What To Wear To A Cocktail Party

When it comes to cocktail parties there are as many different types as there are hosts and hostesses. When deciding what to wear to a cocktail party, you need to consider several factors, the type of invitation you receive, the location of the party and the number of other guests. Cocktail parties run the gamut from very casual to very formal, all are acceptable and you want to make sure that you are dressed for the type of party you are attending.

If you receive a formal invitation on vellum this is a formal party if it is an email, it is likely casual or dressy. Assume that if it is a charity event that it is most likely to be formal.


You get a phone call from some good friends that they are having a cocktail party in their backyard on a Saturday. You can be quite sure that this will be a casual affair if in doubt don’t hesitate to ask your host or hostess.

For a casual cocktail party, the dress can also be casual. Your best skinny jeans, preferably in black will do well with a dressy top or blouse. Go for a girly look with perhaps a striking piece of silver jewelry to dress it up a notch. For those who prefer a skirt, a pencil skirt can be casual and easily dressed up with a feminine blouse or top. For men, casual slacks or dark jeans are appropriate with a nice shorts shirt or any top with a collar. Ties are not required at casual events. amazon


When you receive an invitation to a dressy cocktail party, you can’t go wrong with your favorite “little black dress”. Keep the accessories simple and tasteful you want to be noticed but not for the wrong reasons. you should opt for that little black dress and some simple but tasteful accessories. Dressy does not mean “formal” so you don’t need to wear a cocktail dress, overdressing is just as bad as underdressing. Dressy slacks with the correct top and accessories can work well. No jeans, however, even dressy ones. For the men, a suit or sports jacket with a tie is the correct way to go. No tuxes, however.


When you are invited to a formal cocktail party which may be work related this is your chance to shine. This is where your shiny and glitzy cocktail dress can really make a statement. Get out those spike heels and that chunky gold necklace, earring and bracelet and really sparkle. A formal cocktail party is a place to wear sequins and dressing to the nines. If you own any real jewels don’t be afraid to show them off. A pair of chandelier earring can finish off a perfect look.

For men, the formal cocktail party is a black tie affair and a tuxedo or dark suit is de rigueur. Especially when these are work related you want to make the right impression.

Receiving an invitation to a cocktail should not worry you. They are great opportunities to meet new people and if business related, make connections that are good for your career.  You want to mix and mingle and make a good impression. If you have any doubt about what to wear, opt for overdressing slightly or just call the host or hostess for confirmation.


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