In 1926 when Coco Chanel debuted her “little black dress”, she not only created the one dress that no classic woman should be without, but she also presented to the world the standard for a cocktail dress. The dress may have been modified over the years, but the essence of a classic cocktail dress remains the same — simple elegance.
By definition, the cocktail dress is an evening dress with a hemline ranging from a couple of inches above the ankle (tea length) to just above the knee . It may be printed or solid, loose-fitting or form-fitting, sleeveless or not. Cocktail dresses are worn to semi-formal and formal events such as cocktail parties, high-end restaurants, and weddings. Generally speaking, informal occasions that call for gentlemen to wear “business” suits, require women to wear the shorter versions of the cocktail dress. However, both long and short cocktail dresses are appropriate for black tie events. When white tie is the dress code, a ball gown rather than a cocktail dress is required.
Iconic Cocktail Dresses
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Grace Kelly in Rear Window
The Long and Short of Today’s Cocktail Dress
Issa Long Sleeve Wrap Dress via ShopBop
Saloni “Iris” Short Dress via ShopBop