Parties are one of the best things about summer. But when the invitation says “cocktail attire” as the required dress, it can often cause confusion because “cocktail” can mean many different things. We’re here to give you the ultimate guide for wearing summer cocktail dresses this season!
Time of Day
If the hostess hasn’t given you much more of a hint than “cocktail attire,” the time of day can help guide your selection. If the party is during the day, you can get away with something a little less formal than if it’s to be held in the evening.
“Cocktail” always implies knee length, although it can be below the knee, well above the knee, or even mid-calf. Floor length is often not included in this, but if your floor length dress is casual, then it would apply.
The right accessories can make the overall outfit. For daytime, you’ll want lighter, fresher accessories — saving the glitz for evening. But it’s still a cocktail party, which demands something beyond everyday wear.
Decode 1.8 Don’ts
“Cocktail” means dressy, which rules out jeans, shorts, flip-flops, or regular daily wear. As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs, never wear white or black to a wedding or anything too revealing, especially for weddings held in religious venues.
Decode 1.8 Must-Have’s
Here are a few different kinds of parties you may be attending and a selection of dresses that will fit right in at any of them.
A business-related cocktail party will normally be held immediately after work. This may mean you’ll have to go directly from office to party. In this case, your best bet is to wear your chosen dress to work, covered by a jacket. For the party, remove the jacket, add dressy earrings, heels, switch to a clutch purse, and add a touch more make-up or lipstick to complete the evening look.
For resort wear, you want something airy and trendy. You can get away with not wearing heels if your metallic sandals, or wedges are dressy enough. Try our beaded top fit-and-flare dress in coral chiffon (#182961), inspiring pastel Key West style. Add a silver choker and matching cuff bracelet for the casual-yet-dressy look you’re after.
If you’re surrounded by flowers and seated on outdoor furniture, you can’t go wrong echoing the beauty around you. That means something sweet, cool, or even floral, with little accessorizing needed. A garden party, unless it’s restricted to a patio, means you get to skip the heels. Go with a short thick heel, slide, sandal or wedge.
For a perfect example of what to wear to a garden cocktail party, check out our lace embroidery dress (#184511). Although you could find many occasions to wear it, it was almost made for sipping a mimosa in an outdoor garden setting.
A formal cocktail party demands something sophisticated and sleek. You can’t go wrong in a little black dress with stiletto heels. Our black-lace velvet off-the-shoulder tight sheath dress (#184359), will work perfectly here. Just add dangly earrings and a statement ring.
Be sure to browse our full line of cocktail party dresses. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect look that will make you stand-out at every summer affair.