Styles Of Cocktail Dresses

From its inception in the 1920s, the cocktail gown has been the preferred garment for women attending semi-formal and formal parties. As Laird Borrelli-Persson points out in “The Cocktail Dress,” dance dresses flowed and formal gowns impressed while “the cocktail dress was short and sweet.”They’ve always come in a many styles and are most characterized by the length of their shorter hemlines and the choice of elegant fabric.
Little Black Dress
The little black dress was conceived by French designer Coco Chanel in 1926. Its first incarnation was a sleeveless sheath that hit just above the knee. The dress is often thought of as the foundation piece in a woman’s wardrobe. As long as it can go from day to evening with accessorizing, almost any black cocktail dress can function as a little black dress.
Strapless Dress
Strapless cocktail dresses are like short, less elaborate versions of formal strapless gowns. Fabric choice in a strapless dress is important; silk, satin, chiffon, tulle and lace overlays are appropriate while cotton or jersey knit may come off as too casual. Strapless cocktail dresses typically have fitted bodices, fitted waists highlighted with ribbon or a sleek belt and body-skimming, A-line or bubble skirts. Necklines vary and include straight and sweetheart.
Shift Dress
The shift cocktail dress is a classic silhouette that works best on straight figures. It usually has a high neckline and a straight skirt which extends from darts sewn in at the bust, resulting in an unstructured waistline. Shift cocktail gowns are often sleeveless or have cap sleeves. Long-sleeved shifts tend to have bell sleeves. Accessories tend to overplay the simplicity of the style; instead, shiny silk or patterns of sequence make it an appropriate cocktail dress.
A-Line Dress
The silhouette of an A-line cocktail dress often comes across as vintage-inspired, especially when constructed with a bateau neckline, a sleeveless bodice and a hemline that reach just past the knees. A-line skirts flare away from a woman’s body, so the upper portion of the dress tends to be body-skimming, which creates balance to the overall look. The accentuated waistline is a visual draw, which is often embellished with ribbon belts or rhinestone pins.

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