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"Cocktail" wedding attire

elizat

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Mar 23, 2013
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We are going to a wedding Saturday. We don't go to a lot of weddings or events because we are both pretty introverted. Invitation is cocktail. I really don't want to buy anything...I will not wear it again.

Can I get away with this dress, which I own in a small dot print? It's Navy with red dots. Photo is not me. I'm short and chubby.

IMG_4721.jpg
 

diamondseeker2006

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55,105
I think it will be fine. In general, a cocktail dress would be a little more dressy, but people generally do not adhere to strict guidelines unless it is very formal and the men are all wearing tuxes. In that case, I'd be wearing a more formal evening dress.
 

elizat

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@diamondseeker2006 thanks- I thought it was a tiny bit casual but we are also in Florida. I asked my mom what she thought was appropriate and she sent me photos of lots of sequins and ruffles! I am very basic- lots of neutrals and a line dresses. You couldn't pay me to wear a sequined dress!
 

marymm

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Yes, you can totally wear that style of dress for a cocktail/wedding attire - just be sure to wear dressier shoes and accessories and do your hair beautifully - have fun at the wedding!
 

junebug17

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Agree with others, this style will be fine! I'd just add some of your pretty sparklies and dressy shoes. You'll be good to go. Have a great time!
 

chemgirl

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Sep 16, 2009
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I wouldn’t hesitate to wear that dress to a cocktail wedding reception.

You might be more on the casual side of the spectrum of guest attire, but it’s totally fine.
 

elizabethess

Shiny_Rock
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Since the question isn't "is this cocktail?" (no, I don't personally think so) but rather "can I get away with it?" given you don't want to buy anything new? Well, sure, why not :) You aren't being egregious--like wearing jeans or something super-revealing--and I doubt people will be policing nuances of guests' clothing.

For what it's worth, my interpretation of cocktail wedding is a short, evening-style dress. Your dress is the right length and the shape is fine it's just the fabric/color/print read more 'day dress' to me. I have worn plenty of similar silhouettes to weddings that are cocktail attire, just a more luxe, non-print fabric.
 

tyty333

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Agree with most of the others...it will work. Dress it up with jewelry, nice purse, and nice shoes. I live in FL and weddings tend to be more
casual than up north IMO.

Saying "cocktail" probably means they are hoping people dont show up in jeans :) .
 

missy

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Yes you can get away with this dress but as others have written it is a bit too casual for conventional cocktail attire. However being in Florida makes it more acceptable than if you were attending the wedding in NYC let's say. If you are comfortable in the dress rock it and perhaps dress it up with jewelry and accessories if you can.

It is definitely a regional thing and I think the northeast is more formal than other regions. Truthfully whatever you wear will probably be beautiful and you shouldn't worry about it. I bet you will look more lovely than 90% of the guests. Just a gut feeling.
 

elizat

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@missy you are too sweet! It's definitely more casual here. I have lots of floral dresses but because this is November I didn't think my florals would be okay. I know not wanting to buy anything is a little lazy, but it truly will never be worn. It's not the money, but the single use clothing item. I may try to dig in the closet and see if I have anything else a little dressier, but the other end of the spectrum will be my business suits!
 

KristyDarling

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That totally works! That's a really cute dress and qualifies in my book as being dressier, including cocktail.
 

lyra

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It's fine. All eyes will be, and should be, on the bride. I'm sure the bride is fine within those parameters.
 

elizat

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Mar 23, 2013
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Do you have a little black number in your closet? It doesn‘t have to be expensive but will get you through most any occasion flawlessly.
Yes, multiple! I just thought that black was against the rules! I have tons of black dresses!
 
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josieKat

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May 13, 2018
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What time of day is it? If before dark I think the dress you have is fine just like everyone else. If it will transition into evening, I'd go with one of your black dresses (unless you know for sure no one would be caught dead in black at a wedding in Florida - black would be completely fine in my experience in the Northeast).
 

GliderPoss

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Sep 25, 2008
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Hmmm I think one you have posted is a tad daywear/casual for “cocktail” but if you dressed it up with heels, makeup @ lots of bling it would pass. I also think the rule against black isn’t so strict now! Perhaps reach out to the bride & check with her?
 

missy

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Black is fine (in the NE for sure) for weddings. In fact, I was the matron of honor for my sister's wedding and my dress was black. It was a Saturday evening wedding. For a day wedding I might chose a non black dress however I do think black is acceptable for all occasions these days. There really are no rules though like @Gussie I would never want to wear white at someone else's wedding.
 

Rubymal

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Feb 27, 2019
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I think that dress is cute and totally appropriate for a wedding. At my wedding two weeks ago, I'd put "elegant cocktail" for attire so people wouldn't show up in super casual clothes. One of the groomsmen brought a girl who wore a strappy (at the beach kind of) short plain dress with an oversized cardigan sweater. I was a bit miffed at that. She didn't even bother introducing herself to me. Maybe she knew she showed up underdressed!
 

PintoBean

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I'd get a plain black a line dress and use it as the all purpose weddings, funerals, job interviews dress. I'd change it up with patterned stockings, jewelry, bolero, jackets, cardigans, etc based on the occasion.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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Apr 30, 2019
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my sister had a late autumn cocktail wedding (i was just a quest not a bridesmaid)
i was out of my league
my mother sent me a cheque and my sister was mad i didn't buy new shoes with it

that colour green is beautiful on you and your hair is to die for

just bling everything up a few notches, after a couple of drinks no one notices anything
 

missy

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@elizat you already have so many good suggestions but fyi (you really cannot go wrong IMO):


Cocktail Attire for Men:
Afternoon suits, typically with ties. Acceptable colors are grays, neutrals, and black for dress shoes. Most fashionistas suggest avoiding any bright color or bold suit/shirt patterns, and not to be too "overly matched" Pocket squares are ok, but may be a bit too flashy or formal for the late 20s/early 30s crowd.
Cocktail Attire for Women:
Women have a few more options. Tea-length formal dresses or skirts are a great option, though some women may feel comfortable wearing pant suits. If you go for a suit or a skirt, a jacket is suggested. Again, avoid ultra bold patterns and if you’re going to a traditional wedding, veer away from white. Though you can get by with hints of white/cream.
When the dress code on an invitation reads "cocktail attire," it suggests a dark suit worn with a tie (a navy or charcoal grey suit is best) for men, and a shorter, party-ready dress for women, such as a little black dress or even dressy separates like a skirt and blouse
Have fun with it. Choose something from your wardrobe you love wearing and if it is a little black dress go for it as it is A OK. And bling it up if you want. And then please come back here and share photos. Congrats to the bride and groom and have a wonderful time. :appl:
 

luv2sparkle

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Feb 3, 2008
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I went to a wedding that specified cocktail attire and no one dressed in anything close. Just like every other wedding I have been to, if was a mix of everything.
 
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