How To Dress For A Cocktail Party

Have you been invited to a cocktail party and don’t know how to choose your attire? You are definitely not alone in this. Worry not, though. We have compiled a few simple tips that will help you pick the right attire for the occasion. 

Factors to consider when choosing a cocktail attire

The theme of the cocktail

For starters, the host will probably indicate the theme of the cocktail in the invitation. So, your job is a bit easier. Choose your attire, depending on the theme. For example, for a retro cocktail party, you will be required to wear attires that were worn in the ‘60s. If the party is corporate, formal wear will be appropriate.


Dress as per the weather seasons. For example, a floral dress will be appropriate for the spring but not during fall. On the other hand, open-toe stilettos will be suitable for summer but not during the winter. Take advantage of discounts and offer like the Foschini sale specials to improve your wardrobe on a budget. It is definitely far much easier to dress for an occasion if you have a variety to pick from. The beauty of using sales catalogs is that you will save more on your wardrobe purchases. 

Time of the day

Choose your attire depending on the time of the day that the party is being held. If the party is during the day, consider casual attire that is comfortable and relaxed. If the party is in the evening, consider upscale attire for a presentable look. For a lady, you can wear a dress with a stand out accessory 

Do’s and Don’ts when dressing for a cocktail party

Cocktail Attire Tips for Women

  • Do not wear anything that is too revealing instead keep you neckline and hemlines appropriate
  • You do not always have to wear a dress; you can opt for a slim suit. For instance, you can wear a sleek trouser with a waist-length women’s jacket. Alternatively, you can choose to wear tailored trousers along with a detailed top. Ideally, do not wear jeans or denim for a cocktail party.
  • Do not carry an oversized bag but instead opt for a clutch or a mini bag to achieve a refined and elegant look
  • Avoid wearing many accessories. Go for a simple accessory blend 
  • Avoid long gown not unless for a very formal party like white tie parties. Go for a mini or midi dress. Mini dresses are more appropriate for less formal attires.
  • Consider an extra lift through wearing heels for formal parties. You can wear flats if the party is informal but avoid wearing sneakers and the likes.
  • Do not let your undergarment like bra straps show. So, choose the appropriate undergarments.

Cocktail Attire Tips for Men

  • Wear a dark suit and mostly tuxedo for very formal parties. Depending on how official the party is, include more pieces of the suit.
  • For informal parties, wear dark jeans with a sports coat paired up with a dress shirt. Your jeans should be well-fitting. During colder months, you can wear your jeans and a dress shirt with a V-neck sweater. You do not have to wear a tie
  • Loafers are no for cocktail parties. Instead, opt for leather shoes of colors that complement your attire.
  • You can wear a pocket square as an accessory. It should complement your suit. Also, wear socks that match your trousers and let them be long enough to cover your calves when you sit.

Wrap up

That’s it. As you might have noticed, dressing for a cocktail isn’t that difficult, after all. Remember to pick the right attire for the occasion and keep things simple!