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Cocktail Dress Etiquette: What to Wear and When

Cocktail Dress Etiquette: What to Wear and When

If you are going to a formal event, then adhering to a dress code is a must. However, rules don’t apply when you are tipsy, and what’s a better place to let loose than a drinks party?

And if you are reading this blog, chances are you are invited to such a party. But you are struggling because you’re clueless as to what to wear to the party. Well, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Before we get into the tips, you must know that such events require cocktail attire or a cocktail dress code, if you will (believe it or not). Hence, the entire range of cocktail party dresses.

So, ready to explore all the cocktail dress etiquettes? Of course you are. Let’s get into it!

What Exactly is Cocktail Attire?

Now, you may be surprised by the answer, but it is an attire you wear specifically to a cocktail party. We know, we know… quite a shock. Jokes aside, it is a type of dress you wear to a semi-formal or casual event that usually occurs during the evening.

A Brief History of Cocktail Dresses

While one can argue that cocktail attire was born with the birth of cocktails, the real history of these dresses is relatively new.

In the early 90s, people used to dress over the top for even the smallest of events. There’s a small house party? Time to put on an elegant dress with a mesmerizing hairdo (we guess not having to work three jobs to make ends meet did buy you plenty of time to dress fabulously).

We believe that the credit for popularizing this attire goes to the movie called All About Eve. In this film, Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, solidified cocktail attire with her stunning red dress. She also made a mess, but she did say, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Moreover, in the book, Edith Head's Hollywood, it is mentioned that it was Bette, who envisioned the iconic dress. If you are a fashion geek, you may have noticed that this dress had a particular look that appeared European. And you’d be right because this particular dress was inspired by the 1947 “New Look” collection by Christian Dior, a French designer.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cocktail Attire

Now, let’s come to the present times and take into consideration the factors you need to follow for the ideal cocktail attire. Also, if you don’t follow these, both fashion and alcohol gods will be mad at you.

  • Length

The board of fashion and style has decided… just kidding, it does not exist. However, the general consensus is cocktail dresses should be knee-length or shorter. So, might as well adhere to those! But never be afraid to experiment with different lengths.

  • Fabric

What is your dress made of? Silk, sating, velvet, blood of your enemies? Yes, you have to look good for the event; however, you shouldn’t neglect comfort in the name of style. Choose a fabric that feels comfortable.

  • Colors and Patterns

Typical black and metallic shades are nice, but don’t be shy to experiment with bright colors. As for patterns, subtle prints are better. You’ll be there to enjoy it after all!

What to Wear to a Cocktail Party?

A mixer! See what we did there? Anyway, after you’ve taken into consideration all the factors, you may have narrowed down your choices. Still, allow us to share some mesmerizing cocktail event attires.

  • One Shoulder to Go Bolder

Get ready to turn heads and flirtily show your confidence with one-shoulder cocktail dresses. Such dresses are ideal if the event is taking place outdoors. Also, did we mention that shoulder dresses automatically make you more photogenic?

Ever wanted to feel like Princess Jasmine while holding a Mimosa or Screwdriver? Then this STYLE 94292 middle-east inspired one shoulder dress is for you!

  • Beaded Fringed for the Unhinged

When you’re unsure as to what to wear, go full BEAD mode. Also, the cocktail dress code never mentioned that you could not have a fully beaded dress with some fringe. Not to mention, such dresses boost your confidence to the level where you carry the main character's energy.

Imagine the camera’s on you, a romantic beat is playing in the background, and you make an entrance to the party. Feeling it? Then go with Fully-beaded Nude Dress STYLE 94266.

  • Party Lead Go with Full Sleeves

It’s getting a chilly out here. Full-sleeve cocktail dresses to the rescue! These bring a certain sense of elegance to the casual fun, helping you stand out from the crowd. Just imagine you holding a glass of white wine and moving your hair to the side of your face. Oh, mamma!

For that flirty leader in you, go with the gorgeous and sleek beaded full-sleeve STYLE 88016.

When to Wear to Cocktail Attire?

Just because it is called cocktail attire doesn’t mean you can only wear it to a drinks party. Heck, you can even wear it to a barbeque! (Shout out to all the Texans out there).

Since cocktail dresses are considered semi-formal, here are all the events where you can rock these dresses.

  • Weddings

Now, if you are the groom or bride's sibling, we don’t recommend cocktail attire for weddings. For everyone else, what’s stopping you from putting on a sexy short dress for a wedding? Still, nothing too flashy because we wouldn’t want to take all the attention from the couple.
  • Holiday Parties

Every holiday party has alcohol involved. Whether it be a corporate party or Thanksgiving, so technically, you can wear these to holiday parties as well. Once again, nothing too flashy because we want to keep the holiday spirit.
  • Dinner Parties

For an upscale dinner party (not formal), a cocktail dress should be your go-to choice. As it offers a relaxed feel while helping you look amazing.

Wrapping It Up

Cocktail dress etiquette is all about striking the right balance between elegance and fun. By understanding the key elements of cocktail attire and choosing the right accessories, you can ensure you look stunning at any event. So, the next time you’re invited to a cocktail party, you’ll know exactly what to wear to make a lasting impression.

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