The Ultimate Guide For Shopping For Cocktail Dresses

Cocktail dresses are a simple but elegant choice for pretty much occasion. Weddings, work parties, clubs, and other casual or formal events warrant a stylish cocktail dress, so we’ve put together this handy guide for those who don’t know where to start. With so many styles and retailer options available, it can be a bit overwhelming to search for your first or your hundredth cocktail dress. Follow this guide, and you’ll find the perfect dress to add to your wardrobe to wow everyone at your next gathering.

Choose the Right Retailer 

Perhaps the biggest consideration for buying a cocktail dress is the retailer you choose. With so many retailers available, which ones are the best? The truth is, a cocktail dress is a cocktail dress; you simply need to choose between styles and high or low-end clothing. If you’re looking for designer plus size cocktail dresses, sites like 11 Honore or ELOQUII are a good place to start. If you’re on the thinner side, you can visit Macy’s or other clothing outlets and find a good cocktail dress for an affordable price. 

Retailers offer hundreds of cocktail dress options, and prices will vary from outlet to outlet. Choosing a good brand with a reputation for quality ensures that the fabric will hold up to normal wear and tear, and also that the dress will fit correctly. There are dozens of new online retailers that have developed clothing options for plus size gals, so you won’t have to waste your time searching through department store racks looking for something stylish in a size 22. 

Know Your Size and Shape 

Of course, choosing the right retailer also means you have to know your exact size and shape. Are you a pear-shaped size 20, or more rectangular? Knowing your size will help you choose the right fit, but knowing your shape will help you choose the right style. You want your cocktail dress to be stylish and comfortable, or else you’re defeating the purpose of the dress to begin with. 

You can have measurements taken at pretty much any clothing outlet, or you can do it yourself at home. It’s usually a good idea to have a second pair of eyes to check your work if you’re measuring yourself, as we tend to flatter ourselves when measuring and round down. You want as close to an exact measurement as possible so that your cocktail dress won’t require any adjustments after you purchase it. 

Different Styles 

Once you know your size, shape, and preferred retailer, you’ll need to choose a style. Cocktail dresses come in various sizes, but we’ve included details on just a few for the sake of providing a general idea of what’s available. These options are great for both plus size ladies and smaller sizes. If you’re looking for great plus size clothing, try plus size designer fashion from 11 Honore, an online retailer that’s working hard to change the clothing industry to meet more of the plus sized market’s needs. 

A-Line Dress

An A-line dress is the perfect option for ladies who enjoy the A-shape dresses. You can choose a strapless A-line to show off more of your body’s upper half, or a shorter dress to give your legs a chance to breathe and look great. 

Little Black Dress

Of course, no wardrobe is complete without the little black cocktail dress. This simple yet elegant and sleek option goes with just about any accessory and pair of shoes. You can choose a short black dress, a longer option, strapless, halter-top, and more; the options are numerous and fit just about any style. 

Embellished Dress

This option is for those ladies who like to stand out in a crowd with a bit more eccentricity in their style. Embellished cocktail dresses come in many varieties, from sequin-lined glittering dresses to embroidered or floral-pattern dresses. The options here are pretty much endless, as you can find just about any variation of style with an embellished cocktail dress. 

Keep Accessories Simple 

When you’re shopping for the right cocktail dress, you’re probably looking for the best accessories to go with it. Whether you’re buying new accessories or not, it’s important to remember that accessories should be kept simple with your cocktail dress. Don’t choose a large handbag, but instead, a smaller one. Choose earrings and necklaces that are simple yet elegant. Diamond earrings and the little black cocktail dress were pretty much made for each other, and heels are always a good look with cocktail dresses. 

Choosing a cocktail dress starts with choosing the right retailer, knowing your size and shape, and knowing your personal style. Once you’ve got these things narrowed down, you’ll have a better idea of which cocktail dress is right for you.