Cocktail Dress Styles: Your Guide to Glam

The quintessential cocktail dress is a must-have for every wardrobe, as these dresses are perfect for many occasions and versatile enough to be dressed up or down depending on your needs. 

While you are choosing a cocktail dress, you might be overwhelmed by the many styles of dress out there. Review our guide to glam as we discuss the most popular cocktail dress styles and point you in the right direction for choosing the most flattering cocktail dress possible.

Different Cocktail Dress Styles to Spice up Your Closet

The following cocktail dress styles are some of the most popular, and choosing a dress with any of these designs can help you spice up your closet with a cocktail dress for every occasion. (Once you’ve picked your favorite styles, we recommend checking out Sherri Hill’s collection.)

One-Shoulder Designs

One-shoulder designs on cocktail dresses are becoming increasingly popular, and you are able to find a wide range of variety with this look. 

One-shoulder designs may have thin or thick straps or even long sleeves that give a unique touch to your cocktail dress. You might also be able to find cocktail dresses with one-shoulder designs that have embellishments on one side, giving a touch of asymmetrical flare.

Strapless Designs

Strapless cocktail dresses are incredibly popular, and this cocktail dress style is often very flattering to the shoulders and décolletage area. Strapless cocktail dresses may be on the shorter or longer side, and they will have either a straight neckline or one that plunges a little more if the dress is on the sexier side.

Fit and Flare Dresses

Fit and flare dresses are similar to mermaid-style gowns, except they tend to flare a little more once they reach past the hip area. This means the top and bodice of the dress are fitted, while the skirt is more loose and flowy. Fit and flare dresses are especially suited for semi-formal events, and they can be a classy upscale look for a wedding or a night out.

Slit Designs

Slits on cocktail dresses bring the drama, and you can find cocktail dress styles with high slits that go up to the upper thigh or ones that stay around the mid-thigh. Typically cocktail dresses with a slit design will have a slightly longer skirt that falls around the knee to give room for the unique slit design in the dress.

Open-Back Dresses

Open-back dresses are a great cocktail dress style if you want a little bit of sexiness in your dress without being too revealing. This cocktail dress style is easily covered up by a jacket when needed, and the front of your cocktail dress may have any number of unique designs such as a variety of necklines and straps or embellishments on the fabric of the dress.

Sweetheart Necklines

Sweetheart necklines are one of the most classic necklines for cocktail dresses due to how flattering they can be. A sweetheart neckline will cup the bust and dip slightly at the cleavage area, adding a hint of sexiness depending on how low the dip plunges. Sweetheart necklines may be accompanied by straps, sleeves, or no straps.

Unique Embellishments

One of the best ways to spice up your cocktail dress style is by choosing a flattering look that comes with embellishments such as sequins, metallic patterns, and lace and embroidery. All of these items may give your cocktail dress a unique look and allow you to stand out every time you wear your cocktail dress.

How Can I Pick the Best Cocktail Dress For Me?

Selecting the best cocktail dress for you depends on several factors, such as your personal taste, which designs are most flattering on your figure, and any specific embellishments you want included on your dress.

The best way to pick a flattering cocktail dress is to pay attention to your body’s shape and select a style that flatters it. Then, select a neckline that enhances your features or shows off your personal style, and, finally, find accessories or dresses with embellishments that make it the perfect outfit for any occasion. 

Where Can I Wear My Cocktail Dress?

Cocktail dresses can be worn to a number of different events and occasions, as long as the dress code is not described as ‘formal’, or the event is not a casual get-together that doesn’t require dressing up too fancy. 

Cocktail dresses are perfect for semi-formal events, and the right cocktail dress might be worn to weddings, parties, holiday gatherings, date nights, and a night out with friends. Accessorize your cocktail dress with jackets, jewelry, and the right shoes to scale your outfit up or down as the occasion calls for.

Selecting the Best Cocktail Dress Style

Choosing a cocktail dress might seem like an overwhelming process, especially if you want to be sure that you select a dress that is both flattering and suitable for many occasions. 

Our style guide above gives you insight into the many different cocktail dress styles out there so you can choose the style best suited to your natural features and personal taste. In no time at all, you’ll have chosen the perfect cocktail dress for any occasion.