The Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Attire for Women

With a full menu of “cocktail attire” occasions on your social calendar, it’s hard to know what to wear. Though there are many different options for women’s cocktail attire, the key lies to selecting outfits that aren’t so formal that you would wear to work or too sexy like you would wear to night clubs. So, keep on reading for our ultimate guide to cocktail attire for women.

Formal Cocktail Gown or Dress

cocktail dress with ankle strap sandals

sequin cocktail dress with metallic silver sandals red cocktail dress olive green and navy cocktail dress with pearl clutch metallic halter dress with clutch and classic pumps metallic gold sequin dress with red pumps

When you’re heading to formal cocktail parties, you may opt for formal cocktail dresses are always in style. Most cocktail dresses are knee-length or a bit longer designed to wear at a cocktail party. Like fashion blogger Annabelle Fleur, you may even go for a silk cocktail dress in high-low style to show off your lean legs while keeping your back demure. Cocktail dresses are more elegant and sometimes sexier than dresses designed for casual occasions. So go for silky and shiny fabrics like velvet, satin, silk, as well as sequins, beadworks, metallic, or rhinestones that will add some glam to your party outfit.

Mini or Midi Length Dresses

bronze-dress-with-white-blazer-and-gold-belt metallic silver and black cocktail dress with peep toe boots lace dress with classic pumps floral dress with white pumps

A semi-formal dress is a great choice for any event that calls for wearing cocktail apparel. Save your maxi dresses for summer soirees and opt for a length that feels less dramatic. Like fashion blogger Micah Gianneli, you may simply opt for a black knitted dress that can be dressed up with classy accessories. You can’t go wrong with statement clutch, classy sandals, or a pair of pointy-toe pumps. Also, the tea-length dress has made its way into cocktail party attire. Just be sure to pair your semi-formal dress with dressier accessories, making it appropriate for a cocktail attire.

Sexy Cocktail Dresses

backless dress with red pumps yellow cocktail dress red silk dress with ankle strap sandals metallic green cocktail dress metallic black dress blue halter cocktail dress

Whether you wish to show off your legs, back, cleavage, or midriff, make sure to do it in a classy way. If you opt for a shorter dress, make sure that it isn’t too short. Dressy mini-lengths can work, but you should make sure that the hem is at least as long as the bottom of your fingertips when your arms are by your side. Choose styles that have a dressy design detail, a bit of embellishment, or accessorize to add some glam.

Cocktail-Appropriate Tops and Skirts

black hi low skirt with white top printed skirt with tank top  silk blazer pink matching set with lace up sandals peach-mermaid-skirt-with-mesh-top metallic-gold-skirt-with-black-top. black top with tulle skirt

When wearing separates, keep your top and bottom piece sophisticated and dressy. When choosing a top to wear for a cocktail occasion, look for classy touches that separate the piece from business or casual tops and look for a skirt that complements the top you select. If your top is relatively plain, you can go for a skirt with glamorous features like sequins, beadwork or lace detailing. Like fashion blogger Micah Gianneli, you may opt for a plain tube top and wear it with a brassy gold skirt, or dress up your mesh top with a classy mermaid skirt. If your top has a lot of embellishments, opt for a skirt that is fairly basic, though made in an elegant fabric like velvet or silk. Though a straight skirt is a great choice for a longer top, you can go for something softer with a flowing silhouette to make it party-ready.

Cocktail Suits or Jumpsuits

yellow-suit-with-brocade-pants white lace top with palazzo pants red v neck jumpsuit bandeau-top-and-blazer-with-pants

If you’re a tee-and-jeans type of girl, consider opting for a dressy suit for your next cocktail occasion. With menswear-inspired ensembles and jumpsuits both being so on trend, you can always forgo the dress and impress partygoers with a less conventional choice. However, only go for a tailored and dressy style rather than business like. Like fashion blogger Nicole Warne, you can also opt for dressy trousers with your lace top, being sure to select a dressy style appropriate for the occasion. Palazzo trousers made from a flowing fabric like chiffon are great that pair well with many dressy tops, appropriate for formal occasions.

When thinking about what to wear on your upcoming parties, opt for the ensembles that flatter your shape and reveals your personality. This way, you’ll look more glamorous and confident on your party looks.

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