How to dress for a cocktail party


Are you invited and do you wonder how to dress for a cocktail party? Great! we all love cocktail parties and you will soon find out that dressing for a cocktail party is not as hard as you might think. If you apply these tips on what to wear to a cocktail party and if you let yourself be inspired by these fabulous examples of cocktail party outfits you will look stunning at the party you're about to attend!


This white cocktail dress Selena Gomez is wearing is perfect for a cocktail party! It's so simple but elegant, we love it. A plain dress always works great because you can wear it with stunning high heels and beautiful accessories!

  • Earrings: Serendipidity
  • Shoes: Sergio Rossi
  • Bracelet: Fine Jewellery Making
  • Clutch: Diane von Furstenberg

How to dress for a cocktail party

  • A cocktail party is a party where cocktails are being served. Cocktail parties have a specific dress code for women. Formally, as the name says it, women are supposed to wear cocktail attire. A cocktail dress is a knee length dress that ranges from just above the knee to just under the knee. The dress can also be tea length, in this case the dress is just above the ankle.
  • Our advise according cocktail dresses is that you choose an elegant gown in a dressier fabric that is flattering on your body. On a cocktail party you don't want to look too exposing.
  • Wear colors that match with your skin tone. Darker colors will look more formal than lighter colors. A little black dress can look really chic an can be glamoured up with accessories. Other colors can also be stunning, look seasonal colors for inspiration.
  • Combine your dress with some dazzling high heeled pumps or open sandals in a color that matches with your gown. 
  • Never wear a large bag but go for a small and elegant evening bag. If your dress is in a basic color like black you can also choose to let your shoes or your bag stand out by letting it be in a bright color.
  • Go for some eye catching jewelry, especially if you wear a simple gown. Wear for example a beautiful silver or golden bracelet with some flashy earrings. a beautiful necklace is also an option, in this case don't let your earrings be big and make sure that the necklace doesn't compete with your neckline.
  • Put some effort in your hair and put some makeup on. During evening events your makeup can be more dramatic. Make your eyes or your lips pop out while still looking natural.

Fabulous examples of cocktail party outfits

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears a beautiful black and yellow cocktail dress. Wearing a dress in a colorful print is a great way to make your appearance more fun!

  • Shoes: Christian Louboutin
  • Lipstick: L'Oreal color riche, true red
  • Clutch: Acne
  • Earrings: Polyvore 

Kelly Ripa looks great in this black cocktail dress! A little black dress is always a safe cocktail party outfit because it makes every woman look beautiful! Make sure you choose a nice fabric and combine it with some fancy high heels and jewelry and you're good to go!

  • Accessories: Swarovski
  • Clutch: Nanette Lepore
  • Shoes: Casadei

Relevant tips and ideas on how to dress for a cocktail party

  • Check out the parties in the navigation bar for more specific parties.
  • Wonder what to wear to a party? Just return to howtodressforaparty.com and check out our newest updates, pictures and information about your next party look!