Fashion

10 Best Cocktail Dresses for Women Over 50

There's no age limit when it comes to looking fabulous.

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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 for women over 50 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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Eliza J Colorblock Sleeveless Fit & Flare Dress

Best fit and flare cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Nordstrom

Buy from Nordstrom, $138

Why we like it:

  • Modern colorblock design
  • Bright pink hem
  • Cowl neck

A great set of legs should be proudly shown off, and this chic colorblock dress from Eliza J, with its fit and flare cut and fun pink hem, does just that. A cowl 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 purchase this versatile piece in either regular or plus sizes. 

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Tahari Cap Sleeve Crepe Sheath Dress

Best midi cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Nordstrom

Buy from Nordstrom, $128

Why we like it:

  • Gorgeous cobalt color
  • Side tie at the waist
  • Jewel neckline

Chic and sexy without showing off too much skin, the Tahari Cap Sleeve Crepe Sheath Dress is as refined as they come. Complete with a side tie accent and elegant jewel 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! 

Happy customer: “Very flattering dress! I love the classic cut and rich navy color. The tie sash is a great touch for adding a flattering little nip at the waist.”

Eliza J Seamed Fit & Flare Dress

Best formal cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Nordstrom

Buy from Nordstrom, $138

Why we like it:

  • Lovely sky blue color
  • Fit and flare design
  • Stretch-knit material

Formal doesn’t have to mean lacking color, which is why we love this fit and flare dress from Eliza J. The sky blue hue gives a bit of lightness to the overall polished look, while the seamed construction enhances your natural curves to flattering effect. The swishy skirt hits just at the knee to complement the three-quarter sleeves, which provide a bit of coverage up top. And while this dress may look form-fitting, the fabric has a bit of stretch for added comfort.

Happy customer: “Very classic and classy A-line dress … The seams on the waist and bodice allow the dress to maintain its shape, but it also has some stretch if you have a fuller bust. The skirt is the perfect fullness without added material. Very slimming and flattering!”

HOMEYEE Women’s Cocktail Embroidered Dress

Best lace cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Amazon

Buy from Amazon, starting at $23.79

Why we like it:

  • Over 6,000 5-star ratings on Amazon
  • 30 colors and prints to choose from
  • Available in sleeveless and 3/4 sleeve styles

The HOMEYEE A-line Party Dress from Amazon is a demure-yet-elegant lace option, thanks to the embroidery detailing at its waist. Made from a comfortable cotton/poly/spandex blend, it comes in over 30 stunning colors and prints, as well as in a sleeveless version. We like it best, however, for its flared skirt, which triangular and rectangle body shapes can rock with ease. 

Happy customer: “This dress is absolutely beautiful! Simple and elegant … It has a little stretch and the material is soft and has a nice feel. The lace is elegant and the dress is just above the knee. A perfect flare adds to the beauty of this dress.”

Calvin Klein Illusion Bell-Sleeve Dress

Best plus size cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Macy’s

Buy from Macy’s, $99.98

Why we like it:

  • Gorgeous bell sleeves with button details
  • Comes in classic black or light pink
  • Flattering sheath design

This Calvin Klein number isn’t just another little black dress. Just look at those stunning sleeves! It still has a timeless quality, with its round neckline and flattering sheath shape that hugs your curves in just the right places. Oh, and if you want to shake things up a little, it also comes in a lovely light pink color that’s perfect for a spring wedding. 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?

Happy customer: “I wore this dress on my 50th Birthday celebration, which was a romantic dinner at an elegant French restaurant with my husband. It was the perfect look. I felt absolutely stunning. Love the style and fit of this dress. Very flattering to the figure. A must-have piece for any wardrobe.”

Venus Bandage Dress

Best halter cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Venus
26% off!

Buy from Venus, $64.99 (originally $89)

Why we like it:

  • Comes in purple, black, and light pink
  • Available in sizes up to 24
  • Elegant chiffon overlay

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 light pink. 

Happy customer: “Hugged my curves and made me feel and look like a million bucks! I am wearing it for my first anniversary with my husband but [it] would look great for any special occasion.”

Lauren Ralph Lauren Ruffled Georgette Dress

Best long sleeve cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Bloomingdale’s

Buy from Bloomingdale’s, $145

Why we like it:

  • Available in black or green
  • Sash belt
  • Flowy sleeves

This ethereal dress is one of those pieces that’s just as comfortable as it is stunning. The ruffled details and tiered skirt give it a glamorous touch, while its flowy sleeves and georgette material keep it airy and romantic. Lined with a sash belt, this gorgeous dress will definitely flatter your spoon-shaped figure.   

Happy customer: “Classically beautiful dress that’s super comfortable and fits true to size. Material feels substantial and creates a flattering silhouette for my curvier body type, but would honestly look great on anyone.”

Venus Sleeve Detail Dress

Best off the shoulder cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Venus
74% off!

Buy from Venus, $9.99 (originally $39)

Why we like it:

  • Gorgeous flounce sleeves
  • Striking red-orange color
  • Under $10!

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. And nothing says “confidence” like rocking a bold color, like this head-turning red-orange. We particularly love this dress for our hourglass-shaped ladies, since it shows off all the right curves! 

Happy customer: “Really a great deal! I loved the price and it was worth every dollar. The dress is super simple but the sleeves give it a tremendous feminine and sensual touch, perfect for that special occasion! I got a lot of compliments the night I wore it. I love it!”

Calvin Klein Peplum Sheath Dress

Best knee length cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
Macy’s

Buy from Macy’s, $99.98

Why we like it:

  • Available in black, white, and burgundy
  • Sheath silhouette
  • Exposed back zipper

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 — and found this lovely piece by Calvin Klein. With a bodycon silhouette and comfortable stretch fabric, this timeless sheath dress hits right at the knee and has a universally flattering fit that looks great on any body type.

Happy customer: “This dress was just made for me. The size was a perfect fit and the fabric was heavy enough to hold its shape, but light enough to enjoy in all four seasons. The 3/4-length sleeves will be comfortable in all seasons as well. The exposed zipper gave a contemporary dress a pop of modern-day style.”

eShakti Watercolor Floral Print Dupioni Pleated Empire Dress

Best floral cocktail dress
best cocktail dresses
eShakti

Buy from eShakti, $69.95

Why we like it:

  • Beautiful floral print
  • Custom sizing and design
  • Side pockets

eShakti has a wonderful array of cocktail dresses for women over 50 years old, and this lovely floral empire dress is one of our favorites. Classy enough to wear at formal events such as weddings, it also makes a great no-stress cocktail party dress. It’s also a dress we adore for all body types, since, like all eShakti dresses, it’s made to your exact measurements for a dress that’s truly 100 percent you. 

Happy customer: “My dress was a customized design from eShakti … The fabric, cut, and design were all perfect and the package was beautifully packed … Did I mention it has two pockets? This dress is amazing. Made me look and feel glamorous.”

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