How to Dress for a Cocktail Reception

A cocktail reception is a party where guests mingle and share drinks. There are different types of cocktail receptions however the most popular being the cocktail wedding reception. Businesses do hold cocktail reception for corporate events, inauguration, and it might as well be a book launch or opening of an art gallery or museum.

Cocktail receptions are not as formal as black tie or green tie events in term of dress but are not casual dress events. Cocktail parties are dressy-casual events, so you can’t go wrong if put on a wear with special details and a skirt or tailored pants, plus heels or fancy flats.


For women, cocktail attire means a cocktail-length dress. It should be chic and elegant. A fitted cashmere or fine-gauge merino-wool with, heels, earrings, and stacked bangles may be just right as long as you avoid a too corporate look. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by doing the opposite.
For men, cocktail attire translates to suit especially the grey ones, but not the tuxedos since you don’t plan to appear too serious or overdressed at a cocktail party. A fashionable suit is preferable to business suit; and you must never forget the uniqueness of leather shoes plus calf socks.

Accessories for cocktail receptions

Women should wear accessories that sparkle with their dress. Only one item that works well should be considered. Men should choose a tie that fit the moment of celebration.
Dress shoes are appropriate for both genders. Women can go on flats or heels. Men should ensure proper coordination of suit and shoes. The color of the shoes must complement the suit.


As expected in cocktail parties, every-one must look polished and be clean shaved. Hair must be rightly styled and make-up beautifully done.

Essential tips for picking a cocktail dress

Picking a dress for a cocktail party could be a herculean task for many; however a mindful step by step approach as highlighted below could be of immense help to cocktail attire ‘newbie’.
Making a choice of outfit for your next cocktail event, why don’t you consider these!
Your shape: Knowing the silhouette of the dress you wanted will help narrowed down your interest. A strapless shift or a long sleeved mid-calf dress is good enough. Make a simple choice of attire that accentuates the right curves.

#okdress – PD10930: £59.00

#okdress – PD9602: £80.36

Keep it simple: Remember cocktail parties are for people to meet you but not your outfit. Choose simple colored dress with minimal texturing.

Have fun: You don’t want to give an impression of boredom, do you? So, use bold patterns or colors to stand out in the multitude.
Simple Accessories: One main accessory with minimal ones that do not distract from your look will do. You may try a chunky ring, statement necklace or funky bracelet. It’s all about bold simplicity.

Personality: Ensure that your choice of cocktail attire displays your personality. Make a choice of dress, accessories and shoes that rightly describe who you are.




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32 thoughts on “How to Dress for a Cocktail Reception

  1. Beautiful collections. I like the dress design for sometimes it’s nice wearing cocktail dress for a cocktail party also. Hmmm now starting to look for a cocktail dress too for February activity.

  2. I have never attended a cocktail party, not a party girls for that matter heheh. Love the selections though.

  3. I’ve been to cocktail parties before but unfortunately, I have not worn any cocktail dress because we were the organizers and as a rule, we had to wear our company uniform! How weird is that! hehe! Would love to wear those in the photos though if I have the figure to go to with the dresses… lol!

  4. Between the 2 photos, I prefer the second one, hindi gaanong daring. LOL Baka kasi dumugin ang date ko if she is wearing the first dress.

  5. Keep it simple– that is so me! 😀 No matter what the occasion is, to keep it simple and comfortable is always my fashion statement. 😀

  6. Those dresses are both beautiful. I like the first dress and the style as well 🙂

  7. hmmm I am bookmarking this for a time when I need to attend one 🙂 I am afraid though I am still working on the curves I need to accentuate LOL.

  8. The bow-tie bracelet type thingee looks so cool. It’ll be the perfect little accessories for any little black dress.

  9. Article well-written! And the pieces here are elegant.

    A cocktail dress made of cashmere or fine-gauge merino-wool however is probably not suited for all climates. I can’t imagine someone wearing it to a cocktail event if the setting is somewhere tropical.

  10. oh oh, love your choices, just so elegant, i wish i can carry those dresses as well as they do too 🙂 haha!!

  11. Very nice selection!
    the dresses and their accessories are so beautiful !
    Have a fab sunday!

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