The Official Dos and Don'ts of Cocktail Attire

From black tie to cocktail attire, dress codes are something people don't talk about enough. The number of grey areas regarding what and what not to wear are endless. Today, we are here to talk all things cocktail sans the drinks (unfortunately). Believe it or not, there may be rules you've broken at least once in your lifetime, but that's all about to change.

Ahead we give you the dos and don'ts of cocktail attire. Some of these rules might be obvious, and others will make you drop your jaw as you remember a time or two when you were guilty of breaking them. And as always, in addition to our cocktail attire commandments, we show you where to shop the pieces that will ensure you're always dressed appropriately.

Keep reading to discover the dos and don'ts of cocktail attire.

Don't: Wear Anything Too Revealing

Do: Keep Hemlines and Necklines Appropriate

A great rule of thumb here is to not wear something you would not want your boss to see you in. A cocktail party is different from a girls' night out.

Don't: Wear Jeans 

Do: Wear Sleek Trousers

Even if you aim to dress up a pair of denim (and are successful at it), risking being underdressed is never worth it. However, no one said you had to wear a dress to be dressy—polished trousers are just as effective.

Don't: Carry an Oversized Bag

Cocktail dressing: Maria Bernad



Do: Use a Clutch

Nothing looks sloppier than a huge slouchy tote bag slumped over your shoulder—especially alongside a nice dress. A clutch or a small pouch bag always reads as elegant and refined.

Don't: Show Up in Wrinkled Garments

Do: Use a Steamer

Despite the colour or material of your clothing, wrinkles are always noticeable and look sloppy. Using a steamer is one of the best ways to get rid of wrinkles and it's the fastest.

Don't: Wear Too Many Statement Accessories

Cocktail dressing: Stephanie Broek




Do: Choose One Standout Accessory

Even Coco Chanel recommended taking off one accessory before you leave the house, and when she speaks, we listen. Your best bet is choosing one standout item that you really love.

Don't: Wear a Floor-Length Gown

Do: Wear a Mini or Midi Dress

There is such a thing as going too formal. The time to wear a floor-sweeping gown is not at a cocktail party. Opt for anything between a mini- and midi-length dress or skirt.

Don't: Wear Sneakers

Do: Wear Heels

Whether it be stilettos, kittens or block heels, a little extra lift is necessary when it comes to a more formal event. If notable enough, a pair of flats might work, but sneakers are a no-go.

Don't: Overlook Underwear

Do: Wear the Correct Undergarments

Going the extra mile and making sure that your bra straps, slips or shapewear are correct for your cocktail outfit is almost as important as not wearing sneakers. Once again, letting a detail like that slip results in a sloppy overall appearance.

This one should be obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people keep rubber bands on their wrists, even at elegant events. Before stepping out the door, swap your hair tie for a sleek bracelet.

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Opening Image: @eniswardrobe

Next up, the biggest S/S 20 fashion trends you need to know. 

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