The summer cocktail dress is this sort ambiguous term—is it a taffeta mini, a sleek silk slip dress, a backless printed poplin? In short, it can be all of those things. Cocktail dressing is a mood. What do you want to wear to sip a Paloma by a pool? A dirty martini on a rooftop? A mocktail in a cabana?
Tatiana Hambro, editorial director of Moda Operandi tells BAZAAR.com for her, the warm weather party dress is all about experimentation,”For me, a summer cocktail party is nothing if not a great excuse to push the boundaries on your personal style. Something about heat encourages experimentalism, and there’s usually no formal dress code (nor bride!) to appease.” How that translates is different for each cocktail-dress-wearing individual. “For some, that may mean a more vivacious palette, or prints when they normally wear solids… but I’m currently gravitating towards unexpected—even a slightly daring—silhouettes and texture play. Enter: Aya Muse’s low-rise, very ’90s cutout black dress, House of Aama’s slinky, naked-but-not “La Sirene” power mesh maxi, and Magda Butrym’s three-dimensional floral mini. All these looks you can dress down with flats and undone hair, or amp up with heels and big earrings,” she continues. Shop 22 dresses that will make summer cocktail-ing even more of a party. And yes, cocktail-ing can be a verb.
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The Ultra-Feminine Dress
Open Back Dress
This refreshing shade of this dress, airy fabric, and sexy-in-the-back vibe add up a very fun take on cocktail dressing.
Elevated Shirt Dressing
La Robe Lagoa off-shoulder maxi dress
This particular shade of green shows no sign of slowing and we adore the halter detail.
Skinny Strap Poof Dress in Mini Bouquet
A perfectly lovely take on cocktail dressing.
The Ultimate Confection
Tilde Cloqué Open-Back Mini Dress
When in doubt, think pink.
Exclusive to Mytheresa – Cutout ruched minidress
Cut-outs are just getting more and more interesting.
Lou Lou Maxi
This versatile maxi can go to weddings or easy beach cocktails depending on footwear choice.
Monza Cutout Jersey Midi Dress
The subtle yellow color and long-sleeves make this one a winner.
Moda Operandi Pick
La Sirene Bodycon Maxi Dress
“You can dress down with flats and undone hair, or amp up with heels and big earrings,” Tatiana Hambro tells BAZAAR.com.
Nolie Cotton Midi Dress
We rarely met flocking we didn’t love.
The Organic Dress
Solene Pleated Organic Cotton Dress
MINI DRESS WITH BOW
This is giving glam ’90s in the best way.
The Slip Dress
Willa Lace-Trimmed Cutout Silk Maxi Dress
This lingerie-inspired piece is so pretty, we’d consider wearing it to bed, too.
The Graphic Take
Origami Linen Midi Dress
This dress can go from the office with a blazer to cocktails with heels.
For when you’re feeling extra bold.
The Boho Option
Paint The Town Printed Midi Dress
This breezy printed dress is made for gladiator sandals and a laid-back disposition.
Silk Chiffon Organza Dress
We love the interesting color-blocking and shape happening in this piece. It’s giving Paloma Picasso.
It hardly gets prettier than this purple printed mini.
The Jean Queen
Denim Ruffle Dress
We love the idea of a denim cocktail dress. This one is anything but casual.
Open-back shell midi dress
This deceptively simple dress has a lot of interesting elements—from an open back to an asymmetrical hemline.
White Cut-Out Dress
This barely-there long white dress is giving all the modern vibes of summer.
The Maxi Dress
Chain-Detailed Satin Maxi Dress
Chain mail and a floral print add up to a very cool approach to cocktail dressing.
The Off-The-Shoulder Option
Muna off-the-shoulder gathered woven midi dress
Linen dresses aren’t all made equally.
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