32 answers

How to Dress for a Cocktail Party

My husband and I are invited to a surprise 40th birthday cocktail party. I've never been to a party that is specifically called a "cocktail party" and not sure how to dress. The invitation doesn't say anything about dress code, but am I supposed to dress up or at least nicer?
I don't go to too many parties and I was hoping that some of you guys can help me.
I don't have money to buy something fancy to wear for that day or own anything fancy other than a few black dresses that barely fit me and seems too fancy.
As always, thank you all!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Cocktail Party.

Classic Black knee length cocktail dress. Strapy High Heels.
Accessories, New Hair Cut, evening makeup and something smokin underneath for the after Birthday celebration! :) By then end of the evening -- who cares who's Birthday it is anyway. Have fun.

1 mom found this helpful

J. C~
I'd wear something slinky sexy for the party, and my husband, as it is a date! It's a 40th bday coctail party so dress up but be fun, not conservative! Ross has inexpensive, fun dresses for $30 and under.
Have fun!
L. in Collegeville
butterflylindamarie at yahoo dot com

1 mom found this helpful

Funny, Real Simple had an article about this very thing in last month's issue. Their advice was, since cocktail party can mean lots of things these days, to ask the hostess when you RSVP what the attire is or what she plans to wear. They then said, if you don't feel comfortable asking, you can't go wrong with black pants or skirt with a nice blouse or sweater, tastefully accessorized. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Dress code for a cocktail party is semi formal. Its is normal for a lady to wear a knee length to mid calf length dress. Anything longer or shorter falls out of the cocktail dress range. Mid v-neck and scoop necks are common on a cocktail dress. You want to be mildly sexy, but totally lady! Kitten heels (1 inch) to 2 inch heels are still acceptable, as are flats. Jewelry is worn, normally pearls or a signature piece.

How to keep costs down:
depends on your style
1. Shop 2nd hand/vintage stores for a great dress that looks great and is budget friendly. Go with no expectations of what to find as far as color. Be open to try a new style of dress. A great dress for all figures is a jersey wrap dress. Shirt waist dresses (think the 50's) are awesome too.
2. Don't like vintage? try H&M or other lower cost importers.
3. pearls,pearls,pearls......nuff said
4. should you decide to skip the pearls, try a chunky cocktail ring that yuo get from a fashion store or 2nd handstore
5. borrow from a friend, chances are that you have a girlfriend that bought or has a dress that suits your needs and will fit you. I know most women have several sizes in their closet- things that fit and they outgrew, but are still great!

These are just some basic ideas. I hope that you find a rockin' outfit and have a great time at your party!

2 moms found this helpful

Make Up, Hair, Heels. If you've got jewelry or skirts or dresses all the better, but with nice make up, hair and non-casual shoes, you will have done well enough. Don't worry about being too dressy, but if you wear a dress, play down the rest (less make up and hair) and you won't feel overdone. Most importantly-don't wear casual shoes, your whole posture and attitude will seem less formal. Don't wear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or awkward (like dresses that barely fit) :). If you can, pick up a new blouse or something you will wear again-wear it with skirt or slacks, and remember, heels!

1 mom found this helpful

Funny, Real Simple had an article about this very thing in last month's issue. Their advice was, since cocktail party can mean lots of things these days, to ask the hostess when you RSVP what the attire is or what she plans to wear. They then said, if you don't feel comfortable asking, you can't go wrong with black pants or skirt with a nice blouse or sweater, tastefully accessorized. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

I say go for one of your black dresses. If they are a little snug, try a good pair of "all over support" pantyhose. Also, you'd be suprised what you can find in the store for even a few bucks. Wal-mart and Target even have really cute, black, cocktail dresses, some for as little as $20. For women, it's all about your accessories. Do your hair really nice, and put on nice costume jewelry with a nice shoe and you are good to go. Have fun and remember, you attitude of confidence will also dress you up!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

When I hear 'cocktail party', I think of little black dress. But with it being fall now you could always do some nice autumn colors. I would go with dressy casual, no jeans. And accessorize...a nice bag, earrings and necklace can do a world of difference to an outfit. And if you would like to buy something new but don't want to spend much money, try a consignment shop. 'Wears Like New' is a great one. I can always find really nice designer clothing for a good price. And on Fridays they have 20% off your purchase if you pay with cash. Hope this helps. Take care and God Bless. Enjoy the party.

~T.~

1 mom found this helpful

Dont stress too much, be comfortable and have a good time! :) The last wedding we attended I noticed that people just dont get as dressed up as they used to. 2 people were wearing jeans!

One of your black dresses - the one that you are the most comfortable in, or even a pair of nice pants and a dressy blouse would be fine (I think you can dress anything up with a pair of dress shoes and jewelry). ENJOY!

1 mom found this helpful

I have always found that a simple black skirt and either a blouse or sweater fits in anywhere. You can dress up the look with special jewelry instead of taking a chance on having your whole outfit be too fancy! :-) If you like to have an extra layer, you can combine a blouse with a simple sweater or jacket/blazer.

1 mom found this helpful

Check out sec hand shops or something like that. Even Goodwill has some nice dresses that are not that much. I know the feeling when it comes to dressing for an invent. I had to go to a think it was a 50th wedding anv. They where redoing there vows. I didn't find out till i got there that everyone was wearing black dresses and i had on an ivory and gold dress. Anyway. I was comfarble and is was a nice change from eveyone else. Just stop take a deep breath and wear what u think will look good on u and next to ur other half.

1 mom found this helpful

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