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So, what's cocktail attire?

Posted by Angela Christian on Oct 13, 2017 12:00:00 PM
Angela Christian

People celebrating on a rooftop in cocktail attire

So you’ve been invited to an event, the natural next question is “what am I going to wear?”.  My favorite type of invitations tell me exactly what is expected of me so there is very little gray area.  Black tie?  Cool - I might need to buy an outfit but at least I’ll show up in the right attire. Most business events teeter between casual and cocktail attire. I’m here to break down cocktail attire so that the next time you see that on an invitation you know the do’s and don’ts.

Women (because ladies first )

  1. Respectable hemlines and necklines - You don’t want to be “that girl” with the dress that was way too short. Focus on would you want my boss or boss's boss to see me wearing. This not “love in da club.”
  2. No Jeans - No matter how expensive or how stylish, jeans are a no-go for cocktail attire. You can wear sleek trousers or a nice jumper.
  3. Lose the over sized bag - Yes ladies, I love a great bag that can store my whole life, but a clutch is much better suited for a cocktail event. It’s more elegant and you don’t have to worry about knocking over someone's glass of champagne everytime you move.
  4. Floor length not necessary - Floor length dresses are typically reserved for black tie or white tie events. Keep to an appropriate length without going all the way to the floor.
  5. No sneakers - Some might say this means you need to wear heels, but let's be honest, heels suck. Go with a nice heel (if you feel) or a great flat to be comfortable all night.


  1. Dark Tailored Suit: Cocktail attire is not the time to break out the white suit, stick to dark colors (navy, black, brown).
  2. Shirts: Stick to neutral colored shirts or if you are feeling feisty try something patterned within reason. Think more interesting than blinding.
  3. No Sneakers: Like for women, sneakers are a no-go. We recommend sticking with Oxfords or dark colored loafers.
  4. Belts: This is not a time to bring out your Gucci belt with the big G, hide that for another time. A timeless dark belt that matches the rest of our outfit is perfect.

Since you are now a master at attire - plan that cocktail party to show off your style.


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Looking for something more casual - check out our blog about great corporate activities

Topics: Corporate Events