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.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.