Cocktail dresses are the go-to pieces for a range of occasions. Whether you’re gearing up for a new season’s refreshed social calendar or getting ready to celebrate the holiday season, cocktail dresses will help you look chic and put your best fashion foot forward. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect little black dress, a fun floral print, or a flattering midi design, our edit of the latest trends has you covered.

The Right Cocktail Dress

As a general rule of thumb, cocktail dresses are designed to be fun but tasteful. They’re typically mid-length, falling below the knee and above the ankle. They also tend to be somewhat fitted. This creates a figure-flattering silhouette, but doesn’t restrict movement, which is important since you’ll be dancing the night away.

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the type of dress you should wear for a cocktail party, including backless and ruffled designs, illusion necklines, and more. You can also find cocktail dresses in a variety of colors, such as rose gold, bold teal, or fiery red. The key is to find a color that suits your complexion and complements the tone of your skin.

Besides finding the right cocktail dress, you’ll want to consider how formal the occasion is. Cocktail attire is generally reserved for more upscale gatherings, so you’ll likely want to skip the casual sundress and opt for something a bit more formal. You may even want to add a layer or two depending on the weather and the time of year.

The best cocktail dresses will look great with a pair of heels or fancy flats and some gleaming accessories. Ideally, the shoes should match or complement the dress in some way. This is particularly true if you’re going with a bright-colored dress. A chic off-the-shoulder dress, for example, would work well with a pair of metallic heels and silver earrings.

Another good tip is to avoid wearing a tie with your cocktail dress. While ties were standard attire for many formal events, they’re no longer as necessary as they once were. In fact, you could probably get away with not wearing one at all if the event isn’t overly formal and you’re a woman who can pull off a no-tie look without any issues.

With all the options out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when shopping for a cocktail dress. To help you narrow down your selection, we asked a number of industry experts for their expert tips on the best cocktail dresses to suit every budget, body shape, and occasion. From the best cocktail dress for a pear-shaped body to the best cocktail dress for women over 50, we’ve got you covered.

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