30 Dresses May 11, 2018

Day 11: How To Dress for Cocktail Attire Weddings

DRESS: c/o Jovani  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  BAG: Stella McCartney (affordable alternative HERE)


If you’ve been following my ongoing 30 Dresses in 30 Days series, you know it’s safe to say that I have a black belt in dress shopping.  Now that the series is in its fifth season, my dress shopping skills are finely-honed, thanks in large part to my shortlist of go-to dress designers like Jovani that never fail to surprise and delight.  Of course, this season was no exception as evidenced by the black lace beauty I’m wearing for today’s occasion—a cocktail attire wedding.

Today I’m breaking down everything you need to know about cocktail wedding attire but before getting into the rules of the road, I should note that if you’re prepping for any upcoming special occasion—cocktail attire or not!—definitely take a virtual walk through Jovani’s insane collection which is sold at Neiman Marcus, Harrod’s and countless specialty boutiques worldwide.  Their assortment is incredible, ranging from perfect cocktail dresses (like the one I’m wearing today!) to stunning gowns perfect for a rehearsal dinner or black-tie event.  I’ve even spotted several that would make absolutely amazing Mother of the Bride dresses—something I know is no easy find!

Without further ado, a simple style guide to what cocktail attire means, what colors are appropriate and what the difference is between cocktail attire and black-tie optional…


Cocktail attire means any formal dress that’s tea-length and above. Just remember that this is a family affair, so you don’t want to go too short or too revealing.  If the ceremony is in a church and you’ve opted for a strapless or spaghetti strap number (anything with a good amount of skin showing), I’d suggest wearing a wrap, stole or jacket for that portion of the evening.


Aside from avoiding anything white or ivory, the world is your oyster!  When wearing a black dress, I like to make sure that the somber tone is balanced by some other celebratory element, like the lace and beading in today’s Jovani dress.


For the most part, you can approach cocktail attire and black tie optional in the same way. The only exception is if you want to wear a formal floor-length evening gown, then you should really only wear one if the invitation says Black Tie Optional and your date is wearing a tuxedo. If it’s black tie optional and your date opts for a suit, go for a cocktail dress that’s tea length or shorter. If you don’t have a date, try to touch base with other wedding guests and get a sense for whether most men in attendance (or at least the guys at your table) are wearing tuxedos. When in doubt, however, opt for a cocktail dress.

Check out Jovani’s full collection here, their boutique locator here, and if you live in Los Angeles, be sure to swing by their gorgeous Beverly Hills flagship store!

DRESS: c/o Jovani  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  BAG: Stella McCartney (affordable alternative HERE)


Thanks to Jovani for partnering on this post!

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8 Responses to Day 11: How To Dress for Cocktail Attire Weddings

  1. Natali says:

    This is a perfectly body hugging LBD! You are looking astonishing! 🙂


  2. You know perfectly how to dress for any occasion 😉 This outfit is beautiful, super elegant up to the last detail!


  3. Rach says:

    This dress is amazing and you look so gorgeous in it!


  4. OMG this dress is really cute, I love it and it suits you like a glove. You look gorgeous¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

    Today on my blog is about mothers, is like a tribute to all of them. Enjoy it¡¡¡¡¡¡

    Kisses from Miami


  5. Sarah says:

    Beautiful dress!

    My feminist is coming out though. Maybe the guys should be trying to find out what the women plan to wear and dress accordingly vs the women dressing to their choice of attire 😉

  6. This dress is lush and LOVE how it hugs your body. Absolutely stunning details too xx

    chevrons & éclairs

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