NYC style blogger Mary Orton in Rachel Zoe blue velvet wrap dress with clutch and sunglasses
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Wedding Guest — Cocktail Attire

It’s FRIDAY!  In continuation of last week’s Friendly Friday post, I’m enlisting the help of another dear friend to break down what to wear to winter weddings where cocktail attire is the uniform du jour.  Who better than the queen of glamour herself, my powerhouse friend, Rachel Zoe, to bring forth inspiration in spades.  

Shop The Look ×

RACHEL ZOE

Aly Dress (similar HERE and HERE)

JIMMY CHOO

Betty Illusion Sandal (similar HERE and HERE)

MINZA KHAN

BANO (similar HERE and HERE)

AMBER SCEATS

Saber Earrings (similar styles HERE and HERE)

The Vibe:
Styling Tips:
NYC style blogger in Rachel Zoe blue velvet dress with beaded clutch
NYC style blogger in blue velvet dress gold and black heels with small clutch

Rachel Zoe

Founder, CEO, Editor-In-Chief and Designer Extraordinaire  | @rachelzoe

 

The Fall and Winter holiday seasons are the most glamorous time of the year and therefore the best time to style yourself and dress up!  My most recent collection was inspired by 70’s glam rock and my love of rich jewel tones (like the dress Mary’s wearing today!), sequins and assorted metallics. I used luxurious textures and colors that exude effortless holiday glamour.  All of these dresses are perfect for a winter wedding or any occasion—the length allows you to show off a sexy pair of pumps or platforms. Throw a fringe or faux fur on your shoulders and amazing jewelry and you are instantly ready for the holidays.

NYC style blogger in velvet dress, gold heels, beaded clutch and sunglasses
NYC style blogger walking down steps in blue velvet midi dress with gold heels and beaded clutch
NYC style blogger in velvet wrap dress standing on steps

Before we all start hoarding Rachel’s gorgeous fall cocktail dresses in droves (my favorites are below and, fair warning, you might DIE), let’s first cover the ins and outs of what cocktail attire means, how it differs from black tie optional and any other restrictions when it comes to dressing for winter weddings that call for cocktail attire…

WHAT DOES COCKTAIL ATTIRE MEAN?

Let’s start out strong and answer the question everyone’s a teeny bit embarrassed to ask:  What does cocktail attire actually mean? The definition is surprisingly simple and has to do with length more than style.  A cocktail dress is any formal dress that is tea length or shorter. 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.  And remember, the dress has to be tea length or shorter and formal so leave any and all summery sundresses or casual sweater dresses out of the mix.

 

RACHEL ZOE

Aly Dress (similar HERE and HERE)

JIMMY CHOO

Betty Illusion Sandal (similar HERE and HERE)

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COCKTAIL ATTIRE AND BLACK TIE OPTIONAL?

 

People often have difficulty discerning between cocktail attire and black tie optional events or weddings, but here’s the deal:  For the most part, you can approach cocktail attire and black tie optional in the same way.  The only exception is that you should really only wear a formal floor-length evening gown if the invitation indicates Black Tie Optional and your date is wearing a tuxedo.  If it’s Black Tie Optional and your date wears 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.

 

MINZA KHAN

BANO (similar HERE and HERE)

NYC style blogger in blue velvet dress and black sunglasses

Of course, the gorgeous blue velvet frock I’m wearing today was designed by my special guest today, Rachel Zoe, and is just one of COUNTLESS drool-worthy dresses that make up her fall collection which I’ve rounded up below for your perusing pleasure.  (I mean, have you seen this sucker in red?!)  But without further ado, I’ll pass the mic off to Rachel to share more about her spectacular collection and her styling tips for winter weddings!  

 

RACHEL ZOE

Aly Dress (similar HERE and HERE)

NYC style blogger Mary Orton in Rachel Zoe blue velvet wrap dress with clutch and sunglasses

NYC style blogger in blue velvet wrap dress with beaded clutch and sunglasses
NYC style blogger in blue velvet wrap dress with clutch shielding eyes from the sun

3 thoughts on “Wedding Guest — Cocktail Attire”

  1. Hello! I just stumbled on your site and am a bit obsessed with your choices! I’m considering this dress for NYE, but wondered if it was too conservative. Thinking that the low neckline, material and exposed leg, paired with the right gold accessories, would fit in with the sequins and minis.

    Also, in your experience, how does Rachel Zoe run? I would want this to fit just as it does on you — is it offensive to ask your size? You have to know you look great!

    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you so much! I think the Rachel Zoe dress would look great as a NYE option. I would suggest going up one size. This particular dress runs a tad small.

      Mary

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