One of the most versatile dresses that were ever designed for wear on special occasions is the cocktail dress. While the events for which cocktail dresses are worn are usually late afternoon or early evening affairs that are too casual to be called black-tie events, many cocktail dresses can now be worn elsewhere, depending on the cut and the material of the dress and the accessories worn with it.
To wear a cocktail dress to a more formal event, all you need to do is to accessorize accordingly, perhaps wear more flashy pieces of jewelry and heavier makeup. If you need to wear something dressy to the office for any reason other than the usual skirt or pantsuit, you can wear a cocktail dress that is not too flashy and just throw on a blazer and slip into sensible office shoes. Many current styles of cocktail dresses are no longer limited to being party wear anymore.
Choosing what style of cocktail dress to wear, however, can be very tricky for most women. After all, only a few women could claim to have truly perfect bodies, and most women who do not fall into the supermodel category prefer to hide the flaws of their figures. Wearing a one-piece dress such as a cocktail dress can easily reveal those flaws if the dress does not fit the wearer.
In picking out the right cocktail dress to wear, a woman should always consider her body type - whether she is top-heavy or bottom-heavy, If she is bottom-heavy, her aim should be to draw attention to the upper part of her body and to her face. If she is top-heavy, she has the option either to emphasize her cleavage or to wear something that will pull the eyes to her legs.
What kind of cocktail dress would suit a woman with a bottom-heavy figure? As said above, a woman with a bottom-heavy figure would want to hide the thickness around her hips and thighs. A good cocktail dress for her to wear would be a dress that fits closely around the waist but without the seams pushed out by extra padding around the abdomen and has a skirt that flares out around the hips and thighs. A cocktail dress with a full skirt would be perfect for a woman with a bottom-heavy figure because it will definitely hide whatever flabbiness and bulges that she wishes not to be seen around her lower body.
Another option available for a woman with a bottom-heavy figure is a cocktail dress that sports an empire-style waistline. A cocktail dress with an empire-style waistline has the waist placed higher, thereby pulling the eyes towards the shoulders, the neck and the face. It also drapes and skims over the lower body. The only risk with wearing an empire-style cocktail dress, however, is that the empire-style cut is often used on maternity dresses, and so a woman wearing such a dress may be mistaken to be pregnant.
And yet another choice open for a woman with a bottom-heavy figure is a cocktail dress that is either sleeveless or strapless, also with a flaring skirt. Again, baring the arms and the shoulders is effective in drawing attention away from the hips.
As for women with top-heavy figures, she could either emphasize her cleavage or her legs, as mentioned above. If she wants to put focus on her legs rather than her cleavage, she can wear a cocktail dress with a solid-colored top paired with a patterned skirt. She can hike the hem of her skirt up to make it shorter and really draw the eyes to her legs.
If she wants to attract attention to her ample cleavage rather than her legs, she can cover up her legs in a long-skirted cocktail dress but reveal a little skin on her upper body with a low V-neck or plunging neckline. In fact, she can draw the eyes to both her top and her legs by wearing a short cocktail dress with a low neckline if she wants to. What she should not do is to wear a cocktail dress with an overly busy top because it will make her upper body appear larger and skew the balance of her figure.
Accessories also help to keep the illusion of balance on a woman, Bottom-heavy women can wear flashy earrings, necklaces or chokers, while top-heavy women can forego the necklace and opt for a bracelet instead. However, she should buy her cocktail dress first before figuring out what accessories, bag and shoes to wear.
Cocktail dresses are versatile dresses that can be worn on any occasion that requires some degree of formality without being a full black-tie event. A woman should be able to choose the right cocktail dress that can really flatter her body type.