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A Guide to Cocktail Attire for Women

In Style by eva.katona@yahoo.comLeave a Comment

This is a collaborative post.

As trends emerge, styles evolve and the lines blur between what is and isn’t deemed acceptable, finding the perfect outfit for an event that calls for a specific dress code can be no easy feat – and the cocktail dress code is no exception.

Although we jump at the opportunity to get glammed up and step out in a brand new outfit, we can’t deny the stress that comes with choosing the right pieces to curate a look that makes us look beautiful, feel confident and of course, nail the all-important dress code. That’s why we’ve rounded up our cocktail attire top tips and favourite looks to help you plan your dream outfit for your next cocktail party.

What is cocktail attire?

Out of the seemingly endless list of dress codes, from white tie to smart casual and everything in between, cocktail attire is one of the most common. Usually entailing a mini or midi length dress for women and a tailored, sleek suit for men it’s a chic and polished dress code reserved for semi formal events such as dinner parties, weddings and of course, cocktail parties. Although this classic dress code dates back to the late 40’s, it has evolved to include more contemporary styles, such as two-piece coordinating sets, jumpsuits and playsuits.

The dress

Whether you want to stick with a classic cocktail style mini or midi dress, or experiment with a vogue new trend, the season, formality of the event and the location are all important factors to consider when choosing your look. Spring and summer are the ideal opportunity to explore brighter colour palettes, floral inspired prints and edgier silhouettes such as asymmetric necklines and backless cuts. Whilst the cooler months have us leaning towards darker shades of black, emerald and burgundy, and luxurious heavier fabrics.

For more formal events such as a cocktail style work function or wedding, a feminine and flattering midi dress is a safe yet stylish option. If you’re heading to a trendy after dark soiree, don’t be afraid to make a statement in a tailored jumpsuit or statement mini dress.

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Keep it classic in a bodycon style cocktail dress that hugs your figure, such as the Renee Midi Dress in a deep burgundy hue, or opt for a bold fashion forward style such as the yellow Solange Jumpsuit. Images: Alamour the Label.

The shoes

For cocktail style events, heels are a must. However, this doesn’t mean you need to slip on your highest stiletto and compromise comfort. If the saying ‘beauty is pain’ doesn’t quite speak to you, opt for a chic kitten heel or block heel for a shoe that will see you dance the night away, pain free. Let the dress be the feature and look for heels in a neutral shade such as white, black or nude, or complete your fit in a bold platform or sky high stiletto in a complementary colour.  

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A nude heel works well with almost every outfit, from simple monochrome to statement printed pieces, such as the floral Shailee Dress (left). Coordinate your heels with your dress for a standout look. Pictured right is the Danielle Set and fuchsia Kamilah Heels.

The accessories

When it comes to accessorising, choosing the right pieces can elevate or sabotage your look. Add some glamour to your outfit with a pair of statement earrings. Keep it classic in stunning pearls and glittering diamantes or get creative with coloured jewels in shades that coordinate with your ensemble. Choose a clutch or small cross body bag that pairs well with your shoes, whether you’ve decided to keep it low key or venture into brighter, bolder colours. Complete your look with simple, glamorous makeup that highlights your features and flowing, loose curls or a simple updo.

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