Getting it right: Everything you need to know about Cocktail Dresses

cocktail dressIf you receive an invitation to a fancy event that stipulates cocktail attire, congratulations! You get to dress up. As a woman, this is a great chance to break out of ho-hum outfits and wear something rather glamorous. While men should wear attire that is dressier than casual clothes, yet not quite as formal as black tie, women get to select dresses that are downright sexy. There is a wide range in terms of formality, however, so ask the event hostess what she’s wearing for insight into how dressy to go. You don’t want to show up in a sequin gown and when everyone else is wearing floral dresses.

Wording on Invitation

The wording on any party invitation should clue you in about the formality of the event. Sometimes cocktail attire is not stipulated on the invite, but words such as semi-formal, business formal, or casual dressy appear. When any of these code words are mentioned, it’s a key to get dressed up, but not in anything too formal.

Fabric Types

One way you can be sure you’re choosing the right dress is by selecting a garment in an appropriate fabric. You definitely don’t want to choose a gown made out of denim or khaki, because that would be too casual. Instead choose attire made of:

• Chiffon
• Silk
• Crepe
• Satin
• Knits
• Wool-blends

Style of Dress

While cocktail dresses are formal, they are not as over-the-top as full-length ball gowns. Styles vary, but some fashionable details you’ll find on appropriate attire include:

• Knee length
• Above the knee
• Spaghetti straps
• Strapless
• Form fitting

Alternatives That Work

If you don’t want to wear a dress, you can still look chic and adhere to etiquette rules with some alternatives. For example, you might wear:

• Dressy pants with a silky blouse
• Trousers, heels, and a blazer
• Pencil skirt with a satin top

Accessories Complete the Look

By using accessories with your outfit, you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion. In fact, if you wear the classic little black dress, also known as the L.B.D. with different accessories, you can totally choose the mood of the garment. Here’s how:

• For a formal evening, wear bold lipstick, high heels, and glittery jewelry with your L.B.D.
• For a garden party mid-day, wear it with flats, a dressy sweater, and demure earrings.
• For a cocktail party after work, simply wear your dark colored sheath without accessories during the day, and then transform it into evening wear with dressier heels, sparkly jewelry, and a smaller purse.

When you receive an invitation to a semi-formal function, get ready to have fun dressing up. With the appropriate cocktail attire, you can look glamorous and enjoy meeting others who have dressed up for the swanky affair, too.

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