Having a great cocktail dress on hand is always a good idea. Whether you’ve got an evening wedding, a work party, or an outdoor soirée on the books, this semi-formal garment will have you covered. While it’s not exactly ballroom-wear, the best cocktail dresses are usually dressier pieces that hit at knee-length and come in a variety of colors or material. Most importantly, they can make you feel a million bucks at any age — if you know which one flatters your body shape!
How to Find the Best Cocktail Dress for You
The first step to successfully shopping for any piece of clothing, be it a pair of jeans or a fancy frock, is understanding your body type. A 2003 study conducted by North Carolina State University found that there are actually four main different body types for women. Here’s a short breakdown that will help you find the best cocktail dress for you.
Best Cocktail Dress for Spoon Body Types — Wrap Dress: Pear-shaped figures are ones where the hip measurement is noticeably larger than the bust measurement. As one of the most flattering dress cuts there are, the wrap dress looks good on practically every body type because of its many variations. It does wonders for the spoon shape, as it defines the waist and doesn’t accentuate the difference between the top and bottom halves of the body.
Best Cocktail Dress for Inverted Triangle Body Types — Fit and Flare: A fit and flare dress will give the illusion of curves to the inverted triangle, aka the “apple” body type, where the shoulders are broader and the bust is bigger than the hips. The dress’ cinched waist and flared skirt help to emphasize the hips, giving the illusion of an hourglass shape.
Best Cocktail Dress for Rectangular Body Types — Fit and Flare: Again, the fit-and-flare dress is the clear winner here. It will do wonders for a straight rectangular, or banana, body shape, in which the waist is less than nine inches smaller than the hips or bust, since it will offer the illusion of curves and highlight any existing ones.
Best Cocktail Dress for Hourglass Body Types — Sheath Dress: The sheath dress is perfect for the hourglass figure, with its equal hip and bust measurements and narrow waist. The long lines of this frock will help to elongate the body and a form-fitting waist will highlight all of your best features.
Best Cocktail Dresses for Women
Now that you know which dress will look best on you, you’re probably ready to shop. Whatever your style, budget, or body type, we’ve rounded up the perfect selection of cocktail dresses for you to choose from. Keep scrolling top shop Woman’s World’s picks for the best cocktail dresses for women over 50.
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finavy1 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Off the Shoulder Cocktail Dress — Venus
Where to buy: $22.99 (originally $39), Venus
This extremely glamorous party piece will quickly become a closet staple. It features a flattering, off-the-shoulder cut with flared, three-quarter-length sleeves and a figure-hugging, bodycon fit that's sure to grab attention. Coming in three vivid shades — red, blue, and green — you may be tempted to get it in more than one color. We particularly love this dress for our hourglass-shaped ladies, since it shows off all the right curves!
12 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Fit and Flare Cocktail Dress — Michael Kors
Where to buy: $98, Saks Fifth Avenue
A great set of legs should be proudly shown off, and this Michael Kors Mesh A-Line cocktail dress, with its fit and flare cut and mesh detailing, does just that. A demure neckline also makes up for the shorter hemline, making for a perfectly balanced number that will work for any upcoming shindig — especially on inverted triangle or rectangular shapes, who can pick up this elegant piece in either black or navy blue.
7 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Midi Cocktail Dress — JS Collections
Where to buy: $178, Nordstrom
Chic and sexy without showing off too much skin, the JS Collections Stretch Crepe Dress is as elegant as they come. Complete with a twisted bow accent and illusion mesh neckline, this sleek midi dress hits at mid-calf for a sophisticated, head-turning look that looks great on hourglass and rectangular shapes — thank you, waist-defining construction!
2 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Lace Cocktail Dress — HOMEYEE
Where to buy: $31.99, Amazon
The HOMEYEE A-line Party Dress from Amazon is demure-yet-elegant lace thanks to the embroidery detailing at its waist. Made from a comfortable cotton/poly/spandex blend, it comes in three stunning colors — burgundy, black, and navy — and also comes in a sleeveless version (and 26 other colors and prints). We like it best, however, for its flared skirt, which triangular and rectangle body shapes can rock with ease.
23 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Plus Size Cocktail Dress— Eloquii
Where to buy: $49.99 (Originally $89.95), Eloquii
Though the bold shade of this Eloquii Twist Front Sheath Dress is a nice change from classic black, it still has a timeless quality with its twist-front accent and flattering sheath shape that hugs your curves in just the right places. The best part? It's made from a stretch knit fabric that maintains its shape for hours while still giving plus size ladies total freedom of movement. Dance floor, anyone?
9 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Formal Cocktail Dress — eShakti
Where to buy: $49.95, eShakti
eShakti has a wonderful array of cocktail dresses for women over 50 years old, and this split-neck empire poplin dress is one of our favorites. Classy enough to wear at formal events such as weddings, it also makes a great no-stress evening cocktail party dress. It's also a dress we adore for all body types, since, like all eShakti dresses, its made to your exact measurements for a dress that's truly 100 percent you.
14 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50 big
Best Halter Cocktail Dress — Venus
Where to buy: $74.99 (Originally $89), Venus
This flattering bandage dress is the perfect statement number for plus-size ladies — and it's super-slimming too! Its bodycon fit hugs your curves while simultaneously smoothing and shaping them to perfection, while a long chiffon overlay gently frames the body, giving a sleeker appearance. It's made from a sleek nylon/viscose blend and comes in three shades: purple, black or nude.
16 Best cocktail dresses for plus size women over 50
Best Long Sleeve Cocktail Dress — City Chic
Where to buy: $129, Nordstrom
This is one of those dresses that's just as comfortable as it is stunning. The teal, black, and pink vintage floral print give it a glamorous touch, while its bell sleeves and chiffon material keep it airy and romantic. Lined with a side-tie waist, this plus-sized dress will definitely flatter your spoon-shaped figure.
21 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50 with some weight
Best Knee Length Cocktail Dress — Eloquii
Where to buy: $109.95, Eloquii
Did you think we forgot about the peplum dress? Of course we didn't! In fact, we searched high and low to find the perfect one to fit your plus-size frame — Eloquii's puff sleeve peplum dress. With a bodycon silhouette and comfort-stretch woven fabric, this timeless sheath dress hits right at the knee and offers a sultry deep V-back that looks good on any body type.
6 Best cocktail dresses for women over 50
Best Floral Cocktail Dress – Tommy Hilfiger
Where to buy: $133.99 (originally $149), Macy's
For a floral cocktail dress you can wear well into winter, you'll love Tommy Hilfiger's corsage print chiffon midi dress. It's topped off with a chic matte grosgrain ribbon and with its long, airy sleeves, it's the perfect solution for those who don't really want your arms on display but don't want to overheat. Its cinched shape also flatters spoon and triangle shapes.
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