22 Best Cocktail Dresses of 2023


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Aug 11, 2023

22 Best Cocktail Dresses of 2023

Our editors handpick the products that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page. Because getting dressed is half the fun. Ready the arsenal: A new season's refreshed social

Our editors handpick the products that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

Because getting dressed is half the fun.

Ready the arsenal: A new season's refreshed social calendar will bring an onslaught of invites. Whether your inbox foresees a birthday party, wedding reception, work function, or any other dressy event, it will be handy to have a few cocktail dresses in the rotation.

But with so many dress codes to decipher, you may be wondering: What is appropriate for cocktail attire, and what exactly is a cocktail dress? Less fussy and formal than an evening gown, a cocktail dress is appropriate for a myriad of dressy parties. There are, of course, spring dress styles that run the gamut, from sleeveless to one-shoulder to long-sleeve if you’re looking for arm coverage. Length and fabrication, more often than not, is a good indication of a cocktail dress. However, don't fret. Cooler autumn weather still allows for fun mini to midi dresses, but pay attention to material such as airy silk, satin, draped jersey, and the like. And have fun with embellishment! Sequins, florals, and lace bring the festive spirit. While color is always an encouraged choice, a glamorous little black dress won’t fail you if the invite calls for cocktail attire. To complete your evening outfit, opt for heels or fancy flats, a fun bag, and gleaming jewelry.

Here is our edit of the best cocktail dresses to make an entrance in, no matter what your budget, body type, or celebration.

Sweet lace is foolproof when the warmer weather sets in. This feminine fit-and-flare frock should do the trick for a cocktail attire wedding. Throw on a shawl over your shoulders for cooler weather outings and it's still guaranteed to impress.

Allover ruching, fluttery sleeves, a V-neck, and stretch jersey make this dress a reliable standby for an evening event.

Sleek and low-key sexy, this body-con column dress features bra-friendly wide straps, a draped cowl neck and bodice, and an asymmetrical hemline. Translation: a lot of dress for $35.

Sheer mesh brings an understated elegance to this classic black dress. Don't miss the elongating front seams and V-back.

Simple yet sophisticated, this figure-hugging sheath has a sweetheart neckline and darted seams for a little oomph.

Simple yet elegant and dressy, this number goes great with a pair of high heels and a statement necklace or chandelier earrings. Plus, you can transform this cocktail dress from nighttime to office with a neutral blazer.

If romantic florals are your calling card, be sure to check out Reformation. The contemporary brand offers a covetable selection of party dresses, such as this pretty cap-sleeved midi with side-button detail—lovely for a spring cocktail.

If you don't own a slip dress, snap this one up immediately. Crafted of 100 percent mulberry silk with a flattering bias cut (and available in a slew of colors), it's the ultimate workhorse. Wear it solo, topped with a tuxedo blazer, piles of jewelry...it's a blank canvas.

One-shoulder styles continue to reign, and this plus-size option ticks all the boxes: It has stretch, a flattering wrap front, and an adjustable self-tie belt, and it comes in a range of colors.

Want to test out the ubiquitous cutout trend? Try it on a long-sleeved style, like this wearable A-line dress that reveals just a hint of skin.

With a flattering wrap front and tulip hem, this spaghetti strap dress, available from XXS through size 3X, is appropriate for a fancy dinner or date night.

With a foldover neckline that bares the shoulders, this fitted sheath offers a unique take on the LBD.

Like a jolt of confidence, this wide-sleeve midi number in green will have you feeling extra bold.

It's all about the cowl-neck halter and the edgy asymmetrical hem on this satin mini dress.

A flowy, softly draped fit lets the sunny yellow hue shine on this midi dress.

A versatile long-sleeved silhouette in a punchy, "look at me" color works for a slew of events. Plus, the stretchy fabric and side ruching flatters all body types.

You'll get compliments all night in this unique dress that feels plucked from a vintage store. The olive dress with gold details is also great for mixing and matching. We especially love the skirt that offers pretty movement when you're walking (or dancing).

Available in over 25 color combinations, this slim-fit, ribbed dress with waist cutout just needs heels and a clutch.

Billowy soft sleeves, soft buttons, and a fitted waist with belt (not to mention the cotton-candy-pink hue) make for a romantic effect.

Sparkly metallic silver was seen all over the runways this spring, and this festive mini with wrap front is a festive way to tap into the trend.

Paula Lee is a freelance Fashion Editor. Off duty, she can be found day-tripping around the tri-state area, hanging around farm animals, or browsing the library stacks.

Pooja Shah is a freelance writer and lawyer based in New York. She writes on commerce, culture, lifestyle, and travel. More of her work is at www.pooja-shah.com.

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