What does cocktail dress code mean?

January 13, 2022

What does cocktail dress code mean?


You've just received an invitation to the event of the year, super exciting! Next step, check out the event details and you find out the dress code is cocktail. This ambiguous dress code can leave most of us a little unsure what "cocktail" actually means and second-guessing what to wear. In this modern-day, it certainly feels like lines are blurred and left to interpretation. The cocktail dress code tows a fine line between smart casual and black tie, infamously difficult to execute.

So, what does cocktail dress code mean? To be honest it depends on a few factors. It can depend on the event itself, the time of day, the weather, and even cultural factors. We decided to put together a guide to help you pull together the perfect outfit for your next cocktail occasion.


What does cocktail dress code mean for your event? We suggest to consider the following points which may help you better understand what's expected.

Know Your Host-

Knowing your host is certainly one of the best indicators of approaching their dress code. Take into consideration their own style, culture and go from there. So, keep your host in mind when styling your outfit.


Location, Location, Location-

The country and location of your event will certainly influence what the dress code implies. Consider some destinations like Paris or Milan may be more formal than other places with a more relaxed vibe may have a less-formal approach to cocktail dressing.



Check the weather & time of day-

The weather and the time of day for when the event is planned certainly will influence what you should be wearing. If it's a daytime summer event, then this would lend towards a slightly more relaxed vibe and may not require a heavy suit and dressy gown.


Make note of the venue-

Check the venue of your event. It may be at a posh inner-city establishment which lends towards a dressier cocktail-formal look or it may be a cocktail garden party where a stunning floral summer dress might be the perfect option. Really it comes down to whether it's cocktail-causal or cocktail-formal?


Guideline to cocktail dressing for women

Dress length is important. For those who tend to be more practical and opt for comfort, the cocktail dress code doesn't require us to wear a floor-sweeping gown, though if you want to you absolutely can, it is the modern age after all. In saying that for cocktail attire we say find a balance between floor length and mini, opting for something in-between. A midi is a great option for this occasion, keeping things sleek and sophisticated is key.

You don't have to specifically wear a dress. It's perfectly acceptable, to opt for jumpsuits, suiting and knee-length skirts. Especially if you want to stand out in a crowd of midi-length dresses.

Go for colour, pattern and textures. Be bold and playful when it comes to playing with colour, cut and embellishments. This is a great way to add a little glamour or tone things down depending on your dress length or silhoutte.

Shoe selection is very important. As we know, the right shoe can make your outfit. Similarly, the wrong shoe choice can throw an otherwise perfect cocktail look askew. For such events, a heel is always required- unless specified by the host. That being said, you don't have to dust off those 4inch heels in the back or your wardrobe, a sweet kitten heel will also do the job.

Opt for a clutch. A clutch is the classiest option when deciding on what style of bag to use. You could also go for a shoulder bag if the tone is right. Much like your garment choice, keep your bag choice sophisticated and sleek.

No rules when it comes to accessories. Get creative. You could choose one area of the body to accessorise and make it a statement piece or you could layer multiple accessories or pieces of jewellery. The key with a cocktail dress code is to look dressed up without wearing a ballgown.

Undergarments can be your bestfriend. There's a huge selection of undergarments that can help you absolutely nail your cocktail outfit. Go for nudes and seamless cuts that will enhance and flatter your body. You want these to fit you like a glove so you're comfortable all night long.

Cocktail Outfit Ideas


Also in News

Our Brands : Meet Fairley
Our Brands : Meet Fairley

June 24, 2022

Introducing Fairley to O'Briens Clothing Co. The Australian designed jewellery is made up of classic pieces that have been re imagined with a contemporary feel.

Continue Reading

Winter Knitwear Must-Haves
Winter Knitwear Must-Haves

June 22, 2022

With the cooler weather well and truly here it’s time to dust off that Winter staple, knitwear! If you’re in need of a knitwear wardrobe update we’ve compiled a list of our essential knit purchases for the season.

Continue Reading

Winter Jacket Essentials
Winter Jacket Essentials

June 17, 2022

Winter is well and truly here so now is the perfect time to invest in a new Winter Coat. We have compiled our top picks this Autumn Winter, from puffers to classic coats we’ve got you covered.

Continue Reading