22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (2024)

Table of Contents
Our Top Picks: Best co*cktail Dress on Amazon Best Figure-Flattering co*cktail Dress Best Little Black Dress Best Versatile Dress Best Floral Dress Classic Silk Dress Best One-Shoulder Option Best Cutout Dress ASTR the Label Sleeveless Lace Fit & Flare Midi Dress ASTR the Label Sleeveless Lace Fit & Flare Midi Dress Kiyonna Rumor Ruched Body-Con Dress Kiyonna Rumor Ruched Body-Con Dress ASOS Design Cowl-Neck Maxi Dress ASOS Design Cowl-Neck Maxi Dress Maggy London Illusion Yoke Crepe co*cktail Dress Maggy London Illusion Yoke Crepe co*cktail Dress Dress The Population Sloane Body-Con Midi Dress Dress The Population Sloane Body-Con Midi Dress M.M. La Fleur The Malala Dress M.M. La Fleur The Malala Dress Reformation Frasier Dress Reformation Frasier Dress Quince 100 Percent Washable Silk Slip Dress Quince 100 Percent Washable Silk Slip Dress MakeMeChic Plus-Size One-Shoulder Belted Wrap Midi Dress MakeMeChic Plus-Size One-Shoulder Belted Wrap Midi Dress The Drop Jacob Long-Sleeved Cutout Midi Dress The Drop Jacob Long-Sleeved Cutout Midi Dress Lulu's Reinette Mauve Purple Midi Dress Lulu's Reinette Mauve Purple Midi Dress Vince Camuto Popover co*cktail Dress Vince Camuto Popover co*cktail Dress NA-KD Trend Wide-Sleeve Midi Dress Green NA-KD Trend Wide-Sleeve Midi Dress Green Elliatt Camo Asymmetrical Satin co*cktail Dress Elliatt Camo Asymmetrical Satin co*cktail Dress Mango Flared-Sleeve Dress Mango Flared-Sleeve Dress Open Edit Drape Knit Body-con Dress Open Edit Drape Knit Body-con Dress Never Fully Dressed Khaki Jaspre Skirt with Gold Fleck Never Fully Dressed Khaki Jaspre Skirt with Gold Fleck Pink Queen Cutout Ribbed Midi Dress Pink Queen Cutout Ribbed Midi Dress GOELIA Pink Ruched Midi Dress with Belt GOELIA Pink Ruched Midi Dress with Belt & Other Stories Sequin Wrap Mini Dress & Other Stories Sequin Wrap Mini Dress FAQs
22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (1)

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Ready the arsenal: A new season's refreshed social calendar will bring an onslaught of invites. Whether your inbox foresees a birthday party, wedding reception, work function, or any other dressy event, it will be handy to have a few co*cktail dresses in the rotation.

Our Top Picks:

But with so many dress codes to decipher, you may be wondering: What is appropriate for co*cktail attire, and what exactly is a co*cktail dress? Less fussy and formal than an evening gown, a co*cktail dress is appropriate for a myriad of dressy parties. There are, of course, spring dress styles that run the gamut, from sleeveless to one-shoulder to long-sleeve if you’re looking for arm coverage. Length and fabrication, more often than not, is a good indication of a co*cktail dress. However, don't fret. Cooler autumn weather still allows for fun mini to midi dresses, but pay attention to material such as airy silk, satin, draped jersey, and the like. And have fun with embellishment! Sequins, florals, and lace bring the festive spirit. While color is always an encouraged choice, a glamorous little black dress won’t fail you if the invite calls for co*cktail attire. To complete your evening outfit, opt for heels or fancy flats, a fun bag, and gleaming jewelry.

Here is our edit of the best co*cktail dresses to make an entrance in, no matter what your budget, body type, or celebration.

    1

    Best co*cktail Dress on Amazon

    ASTR the Label Sleeveless Lace Fit & Flare Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (13)

    1

    Best co*cktail Dress on Amazon

    ASTR the Label Sleeveless Lace Fit & Flare Midi Dress

    Sweet lace is foolproof when the warmer weather sets in. This feminine fit-and-flare frock should do the trick for a co*cktail attire wedding. Throw on a shawl over your shoulders for cooler weather outings and it's still guaranteed to impress.

    2

    Best Figure-Flattering co*cktail Dress

    Kiyonna Rumor Ruched Body-Con Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (14)

    2

    Best Figure-Flattering co*cktail Dress

    Kiyonna Rumor Ruched Body-Con Dress

    Allover ruching, fluttery sleeves, a V-neck, and stretch jersey make this dress a reliable standby for an evening event.

    3

    ASOS Design Cowl-Neck Maxi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (15)

    3

    ASOS Design Cowl-Neck Maxi Dress

    Sleek and low-key sexy, this body-con column dress features bra-friendly wide straps, a draped cowl neck and bodice, and an asymmetrical hemline. Translation: a lot of dress for $35.

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    4

    Best Little Black Dress

    Maggy London Illusion Yoke Crepe co*cktail Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (16)

    4

    Best Little Black Dress

    Maggy London Illusion Yoke Crepe co*cktail Dress

    Sheer mesh brings an understated elegance to this classic black dress. Don't miss the elongating front seams and V-back.

    5

    Dress The Population Sloane Body-Con Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (17)

    5

    Dress The Population Sloane Body-Con Midi Dress

    Now 25% Off

    Simple yet sophisticated, this figure-hugging sheath has a sweetheart neckline and darted seams for a little oomph.

    6

    Best Versatile Dress

    M.M. La Fleur The Malala Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (18)

    6

    Best Versatile Dress

    M.M. La Fleur The Malala Dress

    Simple yet elegant and dressy, this number goes great with a pair of high heels and a statement necklace or chandelier earrings. Plus, you can transform this co*cktail dress from nighttime to office with a neutral blazer.

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    7

    Best Floral Dress

    Reformation Frasier Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (19)

    7

    Best Floral Dress

    Reformation Frasier Dress

    If romantic florals are your calling card, be sure to check out Reformation. The contemporary brand offers a covetable selection of party dresses, such as this pretty cap-sleeved midi with side-button detail—lovely for a spring co*cktail.

    8

    Classic Silk Dress

    Quince 100 Percent Washable Silk Slip Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (20)

    8

    Classic Silk Dress

    Quince 100 Percent Washable Silk Slip Dress

    If you don't own a slip dress, snap this one up immediately. Crafted of 100 percent mulberry silk with a flattering bias cut (and available in a slew of colors), it's the ultimate workhorse. Wear it solo, topped with a tuxedo blazer, piles of jewelry...it's a blank canvas.

    9

    Best One-Shoulder Option

    MakeMeChic Plus-Size One-Shoulder Belted Wrap Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (21)

    9

    Best One-Shoulder Option

    MakeMeChic Plus-Size One-Shoulder Belted Wrap Midi Dress

    One-shoulder styles continue to reign, and this plus-size option ticks all the boxes: It has stretch, a flattering wrap front, and an adjustable self-tie belt, and it comes in a range of colors.

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    10

    Best Cutout Dress

    The Drop Jacob Long-Sleeved Cutout Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (22)

    10

    Best Cutout Dress

    The Drop Jacob Long-Sleeved Cutout Midi Dress

    Now 11% Off

    Want to test out the ubiquitous cutout trend? Try it on a long-sleeved style, like this wearable A-line dress that reveals just a hint of skin.

    11

    Best Plus-Size Option

    Lulu's Reinette Mauve Purple Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (23)

    11

    Best Plus-Size Option

    Lulu's Reinette Mauve Purple Midi Dress

    With a flattering wrap front and tulip hem, this spaghetti strap dress, available from XXS through size 3X, is appropriate for a fancy dinner or date night.

    12

    Best Black co*cktail Dress

    Vince Camuto Popover co*cktail Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (24)

    12

    Best Black co*cktail Dress

    Vince Camuto Popover co*cktail Dress

    Now 50% Off

    With a foldover neckline that bares the shoulders, this fitted sheath offers a unique take on the LBD.

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    13

    Best Wide-Sleeve co*cktail Dress

    NA-KD Trend Wide-Sleeve Midi Dress Green

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (25)

    13

    Best Wide-Sleeve co*cktail Dress

    NA-KD Trend Wide-Sleeve Midi Dress Green

    Like a jolt of confidence, this wide-sleeve midi number in green will have you feeling extra bold.

    14

    Elliatt Camo Asymmetrical Satin co*cktail Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (26)

    14

    Elliatt Camo Asymmetrical Satin co*cktail Dress

    It's all about the cowl-neck halter and the edgy asymmetrical hem on this satin mini dress.

    15

    Best Flowy Dress

    Mango Flared-Sleeve Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (27)

    15

    Best Flowy Dress

    Mango Flared-Sleeve Dress

    A flowy, softly draped fit lets the sunny yellow hue shine on this midi dress.

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    16

    Best Bodycon Dress

    Open Edit Drape Knit Body-con Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (28)

    16

    Best Bodycon Dress

    Open Edit Drape Knit Body-con Dress

    Now 45% Off

    A versatile long-sleeved silhouette in a punchy, "look at me" color works for a slew of events. Plus, the stretchy fabric and side ruching flatters all body types.

    17

    Most Unique co*cktail Dress

    Never Fully Dressed Khaki Jaspre Skirt with Gold Fleck

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (29)

    17

    Most Unique co*cktail Dress

    Never Fully Dressed Khaki Jaspre Skirt with Gold Fleck

    You'll get compliments all night in this unique dress that feels plucked from a vintage store. The olive dress with gold details is also great for mixing and matching. We especially love the skirt that offers pretty movement when you're walking (or dancing).

    18

    Best Ribbed Dress

    Pink Queen Cutout Ribbed Midi Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (30)

    18

    Best Ribbed Dress

    Pink Queen Cutout Ribbed Midi Dress

    Available in over 25 color combinations, this slim-fit, ribbed dress with waist cutout just needs heels and a clutch.

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    19

    Most Romantic co*cktail Dress

    GOELIA Pink Ruched Midi Dress with Belt

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (31)

    19

    Most Romantic co*cktail Dress

    GOELIA Pink Ruched Midi Dress with Belt

    Billowy soft sleeves, soft buttons, and a fitted waist with belt (not to mention the cotton-candy-pink hue) make for a romantic effect.

    20

    Best Sequin Dress

    & Other Stories Sequin Wrap Mini Dress

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (32)

    20

    Best Sequin Dress

    & Other Stories Sequin Wrap Mini Dress

    Sparkly metallic silver was seen all over the runways this spring, and this festive mini with wrap front is a festive way to tap into the trend.

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (33)

    Paula Lee

    Freelance Fashion Editor

    Paula Lee is a freelance Fashion Editor. Off duty, she can be found day-tripping around the tri-state area, hanging around farm animals, or browsing the library stacks.

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (34)

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    Freelance Writer

    Pooja Shah is a freelance writer and lawyer based in New York. She writes on commerce, culture, lifestyle, and travel. More of her work is at www.pooja-shah.com.

    22 Elegant co*cktail Dresses Perfect for All Bodies and Budgets (2024)

    FAQs

    What is elegant co*cktail attire? ›

    When an event calls for a co*cktail dress code, that means you've got permission to look a little more polished and put together. The idea is to look dressed up without going full-blown black tie. This generally translates to wearing well-fitted slacks with a crisp button-up.

    How do I find the perfect co*cktail dress? ›

    How to Find Your Perfect co*cktail Dress
    1. Step 1: Choose Your Budget. ...
    2. Step 2: Think About What Makes You Feel Confident. ...
    3. Step 3: Consider Material. ...
    4. Step 4: Consider Color and Pattern. ...
    5. Step 5: Start Shortlisting. ...
    6. Step 6: Select Your Accessories Carefully.

    What is upscale co*cktail dress? ›

    “The most important idea to take away from the co*cktail dress code is that your goal is to create an elegant look wearing a knee-length, tea-length, or midi dress,” suggests social etiquette advisor Maria Lucrecia Arguello. “This is not the time to wear a gala gown or a short mini skirt.”

    How should I dress for a formal event on a budget? ›

    1. Borrow a dress or outfit from a similarly-sized friend. Most ladies have one or two long dresses hanging in their wardrobes – be it old ball gowns, wedding attire or even bridesmaid dresses. With a few updated accessories, you can make an old dress look like new.

    What is not acceptable for co*cktail attire? ›

    The one thing all pros can agree on when it comes to co*cktail attire is that it's not considered casual. "Don't wear something you'd originally wear to the office to an occasion that calls for co*cktail attire," says Brown. Del Russo agrees and says to avoid denim, casual flats, tank tops, and maxi skirts or dresses.

    What is the most elegant dress code? ›

    Also known as “full evening dress”, white tie attire is considered the most formal of all dress codes. The white tie dress code indicates that guests are high-caliber, royal, or have high social standing.

    Should co*cktail dresses be short or long? ›

    co*cktail dresses typically fall somewhere in the midi range – not too long, not too short. Think just above, at, or just below the knee. It's the sweet spot that keeps things classy and comfortable.

    What does a 60 year old woman wear to co*cktail party? ›

    A great co*cktail dress should flatter your body: fit-and-flare for hourglass figures, A-line for pear- and apple-shapes, ruching and other volume-creating details for stick-straight bods. If you're looking for more coverage, consider one of these styles that also has a cape, cloak, or shawl.

    What Colour should a co*cktail dress be? ›

    For an evening affair, dark colors and more elegant designs are appropriate. For daytime events, co*cktail attire can include lighter fabrics, shorter hemlines, and softer hues.

    Can you wear a maxi dress to a co*cktail wedding? ›

    From the color and fabric of the dress, to the hairstyle and accessories you pair with it, a maxi dress can easily pass as proper co*cktail attire, if styled correctly.

    What does co*cktail chic attire look like? ›

    The classic little black dress is what should come to mind as proper attire. co*cktail dresses are short, and most often, black. Men should wear dark suits and a tie.

    What length is a formal co*cktail dress? ›

    co*cktail dresses come in various lengths, but they're generally shorter than floor-length formal gowns. The most common length is just above or just below the knee. However, you can also find co*cktail dresses that are mid-thigh, tea-length (around the calf), or slightly longer.

    Should I wear my hair up or down for a formal event? ›

    There's nothing more classic than a little black dress. If you're going to a formal function then updos will work perfectly. They're elegant, sophisticated and classy. But if you want to stand out for a co*cktail party, go with something that lays low as most other people will have gone up.

    What is the dress code for budget? ›

    Jeans, if your company allows them, without rips or distressing. Slacks – one light pair and one dark pair. Dress tops, collared and non-collared, that fit with your environment and the changing seasons. A blazer, cardigan or light jacket.

    What is co*cktail elegant dress code men? ›

    Traditionally, you'll want wear a suit in navy or gray (black can lean a little severe) and pair it with a white or light-colored shirt, a darker tie, and dress shoes. Oxfords are never a bad choice, but you can dress it down (just a little) with loafers or derbies or brogues, too.

    What does co*cktail attire mean for a woman? ›

    co*cktail attire is that sweet spot between your most glamorous gown and your favorite business casual wear. It's about looking polished and poised without feeling overdone. Think of it as your fashion playground for semi-formal events where you get to show off your personal style with a touch of sophistication.

    What is co*cktail attire for ladies? ›

    For women, this usually means dresses that hit around the knee, tailored pants with a dressy top, or standout jumpsuits. It's all about looking polished and poised.

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