What Exactly is Cocktail Attire?

Since COVID-19 swept our nation, many events have gone unattended. Vacations, graduation, and weddings, have all taken a hit as we have attempted to keep ourselves and our family’s safe. As the year comes to a close, many states, and county’s have opened themselves back up to festivities. Although many places will require masks and enforce some social distancing, it won’t be long until we are gathered together at sporting events and formal occasions!

With that said, we want to tackle a questions that might leave you curious the next time you see an invitation to your next business event, wedding or other special occasion! Cocktail attire (sometimes called semi-formal attire)! What exactly is this dress code that so many have heard of but few actually know how to truly wear it out? We hope to answer those questions for both men & women in this entry!

Cocktail Attire for Men – Cracking the Code

Our society today has undoubtedly moved away from the ridged structure of formal attire on a day-to-day basis. You’ll mostly see a business person spend their day in a suit while the rest of men have adopted a more casual or urban wardrobe, valuing function before fashion. But if you are invited to an event with cocktail attire listed as the dress code, a conservative, muted dress code is not quite going to cut it! Cocktail attire is considered on par with your normal business dress code, but it is a bit of a step up!

Here are the essential elements from top to bottom that make a mans outfit, cocktail appropriate:

  • A Dark, Navy, to Mid-Grey suit
  • White Dress shirt
  • A tie or bow tie in a subtle pattern (don’t be afraid to give it some color!)
  • a simple pocket square (try not to match the color of you tie)
  • Over the calf socks
  • Oxford shoes (formal shoe with closed lacing)
  • Also, men, remember to shave, style your hair and smell nice!

Cocktail Attire for Women – Sophisticated Chic

As for women, the lines may not be quite as defined. But one things is for certain, you have more freedom when it comes to creativity of the outfit! You’ll just want to make sure you’re sticking to a few essentials to build on first!

Here are the essential elements from top to bottom that make a mans outfit, cocktail appropriate:

  • A well fitting dress, that finishes at or above the knees
    (fabric choices can include silk, satin, or refined cotton for an elegant look)
  • Stilettos or wide heels (depending on the event, wedges might be acceptable also)
  • Color: seasonal colors are a safe bet, as well as white, black & grey with a subtle pattern
  • Accessories: Anything timeless. Earring/necklace sets, bracelets and rings, again just make sure they’re subtle.

When it comes down to it, why even adhere to a dress code in the first place? Simple, really! Taking the time to acknowledge the dress code for a particular event will show great respect for the host and the event itself; after all, they chose the dress code for a reason and you don’t want to stick out and draw undesired attention to yourself being ill prepared! So the next time you RSVP for a wedding or go out for a semi-formal occasion, remember these tips and essential lists for dressing your best in cocktail attire!