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Oh god what is a cocktail dress and where to find one?

(55 Posts)
ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 17-Jun-11 13:55:35

I need to get one for a dinner event coming up, apparently. Shops all full of nice summery dresses but are cocktail dresses different in some way?

Am panicking because only have this weekend to go shopping. So advice on 1) what the feck constitutes a cocktail dress exactly? and 2) any nice ones in existence at the moment would be amazing!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 17-Jun-11 14:12:04

Please sad

pink4ever Fri 17-Jun-11 14:18:02

I have never had an opportunity to wear a cocktail dress so am very envy. I would think that it means a formal dress but not a ballgown. Possibly to the knee? Maybe in a nice fabric like satin or chiffon?. Sorry cant do links but think your best bet would be John Lewis or Debenhams.Am sure someone like tethers will be along soon with some great ideas for you.

worldgonecrazy Fri 17-Jun-11 14:18:40

Try here for inspiration

PredictableDullard Fri 17-Jun-11 14:19:55

this sort of thing

upahill Fri 17-Jun-11 14:23:10

I will let you give the the webaddress of my favourite website reluctantly Elephant!!
I don't want everyone knowing how fab they are!!!!

I get most of my dresses from here.

SayItLoud Fri 17-Jun-11 14:23:15

Cocktail dress - formal dress but not long - so knee-ish length.

Pagwatch Fri 17-Jun-11 14:24:11

A cocktail dress is formal but not full length. It is an evening dress but not maxi.

That's it.

SayItLoud Fri 17-Jun-11 14:25:25

Blimey Upahill, what do you get up to, to need lots of that kind of dress! You must have an enviable social life!

PredictableDullard Fri 17-Jun-11 14:26:41

i dress for cocktails every afternoon. i do raise some eyebrows at the school gate but i have my standards

themildmanneredjanitor Fri 17-Jun-11 14:26:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PredictableDullard Fri 17-Jun-11 14:28:49

party dress makes me think of bonny langford in something pink and frilly

upahill Fri 17-Jun-11 14:29:25

Say it loud I just like nice dresses and that designer!!

I just treat myself every now and again!

Chrysanthemum5 Fri 17-Jun-11 14:29:39

Gosh upahill those dresses are lovely, but very expensive. Do you go to lots of very posh events?

Pagwatch Fri 17-Jun-11 14:32:23

What is your budget op?

High street is good with places like lk Bennett, reiss, Karen millen and most deprtment stores having decent range

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 17-Jun-11 14:33:08

Oh aren't you lot just the nicest people ever? <sniffs with the pathetic gratitude of the unstylish>

Thanks for the links, and the explanations!

So it's just a short dress <and breathe> - are any fabrics not ok? Everything seems to be cotton which is lovely but not evening-y I imagine?

Pagwatch Fri 17-Jun-11 14:33:38

Oh and French connection are pretty good and they have an excellent sale on just now.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 17-Jun-11 14:34:35

Budget - under £100 would be best, given straitened circumstances, but would go up to £200 for The Most Amazing Dress Ever that I could wear to lots of weddings and things. So upahill's link is sadly out of my price range, although you must look fab in them, they are gorgeous smile

Pagwatch Fri 17-Jun-11 14:34:55

Cotton not good really. Nor flowery fabrics. Anything you would wear out on a summers day is probably too informal.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Fri 17-Jun-11 14:36:23

Yep, a cocktail dress technically is knee-length or a bit shorter.

Lots of sales on at the mo. Have you tried looking at John Lewis etc on the web? Also Monsoon, Reiss (although I can only afford it in the sale --and then barely--).

Good luck and have a lovely time! Oh, and treat yourself to a blingy cocktail ring from Accessorize or somewhere. Something that people can admire as you hold your glass.

upahill Fri 17-Jun-11 14:37:48

Ok I f Suzannah is out what about this. I searched in evening dresses but you could also look in party. There are some ones that may be a bit 'young' eg 19 and under!! However there are some nice ones as well.

noddyholder Fri 17-Jun-11 14:39:30

A knee length tailored black dress is fine with some lovely earrings and shoes.The ones upahill linked to are so so expensive and most are hideous imho.

noddyholder Fri 17-Jun-11 14:40:29


upahill Fri 17-Jun-11 14:42:55

What about this?
I like it very much (and it is half price!!),default,pd.html?cgid=S0356

sherbetpips Fri 17-Jun-11 14:44:14

Its a dress that isnt long, usually on or above the knee. For guidance its not a strappy flowery sun dress but its not a formal navy/grey sleeved work dress.
It doesnt need to be expensive - next, M&S,, etc do loads of cocktail dresses. Ah just saw your budget - get yourself to Coast - loads under that price all perfect for cocktail parties and weddings. Try to keep it below £150 so you can buy accessories.

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