The cocktail dress code for women can vary from summer to winter, day to night, and business or pleasure, but there are a few staple pieces across the abundance of sub-categories that every fashion-forward woman should follow when attending a cocktail party. When reading 'what to wear to a cocktail party,' the two usual suspects always appear: simple dress and high-heels. But this fun-loving dress code allows us ladies to push the style boundaries in all the right ways whether it's showing the right amount of leg or pulling off a loud pattern.
There are some obvious ‘don’t’s’ when it comes to the cocktail dress code rules: Shorts and a tank top, for instance, will never be cocktail attire, the same goes for tracksuit pants and denim skirts. But the right pants, blazers, and sparkle all make the ‘do’ list if done the right way.
Here are the perfect cocktail items to add to your wardrobe:
Cocktail dress for women – The sophisticated mini dress
When it comes to cocktail dresses you can afford to get a little daring and show some leg. A mini dress teamed with a high neckline and long sleeves is the perfect cocktail party dress if you want to be both sexy and sophisticated. Don’t forget to try something a little fun and go for a bold colour or pattern.
The perfect cocktail dress to add to your wardrobe is the ruched jacquard mini dress by Rotate via net-a-porter.com, $462.62
Cocktail pants for women – Sleek wide leg pants
If you’re not a dress girl and the event dress code reads ‘cocktail’ never fear – there are acceptable cocktail pants you can wear to such occasions. Ditch the skinny jeans and opt instead for chic wide-leg pant. The cocktail dress code does require a degree of polish, so you should add a blazer and the right jewellery to dress the pants up.
The perfect cocktail pant to add to your wardrobe are the black structure pants by Ginger & Smart, $469
Cocktail tops for women - a blazer top
A blazer isn’t just a staple workwear item, it can also be an appropriate cocktail party top especially if you’re also wearing a wide leg pant to the event. Try a military-inspired slim-cut blazer as a top over your pants and with the right jewellery you’ll be in the perfect cocktail dress attire.
The perfect cocktail top to add to your wardrobe is the That's All crystal-embellished double-breasted blazer by Alice McCall via net-a-porter.com, $490
Cocktail jackets for women – a bright structured blazer
When it comes to cocktail parties try a colourful print or embellished blazer instead of your usual block colour. A structured blazer with a tailored silhouette gives a chic structure to your overall look and is a perfect piece for your cocktail dress wardrobe.
The perfect cocktail jacket to add to your wardrobe is the pink metallic Kyoto Calling Blazer by Manning Cartell, $699
Cocktail shoes for women – statement pumps
When it comes to shoes for a cocktail party you can afford to go a little outrageous. Don’t shy away from bright colours or sparkle especially if you’ve gone for a more simple cocktail party look, make your shoes the statement piece.
The perfect cocktail shoe to add to your wardrobe is the Dover mid-heel pumps by Habbot, $445
Cocktail jewellery for women – a simple short statement necklace
Less is more when it comes to statement jewellery and instead of a big and bulky necklace, you can accessorise your cocktail party dress with a chic fashion-forward look that doesn’t look flashy. A short necklace with a single eye-catching stone will tie together your simple but elegant cocktail party look.
The perfect cocktail necklace to add to your wardrobe is the pearl teardrop necklace from Fairley, $169
Cocktail bags for women – a clutch
A beautiful clutch is a forever piece that can tie together any outfit, and if you read an invite with the words ‘cocktail dress code’ you’ll be wanting the perfect clutch. Whether it's simple in detail or more intricate, a clutch is small enough to not bulk up your outfit but big enough to carry all your essentials.
The perfect cocktail clutch to add to your wardrobe is the rose gold Elmie clutch by From St Xavier, $129