attending and make sure that the length of your dress choice is appropriate.
Pay attention to the materials
Your choice of dress material will largely determine not just your overall look but also your level of comfort. If you’re attending an event where you’ll be wearing your dress for long hours, comfort should really come first. Consider getting a cocktail dress made of silk, chiffon, or satin. These are ideal choices for events such as weddings and parties where you’ll be dancing and moving a lot.
You also want to make sure that your cocktail attire isn’t too revealing. Lace dresses are the ideal way to cover up while still enhancing your best features. That said, you still need to wear proper undergarments and steer clear of sheer, see-through materials.
Accessorize the right way
The wrong add-ons can ruin even the most polished, well-thought-out outfit combinations. This is why you want to pay special attention when putting the finishing touches. If you’re wearing a rather simple dress, you can play things up by adding a statement piece. It can be some sparkly jewelry, an eye-catching clutch bag, or a pair of statement heels.
Other than the outfit, you should also consider your choice of hairstyle, makeup, and outfit colors when choosing accessories. That way, instead of looking over the top or as if you’re trying too hard, you’ll manage to create a cohesive look that has just the right amount of oomph to it.
With so many styles, colors, lengths, materials, and designs to choose from, shopping for cocktail dresses are exciting and intimidating. With these couple of tips in mind, you can narrow down the number of options and find a cocktail dress that will show off your style personality while making you feel empowered and confident.
Eliana Davison is a Writer/Marketing Specialist with a high interest in wellness and a healthy lifestyle. A fashion enthusiast with the aim to inspire people with her writing.