What is Cocktail Attire?

Cocktail attire is usually described as less formal than formal attire, but not too casual. Similar to but usually slightly less formal than semi formal attire, it typically means a dark suit or slacks and a sport coat for men, and a cocktail dress or nice blouse and skirt for women. What is appropriate to wear when an invitation asks for cocktail attire can vary depending on the location and time of the event. The most important element is that the outfit fits well and looks sharp. There is a range in cocktail attire for women, although there are a few standard guidelines. Hemlines for dresses and skirts are usually relatively short, at or slightly above the knee. Long, dressy pants with a silk blouse or cashmere sweater in the winter could also be appropriate. The traditional choice is a cocktail dress. These dresses can range from strapless and flashy to a more conservative little black dress. It is usually best to choose an outfit that is more elegant than showy, and is not too short or too revealing. Again, the context of the event is important, and it is usually better to be a little conservative than to be too flashy. Typically, cocktail wear is knee length, though if a woman is wearing a simple straight skirt, longer is acceptable. A skirt and jacket or evening suit could be worn to a cocktail event, especially if paired with dressy top. Cocktail attire usually suggests fun, so you should not look like she is going to a business meeting. Cocktail attire is often required for dinner or happy hour events, or nights that will include a broad range of activities, from dancing to award presentations. Knowing the nature of the event can help you determine how formal you should dress. Clothing or shoes that are uncomfortable or make you self conscious are usually not a good choice, as they can make it very difficult to enjoy the event….after all you are there to have a good time!!
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