Cocktail Dresses for Women

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A cocktail dress  is the go-to garment for a variety of social events. From work parties to wedding receptions, women need cocktail dresses for formal and semiformal events. However, shopping for a cocktail dress can be frustrating if one has no starting point or frame of reference. Some may tend towards the same old classic [...]


A cocktail dress  is the go-to garment for a variety of social events. From work parties to wedding receptions, women need cocktail dresses for formal and semiformal events. However, shopping for a cocktail dress can be frustrating if one has no starting point or frame of reference. Some may tend towards the same old classic look they have always worn while others may blindly follow the latest trend, regardless of whether it suits their body type. Neither approach is ideal.Here gives six tips on achieving a personal style that suits one’s body while aiming for the greatest versatility in cocktail dresses.

Tip 1: Choose a Dress That Emphasizes Best Features

Many people concentrate on hiding the things they are self-conscious about. This usually results in a look that reflects their insecurity. Instead, one should highlight one’s best features. Different cocktail dresses highlight different parts of the body. When choosing a cocktail dress, pay attention to what it highlights. Dresses that end a few inches above the knee showcase shapely legs, while low necklines draw attention to a graceful profile or bust. For this reason, choose a cocktail dress that draws attention to one main feature. There should be a focal point to the whole outfit, whether it draws attention to the face, the bust, the waist, or legs. The focal point can even be a fantastic smile. Draw attention to the face by wearing large earrings and a simple, classic dress style. The table below gives some ideas on making one’s best features stand out.

It is also important to know one’s body shape and dress accordingly. A cocktail dress should both de-emphasize one’s least flattering features and highlight the best features. However, there is a clear difference between those who are just trying to hide their bad features (a kind of fashion “damage control”) and those who feel good about the positive aspects of their look.

Tip 2: Accessorize a Cocktail Dress With Care

Many people think that accessorizing means wearing all the accessories that match a certain dress. Accessorizing is actually a key to achieving a certain look, and a cocktail dress can change dramatically based on the accessories one wears. When buying a cocktail dress, imagine it with large earrings, glittery lipstick and several bangle bracelets for a glamorous look. Then imagine it with low-key make-up, dangling earrings, and more formal heels for an evening look. Many beautiful cocktail dresses are this versatile. Ask the following questions when shopping:

  • Can it be worn with both gold and silver jewelry?
  • How many colors of shoes and handbags will match?
  • How many styles of shoes can be worn with the dress? From Grecian sandals, clunky heels, wedges, stilettos, platform shoes, boots, one should consider all the shoes in one’s wardrobe.
  • Would it look good with a clutch purse, a tote, different kinds of handbags?

 Tip 3: Pay Attention to Cocktail Dress Length

Petite women can achieve the illusion of height by wearing shorter dresses. In fact, they should avoid dresses that fall as far as the calf as this is out of proportion with their height and make them look even shorter.

An empire waistline,  which starts just under the bust as opposed to the natural waist, also creates an impression of length, even in a dress that ends at the knees. This is a very attractive option for petite women who want to look taller, but be aware that it is a very popular cut for maternity dresses and blouses.

Taller women have more flexibility in dress length. However, very tall slim women should go for a balanced look by not wearing dresses that are too short.

Tip 4: The Little Black A-Line

Everyone has (or should have) a little black dress that can function in a variety of situations, formal and informal. The most versatile and universally flattering of the LBDs (Little Black Dresses) is a little black A-line dress. An A-line dress starts with a slim bodice and widens or flares starting at the waist or hip, creating an “A” shape. Why is this design so versatile and flattering? First of all, it downplays the stomach and hips, which are problem areas for many people. Second, it fits closely at the shoulders and bust, emphasizing the feminine figure. It can be cinched at the waist for those who have an hourglass figure or left loose for pear-shaped figures. Women with apple shapes can create an hourglass look with a larger flare, and boyish slim shapes can still achieve a feminine look with a slight flare at the hips.

Tip 5: Dress It Up and Dress It Down

Today, cocktail dresses are not just for evening parties. They can be dressed up for receptions and other formal evening events and dressed down for the daytime. A cocktail dress is dressed down by pairing it with other garments that are more casual. For example, show just the bottom of a cocktail dress by wearing it with a cardigan, pashmina, or a casual blazer. Boots and leggings also take down the formality a notch.

On the other hand, there are some common mistakes made when wearing a cocktail dress to a formal event. One accessory to avoid with eveningwear is the large handbag. The more formal the event, the smaller the handbag should be. If in doubt, use a clutch purse.

A versatile cocktail dress can be worn in formal and semiformal occasions, in the daytime as well as the evening, just by pairing it with different shoes, jewelry, handbags, and makeup. Casual or daytime accessories include large handbags, glam jewelry, and casual shoes. Cotton, linen, and jersey dresses are generally only worn casually. Characteristics of formalwear include clutch purses, darker colors, longer hemlines, and muted jewelry. Satin, silk, and velvet are all formal dress materials. Cocktail dresses that can be worn in many different situations may be made of chiffon, polyester, or cotton blends.

Tip 6: Control the Cocktail Dress

Last but not least is the adage “Wear it and do not let it wear you.” While crazy colors and patterns, like animal print, routinely make a comeback, these trends should never persuade a woman to wear colors or prints that simply do not match her skin tone or hair color. Not only is it important to look at skin tone and hair color when choosing colors, but one should also keep one’s height and figure in mind. Petite women in particular can be overwhelmed by a loud print or pattern. Solid colors are a safer bet, but make sure the color is complementary. Of course, a screaming pink cocktail dress will not look right on everyone but neither will a staid brown. Slim women with dark hair can look gaunt or bony in dark colors.

Finding colors that are complementary to one’s skin tone is an art in itself. To make it simpler, when shopping for a cocktail dress, it is a good idea to ask oneself the following question: Are people likely to think, “She looks beautiful,” or “That dress looks beautiful”?

This does not mean one should always play it safe by wearing only dresses that do not stand out in any way. However, one should attempt to express a certain personal style that is always expressed, even in the craziest choice of fabric, print, or accessories. Those who try to mimic a trend without actually liking the look usually end up looking like their clothes are wearing them.

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