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What to wear to a cocktail party: The women’s guide

April 18th, 2017


Cocktail parties are the epitome of class and luxury.

The food, the bubbles, the general atmosphere – it’s all a dazzling time.

The fine-tuned details of appropriate cocktail party wear can be fraught with a potential faux pas.

Location, theme and occasion all factor into your outfit decision.

For men it’s easy – they can just slap on a nice shirt and pants and walk straight out the door. We’ve even written a guide for men on what to wear to a cocktail party.

Women face a tougher challenge.

Expectations are higher.

Options are endless (or non-existent).

We want to help you reduce that pre-party panic with a few handy tips for what to wear to a cocktail party.

 #1. Dress for the season

It may be tempting to bring out the flowy maxi dress in the icy depths of winter.

After all, everyone loves some of those sunshine feels, right?


Those short skirts and sandals belong in the summer. You’ve got to move on to season-appropriate attire in winter.

This rule applies to cocktail-party wear too.

Invest in a nice cocktail-appropriate outfit for each season (or just one for the cooler months, one for the warmer) and you’re good to go.

Choose your outfit based on the examples below, taking into account your skin tone and preferences.

Picking outfit colours by the season

The most important rule – dress for the weather.

Closed toe heels and cosy jackets are perfect in winter, while open toe sandals and short dresses are better for the warmer nights.

Check your phone on the day of the event to get a heads up on any potential rain or wind. This one tactic could save you a wardrobe malfunction disaster.

#2. Remember the occasion

They say the devil is in the detail, and outfit planning is the perfect example.

A cocktail party at someone’s house will definitely call for a different outfit to an event held at a bar or function venue.

Not to mention the reason for the party – your grandmother will have a different idea of ‘cocktail dress’ than your best friend.

General rules to cocktail dress

  • Length varies between mid-thigh to mid-calf.

Go too far under and you risk an uncomfortable public viewing of your nether regions, too far over and you could look too formal or prudish. It’s a tough line to straddle.

  • Colours are important.

Choose the right shade for your skin tone and the season.

  • Dress in what you love.

Remember, you’re going to be walking around and possibly dancing. Dress in clothes you love. When you feel awesome, you’ll be killing it no matter where you go.

#3. Accessorise

Accessorising is the easiest way to bring your finery to the next level.

It’s also the best way to reinvigorate an outfit (no one will ever accuse you of outfit repeating).

Tips for accessorising your cocktail party outfit

  • Jewellery is your friend.

Drop earrings, chunky necklaces, and stacked rings are perfect for embellishing a plain outfit.

  • Shoes can be the star of the outfit.

If you’re wearing a plain LBD or jumpsuit, go crazy with some stunning heels.

  • Never bring a bag bigger than a clutch.

Unless you can store a bag – ditch it. Bring a classy clutch, or make it a statement piece in your outfit.

If you’re looking to host a cocktail party that will impress your friends and family – contact Hunter294. We have a variety of spaces available to suit any event.


Image Source: Pexels