The cocktail party is any social gathering at which cocktails are served. It can cover a wide range of events from a wedding, a work party, a christening or a night party. For this reason, the options for cocktail dresses are also many, although they all tend to focus on the same idea: the dress must be more casual than that for a wedding, but more formal than for an informal gathering such a girl’s night out.
However, each cocktail party is different. Although there are some general guidelines to follow, the specific type of attire appropriate for the occasion will depend on several factors such as the type of celebration, the kind of guests and the time of the party, to name a few.
If you plan on attending your first cocktail party as a couple in the near future and want all eyes on you and your beau, you must know how to dress for the occasion. Before you begin your search for cocktail dresses online, we recommend you to go through this guide on how you can rock the cocktail party look as a couple.
BASIC RULES TO SUCCEED WITH THE COCKTAIL LOOK
Women’s Wardrobe to Attend a Cocktail Party:
- Avoid plunging necklines and skirts above the knee
When going to a cocktail party, you cannot wear anything that involves showing too much skin. As mentioned earlier, the cocktail party is halfway between a formal event and an informal event. Therefore, it is best to avoid plunging necklines and miniskirts and save them for other occasions. If no costume guideline is indicated, you are allowed a certain amount of freedom when choosing your look. You should consider what kind of outfit will be appropriate given the reason for the celebration.
- Choosing the right print
The cocktail dress is characterized as being a semi-formal dress that is valid for most celebrations. It is something between a casual, short dress and an elegant, evening gown, so the choice should be based on the occasion and what best suits your figure in terms of shapes and colors.
When going to a cocktail party, it is best to avoid anything with sequins, glitter and flashy prints. You should also avoid anything too transparent as a cocktail party is about elegance and sophistication. You need to go for something that is decent and high-quality.
- Deciding on the length of the dress
When choosing a dress for any occasion, one major factor to consider is what length will be appropriate. For a cocktail party, the ideal length is around the knee. Depending on the type of event and the time at which it is celebrated, you can go a little above or below the knee, but not too much. You cannot wear a long dress, nor an excessively short one.
- Consider going beyond the dress
Although it is the most common choice, the cocktail dress is not the only option for a cocktail party. Why not go for a nice blouse with a skirt or a two-piece suit for something classy and unique? If it is winter, create a look with your favorite blazer. Just make sure to avoid jeans and wear a nice pair of trousers instead.
- Timing of the event
The timing of the event also needs to be considered when deciding what to wear. For a morning cocktail party, consider softer fabrics in floral prints, pastel tones, and lighter colors. The makeup should also be natural, soft and glowy.
For the evening cocktail, it is more appropriate to wear a single-tone dress, as opposed to the printed options that can be worn in the morning. The makeup can be darker and bolder too. For the evening cocktail, you will find an infallible ally in the Little Black Dress because when combined with the right accessories, it is the perfect option for all occasions, especially at night. Pair it with some nice heels and a clutch and you will be all set!
Moreover, you should take the temperature and place of celebration into account when choosing your dress. If it is an outdoor event, it is best to complete your look with a nice jacket that will keep you warm whilst being fashionable.
Men’s Wardrobe to Attend a Cocktail
Men usually have all their ‘social needs’ covered in a dark suit. It is valid for almost all events and it is a safe option that saves them from many troubles. For any man who is wondering what kind of attire qualifies for a cocktail party, it is similar to the attire you would wear to a business meeting or interview – nothing too fancy but not too casual either. As we said earlier when talking about the female wardrobe, it all depends on the kind of cocktail party. You must also consider the outfit of your partner. You can’t both afford to go for completely different looks i.e. one very formal and the other very informal. You must decide on your outfits together to avoid any contradictions and clashes.
A dark suit with a plain white shirt is always your safest option for a more formal cocktail party. It is best to avoid your tuxedo as it could be too formal. The same goes for the black suit you own – save it for any funeral you might have to attend in the future. Pinstriped suits and bright ties are also not suitable as they can make you look overdressed.
A dark blue or gray suit with minimal accessories is the best option. Whether you wish to wear a tie or not is up to you, but it is better if you do. Also, make sure to wear formal dress shoes like oxfords and socks that match any element of your outfit. Lastly, don’t forget to shave and get your haircut for a neat look.
Cocktail party attire can be a little tricky because there are a wide range of parties that fall into this category, making it difficult to decide what to wear. For any doubts, you can ask the host for clarification on the dress code before you proceed with your dressing choice. The occasion can also give you a clue on what kind of outfit will be appropriate for the party.
The key to success is to seek the middle- ground and avoid anything that is either too formal or too casual. Moreover, try quality fabrics such as satin, linen, wool and cotton, depending on the time of the year in which it is celebrated as well as the time and place of the event.