Cocktail dresses might have once been saved for a corporate function or night involving cosmopolitan, but they’re no longer just reserved for a cocktail party. You can wear ’80s silhouettes and colourful sequins to weddings, work parties and (very soon) all the Christmas events in your diary. The return of the cocktail dress is down to some of the newest designers on the block: Magda Butrym, Attico and Rixo, just to name a few. Modern and structured styles simply make the wearer feel amazing, which is exactly what you want from a dress.
If an invite does come your way for an actual cocktail party, you’ll want to know what this dress code means. A cocktail party is a formal event, and therefore you must be suitably dressed in nothing too revealing. Traditionally, this dress sits just below the knee but not quite to the floor. With that said, there has been a substantial rise in the mini–cocktail dress thanks to labels like Isabel Marant and Magda Butrym. So if it has sleeve details and or a high neck, you’re likely to get away with it sitting above your knee. The term “cocktail” usually gives the go-ahead to go all out with prints, textures, fabrics and embellishment. As long as the cut is suitable, go all-out in your design. Think sequins, feathers, buttons… We want it all.
There has never been a better time to shop for a cocktail dress, so shop our edit of the best below.