Christian Dior was ahead of the times when he defined it in the 1940s, but the “cocktail dress” has since evolved to become a trend in women’s fashion. The cocktail dress essentially refers to semi-formal women’s attire, usually worn for an early evening party, a black-tie dinner, or a casual event. Until the 1980s, the cocktail dress was differentiated from evening gowns by its shorter length.
Today cocktail dresses can be any length. Summer colors such as pastels, pale greens, and florals look great at day-time parties, while deeper colors like maroon, brown, navy blue, and indigo look better at evening or winter parties.
Classic cocktail dresses include styles that are off the shoulder, one-shoulder, strapped, strapless, sheath, halter-top, sheer-back, wrap or slip, to bustier dresses and cocktail suits.
Since cocktail dresses are designed to flaunt a woman’s figure, the choice of style depends on the woman’s body type and shape. The black cocktail dress is a must for every wardrobe and can be worn as evening wear in any season.
Women with slim arms should opt for a one shoulder dress, a strapless cocktail dress, or a bustier dress. The wrap dress is a must for the hourglass figure and is as popular as the little black cocktail dress at parties. Strapped dresses and sheath dresses are designed to flatter the figure and work well at summer cocktail parties.
Dresses with asymmetrical cuts are better suited for women who are heavier in the middle. For a Friday night out with friends, it is best to opt for more funky colors and cuts. For afternoon parties, choose cocktail dresses in cotton, linen, or chiffon and save the silk or satin cocktail dress for an evening out.
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