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Cocktail dress code for women: What is it & What to wear

By Adrianna Johns on 30th June 2019

If you feel slightly confused about the ‘cocktail dress code’ then there is no need to worry as there are certain factors that can help you choose the ideal dress for such an event.

Whilst there are no strict rules about what makes a dress cocktail-appropriate, there are several factors that should be considered before planning your outfit, and luckily for you, we have listed them below to make your life easier.

Appropriate for the occasion

The first detail to take note of is the type of event you will be going to. Is the occasion relaxed, semi-formal or formal?

Knowing the nature of the event can be very important, as it can alter the finalised look, therefore research the occasion you are attending, know time and place. By knowing the type of event, your mission to find the perfect cocktail dresses will become simplified and the chances of achieving the ultimate look will be more attainable.

Appropriate lengths for cocktail dresses are typically somewhere between mid-thigh and mid-calf

Know your hosts

Are your hosts known to be more old-fashioned or traditional? If so, then make sure to dress in a more conservative manner, as you would not want to offend at the event.

On the other hand, if the hosts are more fashion friendly then go for a more relaxed interpretation of cocktail attire. Their personal preferences will ultimately influence your dress choice, so researching will most definitely be worth your time.

Length is key

Whilst you may be tempted to slide on that gorgeous ball gown that is patiently hanging in your closet, you may have to wait a little longer as a cocktail event is not a black tie affair.

Appropriate lengths for cocktail dresses are typically somewhere between mid-thigh and mid-calf, so avoid anything shorter, stick to a more suitable hemline and you will be on your way to achieving the perfect look.

If you are struggling to find dresses that fit the appropriate length, then browse through online stores, such as JJ’s House, as they offer an array of beautiful dresses for any occasion.

From black-tie to cocktail attire, dress codes are something people don’t talk about enough

Stay in season

Now, this may seem somewhat logical, but choose an ensemble that is suitable for the time of year and style it accordingly. What season will the event fall in?

A floral dress may be charming with a pair of strappy sandals during springtime, whilst your outfit may look and feel better with an evening coat and closed-toed heels in winter.

You need to feel comfortable in whichever outfit you decide, however you won’t be enjoying yourself if you do not dress according to the weather; you may have to make some last minute changes.

Don’t be afraid of colour

Although we most definitely agree with the wise words of Karl Lagerfeld, “one is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress”, don’t feel as if you shouldn’t play with colour.

Once again, it comes in handy if you are aware of your host’s preferences, however, feel free to think about what tones may fit the season better. Soft pinks and pastels go beautifully in Spring, Summer is for bolder and brighter tones, earthy tones in Autumn, and think deep colours, such as reds, greens and purples, for Winter.

Don’t be afraid to play around with textures either, as satins are on trend and can look beautiful on cocktail dresses.

You need to feel comfortable in whichever outfit you decide

Dress or no dress

In the 21st century, women are no longer bound to wearing dresses at events. If you are struggling to find a dress you like, then don’t wear a dress.

Nowadays, you can look elegant wearing whatever you choose, as long as you style it accordingly. A jumpsuit would look elegant or why not try some tailored trousers, paired with a cute top, topped with a sleek blazer, and some heels?

Or perhaps you could choose to wear a delicate satin midi skirt and pair it with a blouse; either way, you must feel comfortable and know that your choice is not limited to a dress.