Picking Out the Perfect Cocktail Dress

There are a few items of clothing that every woman should have in her arsenal: a tailored pair of pants, a basic white tee, a pair of comfortable formal flats, an amazing pair of jeans, and a go-to purse. Oh, and, of course, a cocktail dress, perfect for any occasion. And today, let’s take a look at that cocktail dress, because when you find the perfect dress, you won’t need a second for a very long time. But what are the guidelines for choosing one?

Find the perfect fit


This is the one time you most certainly don’t want to try and squeeze yourself into a size too small (which you shouldn’t ever do, anyway), because a cocktail dress needs to not only look stunning, but be comfortable, too. When searching for the perfect fit, you should look at two things; your body shape and the dresses you most like wearing. Choose something that will be appropriate for any occasion, which might not be a skin-tight bodycon dress. If you do want to show off your figure, something like a bodycon with a peplum can be a great option to do that, without revealing too much. If you prefer wearing skater-style dresses, make sure that the one you choose doesn’t look too informal to be worn to a business dinner.



Let’s be practical. A material that will stretch out and become shapeless after two washes isn’t something that is worth your money. Don’t skimp on quality for something that you intend to wear many times over. Additionally, you want something that is easily maintained, without having to be handwashed or taken to the dry cleaner every time you wear it; and something that won’t be ruined easily in transportation. I made the mistake once of only bringing one dress along on a vacation and it got horribly crinkled in the suitcase. With no way to iron it out, I had to look for cocktail dresses in Australia to find something suitable to wear that night. Luckily, I found the one that is to this day my go-to cocktail dress.

Universal weather


When talking about the perfect dress, you want it to be something you can wear to any occasion, no matter the season. This is why you don’t want to choose a thick material, even if you are buying the dress in winter because when you go for a lunch party during summer in Sydney, you will boil in it. Deal with it from the opposite side by getting something light that you can wear during the warmer days, and then find a jacket or cardigan that you can wear over it during the colder months.



Depending on where you are in life right now, you can spend more or less money on a dress. But even if you have all the money in the world, you should still weight some pros and cons of investing a lot of money. Yes, this is an investment piece, and the one that you are expected to get a lot of wear out of, so you don’t want anything cheaply made that won’t stand the test of time. On the other hand, if you are someone whose weight fluctuates often, or if you have a tendency to change styles, you might not want to put all of your eggs in one basket and invest into something you won’t want, or won’t be able to wear in a few months’ time.

Make sure you are thinking about the complete outfit when buying the dress. Do you have the shoes to match, the jewelry and additional clothing? Buy something that fits with the clothes you already have, so you don’t have to buy a whole new outfit just to wear with that one dress.

Diana Smith, Associate Editor

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