Best Cocktail Dresses For Women In 2022 (For All Occasions &

From Formal Cocktail Dresses For Weddings To Sexy Cocktail Minis For Any Parties

The cocktail dress code is a semi-formal style for women and men, designed for late-afternoon to early-evening events, social gatherings, and similar occasions.

First introduced in the 1940s, cocktail dresses evolved – in terms of style and function – to match people’s current needs and the changing fashion trends.

With new cuts, hemlines, waistlines, and fabrics, cocktail dresses have undergone several changes in style, aesthetic, and functionality over the last century.

Whereas in the past, cocktail dresses were reserved for swanky late-afternoon drinking, nowadays, this dress code is required at most semi-formal social events.

IN THIS ARTICLE

Best Cocktail Dresses In 2022

Wedding Cocktail Dresses

Plus Size Cocktail Dresses

Cocktail Party Dresses

Formal Cocktail Dresses

Petite Cocktail Dresses

Floral Cocktail Dresses

Unique Cocktail Dresses

Maternity Cocktail Dresses

Designer Cocktail Dresses

Sexy Cocktail Dresses

You can see cocktail dresses at evening festivities, theatre, birthday parties, after-work events, get-together occasions, and even professional settings.

There are cocktail dresses according to the occasion, location, time, and the kind of cocktail event you will attend.

In this article, I’ll break down the main types of cocktail dresses and explain the ideal ones for each event, from formal occasions to the beach and back.


1/10
Best Wedding Cocktail Dresses

BLOOMINGDALE’S

Bloomingdales Wedding Cocktail Dresses
Wedding Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

I find it interesting that most women think a little black dress must be the number one choice for a wedding cocktail dress attire.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, opt-in for a super-feminine dress in a light color – highly suitable at any wedding event.

The best materials are silky fabric, lace, or chiffon, made to add an extra charming look and make you feel like a guest of honor at any events, from formal business meetings to daytime weddings.

To finish the look, add a pair of flats and matching accessories for a super stylish vibe apart from the general crowd.

Aqua Red One-Shoulder Long  Cocktail Dress

Aqua Red One-Shoulder Long  Cocktail Dress

$268

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Ralph Lauren Ruffled Off-the-Shoulder Cocktail Dress

Ralph Lauren Ruffled Off-the-Shoulder Cocktail Dress

$155 $77.50

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Eliza J Asymmetric Lace Midi Cocktail Dress

Eliza J Asymmetric Lace Midi Cocktail Dress

$188

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Aqua Sequin Long-Sleeve Cocktail Dress

Aqua Sequin Long-Sleeve Cocktail Dress

$248 $74.33

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2/10
Best Plus Size Cocktail Dresses

MACY’S

MACY'S Plus Size Cocktail Dresses
Plus Size Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Choosing the right plus-size clothing for your plus-size cocktail dress is trickier as it requires understanding angles, colors, and lighting.

While black is always fashionable, shades like navy, burgundy, and emerald green are suitable for curvy bodies.

Select cocktail dresses in flowy, relaxed fabric and unique details to ensure your cocktail dress isn’t too casual or plain.

Complete the look with mid-heeled sandals and a small shoulder bag.

Instead of heavy jewelry, consider wearing a colorful silk headband for a fun touch.

Plus Size Tulip Velvet Sheath Cocktail Dress

Plus Size Tulip Velvet Sheath Cocktail Dress

$79 $29.93

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Trendy Plus Size Ruched Cocktail Mini Dress

Trendy Plus Size Ruched Cocktail Mini Dress

$29

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Trendy Plus Size Side-Tie Cocktail Midi Dress

Trendy Plus Size Side-Tie Cocktail Midi Dress

$39

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Plus Size Embroidered Lace Cocktail Dress

Plus Size Embroidered Lace Cocktail Dress

$139 $68.99

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3/10
Best Cocktail Party Dresses

WINDSOR

WINDSOR Cocktail Party Dresses
Cocktail Party Dresses – thevou.com

Party cocktail dresses stand out from the overall dress code for a good reason, and here’s why.

Party means a relaxed environment where you can play with your style and showcase your unique touch.

Instead of velvet, wool, and cashmere, the best party dresses are made of silk and satin adorned with sequins and feathers.

Consider lighter hues like baby blues, vibrant greens, deep shiny charcoal, and even variations of yellow when choosing the right color.

The same applies to shoes and accessories; the colors must be fresh, young, and complementary.

Chanel Formal Sequin Feather Cocktail Dress

Chanel Formal Sequin Feather Cocktail Dress

$62.90

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Add Some Flair Ruffle Detail Cocktail Midi Dress

Add Some Flair Ruffle Detail Cocktail Midi Dress

$35.90

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Zoey Sleeveless Chiffon Cocktail Party Dress

Zoey Sleeveless Chiffon Cocktail Party Dress

$49.90

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Lola High Slit Satin Cocktail Party Dress

Lola High Slit Satin Cocktail Party Dress

$54.90

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4/10
Best Formal Cocktail Dresses

REVOLVE

REVOLVE Formal Cocktail Dresses
Formal Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Without a doubt, the most suitable cocktail dress for a formal event remains the “little black dress.”

If made from high-quality materials, the little black dress is safe, stylish, and an excellent choice for formal dress code events and occasions.

However, if you’re very comfortable with the event and want to stand out from the crowd, you can wear a formal cocktail dress with a twist, such as a side cut.

Or, if you’re really bold, break the cocktail dress code and wear a short dress paired nicely with sleek accessories for a unique appearance.

NBD Thom Black Midi Cocktail Dress

NBD Thom Black Midi Cocktail Dress

$198

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NBD Monsieur Cocktail Mini Dress

NBD Monsieur Black Cocktail Mini Dress

$218

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Hours Miquela Cocktail Mini Dress

Hours Miquela Emerald Cocktail Mini Dress

$138

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Sabina Musayev Ray Cocktail Dress

Sabina Musayev Ray Long Cocktail Dress

$490

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5/10
Best Petite Cocktail Dresses

ASOS

ASOS Petite Cocktail Dresses
Petite Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Finding stunning cocktail dresses for those with different body types, sizes, and shapes has always been a big problem – not anymore.

In this section, I’ve curated four unique body-inclusive cocktail dresses from the best stores out there; give them a try!

While the overall aesthetic matters, as most petite cocktail dresses are cute naturally, pay attention to the material type and the body proportions.

From the ASOS petite clothing collection, below is a curation of some of the trendiest petite cocktail dresses right now in 2022.

ASOS DESIGN Petite Structured Cocktail Mini Dress

ASOS DESIGN Petite Structured Cocktail Mini Dress

$88

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ASOS DESIGN Petite Sleeve Corset Cocktail Mini Dress

ASOS DESIGN Petite Sleeve Corset Cocktail Mini Dress

$60

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Collective the Label Petite Ruched Cocktail Mini Dress

Topshop Petite Cut Out Satin Cocktail Mini Slip Dress

$56

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Topshop Petite Cut Out Satin Cocktail Mini Slip Dress

Collective the Label Petite Ruched Cocktail Mini Dress

$80

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6/10
Best Floral Cocktail Dresses

ADRIANNA PAPELL

ADRIANNA PAPELL Floral Cocktail Dresses
Floral Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Floral cocktail outfits are lighter than what you might have worn to a winter event; lighter in terms of fabric, color, and the overall feel.

Highly suitable for outdoor parties, floral cocktail dresses are able to meet the dress code requirements while keeping you stylish and trendy.

Floral cocktail dresses symbolize new beginnings, the first flower buds popping up again after a long, cold winter, feeling fresh and rejuvenated.

Just make sure your floral cocktail dresses are made of lightweight fabric with a flattering drape for a lovely look; like those of boho styles.

To complete the outfit, match them with wooden-style block heels and similar chic accessories.

3D Floral Sleeveless Sheath Cocktail Dress

3D Floral Sleeveless Sheath Cocktail Dress

$179

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Floral Embroidered Short Sheath Cocktail Dress

Floral Embroidered Short Sheath Cocktail Dress

$169

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Multi Blue Floral Faux Wrap Cocktail Dress

Multi Blue Floral Faux Wrap Cocktail Dress

$159

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Mult Pink Floral Embroidered Flared Dress

Mult Pink Floral Embroidered Flared Dress

$179

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7/10
Most Unique Cocktail Dresses

ANTHROPOLOGIE

ANTHROPOLOGIE Unique Cocktail Dresses
Unique Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

There are cocktail dresses and cocktail dresses – if you know what I mean.

For example, the category of unique cocktail dresses stands out from the rest by being designed to leave plenty of room for fun.

Designed as eye-catching ensembles, most unique cocktail dresses sport bold patterns, cuts, and materials, as the dresses selected below.

Complete the look with playful earrings and color-matching – comfortable – shoes for a bold and chic look, perfect for swanky vacation events and beach parties.

Ronny Kobo Open-Back Sequin Cocktail Mini Dress

Ronny Kobo Open-Back Sequin Cocktail Mini Dress

$678

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Farm Rio One-Shoulder Fringe Cocktail Midi Dress

Farm Rio One-Shoulder Fringe Cocktail Midi Dress

$275

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Embroidered Lace Cutout Cocktail Maxi Dress

Embroidered Lace Cutout Cocktail Maxi Dress

$270

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Hutch Slim Lace Corset Cocktail Midi Dress

Hutch Slim Lace Corset Cocktail Midi Dress

$248

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8/10
Best Maternity Cocktail Dresses

AMAZON

AMAZON Maternity Cocktail Dresses
Maternity Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Some of the best maternity cocktail dresses pay extra attention to the material type, the level of formality, and not just the style.

Maternity blends the level of formality a bit; thus, you can choose a cocktail dress that doesn’t impede body movement.

If you are unsure what maternity cocktail dresses are trendy in 2022, see my curation below, ideal for formal to festive events and beyond.

Coolmee Green Maternity Cocktail Dress

Coolmee Green Maternity Cocktail Dress

$19.99

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Everly Grey Maternity Cocktail Dress

Everly Grey Maternity Cocktail Dress

$25

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Sparkly Glitter Maternity Cocktail Dress

Sparkly Glitter Maternity Cocktail Dress

$39.99

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Maternal America Maternity Cocktail Dress

Maternal America Maternity Cocktail Dress

$28

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9/10
Best Designer Cocktail Dresses

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE Designer Cocktail Dresses
Designer Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

There are designer cocktail dresses in all styles and types, made to navigate the most challenging events.

Personally, I love designer cocktail dresses as most of them are cut to appear event-appropriate without making you look like you’re heading to the office.

Below I’ve curated four of the most wanted designer cocktail dress styles right now, showcasing a sweet blend of trendy and timeless sophistication.

Finalize the look with a pair of black patent shoes, golden jewelry, bracelets, earrings, and a shoes-matching baguette designer bag.

Carolina Herrera Removable Bubble-Sleeve Minidress

Carolina Herrera Removable Bubble-Sleeve Minidress

$2,990 $1,794

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Christian Cowan Hoodie Sequin Cocktail Mini-Dress

Christian Cowan Hoodie Sequin Cocktail Mini-Dress

$780 $351

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Balmain Plunging V-Neck Cocktail Cocktail Midi-Dress

Balmain Plunging V-Neck Cocktail Cocktail Midi-Dress

$2,395

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Herve Leger Semi-Sheer Ribbed Cutout Minidress

Herve Leger Semi-Sheer Ribbed Cutout Minidress

$1,290 $580

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10/10
Best Sexy Cocktail Dresses

SHEIN

SHEIN Cheap Cocktail Dresses
Sexy Cocktail Dresses – thevou.com

Choosing the right cocktail dress style to ensure sufficient sexiness but without looking like you’re heading to the nightclub can be more complicated than you think.

Some sexy cocktail dresses are more suitable for a “beach dress contest,” while others are too office-like.

What you want in a sexy cocktail dress is the perfect blend of relaxed with precise cuts, complemented by vibrant hues.

Sexy doesn’t mean too revealing, but comfortable, unrestrictive, and well accompanied by shoes and accessories, as the cocktail dresses curated below.

And, to balance the sexiness out of these dresses a bit, wear stylish cocktail shoes, a posh handbag, a statement pearl necklace, and matching earrings.

Sexy Cocktail Attire

SHEIN One Shoulder Black Cocktail Dress

$42

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ADYCE Red Solid Bandage Slip Cocktail Dress

ADYCE Red Solid Bandage Slip Cocktail Dress

$43

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ADYCE One Shoulder Long Cocktail Dress

ADYCE One Shoulder Long Cocktail Dress

$48

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Dobby Mesh Sleeve Square Neck Cocktail Dress

Dobby Mesh Sleeve Square Neck Cocktail Dress

$15

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Complete Your Cocktail Dress

While cocktail dresses for women are not strictly conservative, they must be reserved and sophisticated.

Falling between business casual and black-tie formal, the cocktail attire for women comprises not only cocktail dresses but also shoes and accessories.

The entire cocktail attire, from the dress to the bag, must showcase a nice blend of formal with smart casual and elegance with comfort.

The Cocktail Shoes

Cocktail Shoes
Cocktail Shoes – thevou.com

Like everything else in the overall cocktail attire, cocktail shoes should be a nice balance of fancy and casual.

Leave your boots and sneakers at home and wear a little dressier and formal shoes.

This being said, wearing tall stilettos would be overkill, so a simple pair of heels or mules are ideal for bestowing your look with a sophisticated finish.

Choose cocktail shoes in neutral colors such as black, nude, or navy.

Sandals or pump-style heels are equally subtle, stylish, and perfect accompaniments to any cocktail dress.

The Cocktail Accessories

Cocktail Accessories
Cocktail Accessories – thevou.com

Accessories that match your cocktail attire are an excellent way to showcase your personality but try without going over the top.

Avoid too much jewelry or too many statement pieces that could detract from your overall ensemble. After all, a cocktail party is not Cinderella’s ball.

Try to match two statement pieces of jewelry, such as a necklace with a hair accessory, or earrings with a couple of ultra-thin bracelets, to catch people’s attention without taking away from the rest of your outfit.

Finally, choose a clutch or small purse that color matches your shoes rather than your dress, and no matter what you do, don’t bring along your work bag.

Cocktail Dresses FAQs

What is Considered a Cocktail Dress?

Any semi-formal dress designed to be worn at late-afternoon or early-evening social gatherings, events, or occasions can be considered a cocktail dress.

The style of a cocktail dress must answer to the transitory space between casual daytime wear and fancy evening wear.

Is Cocktail Attire Short or Long Dress?

The cocktail attire dress code requires cocktail dresses to be knee-length and designed to be worn at late-afternoon or early-evening social gatherings, events, or occasions.

Does Cocktail Mean Short Dress?

No, a cocktail dress is an outfit designed for afternoon-evening semi-formal events and occasions.

As such, it is a blend of casual and sophistication. The ideal length of a cocktail dress is knee-length.

What is Cocktail Casual Wear?

A small step above semi-formal, though not as formal as the dresses for a black-tie event, cocktail dresses confer a balance between elegant and comfortable.

The typical cocktail dress is more formal than a day wedding but more casual than a night celebration.

Conclusion

There you have it, all types of cocktail dresses, by season, location, and style.

But, regardless of the event type, season, or location, remember that there are strict rules for the cocktail dress code, as you’ve seen in the article above.

These rules come from the origin of the cocktail dress, designed in the late 1940s by Christian Dior, as attire intended to fill the space between casual daytime and fancy evening wear.

Aimed as a cocktail hour outfit, the cocktail dress must be dressier than the daytime outfits and a bit more casual than any formal diner black-tie ensemble.

Compared to the black and white tie dress, the cocktail dress code allows room for a personal style, with bold accessories, airy fabrics, and dressy flats.

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Now it’s your turn…

Which one of these cocktail dresses is your favorite and why?

Which cocktail dresses do you think we’ve missed and should include in our next article update?

Please leave your comments below; we always appreciate your comments and use them to learn, improve, and update these articles.

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