What is casual cocktail attire? A visual guide for men and women

What is casual cocktail attire? A visual guide for men and women

A cocktail party is one of those events you want to attend, as it brings together people from different social classes. It is also an opportunity for people to showcase their fashion; therefore, what you wear to the party matters. Sometimes, there is a specified cocktail dress code, but if there isn’t, you should show up dressed for the occasion. Usually, a casual cocktail attire is appropriate for these events.

Casual cocktail attire: Two ladies and a man showing different options for casual cocktail attire
Two ladies and a man showing different options for casual cocktail attire. Photo: @houseoffatashagridd, @reverse_suitscollection, @retailtheraphy_hc on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Cocktail attire originated in the 1920s and 1930s when wealthy elites gathered for a drink before dinner. The time for the drink was named cocktail hour, and then there was a formal dress code for it. Over the years, the cocktail dress code has evolved and been used in different events, including weddings and other social events. Which casual cocktail attire is suitable for you?

Casual cocktail attire

When it comes to fashion sense, people have their unique preferences. However, you must know which casual cocktail attire to wear to appear trendy at a cocktail party. You can choose different combinations of outfits to nail the semi-formal look you want. Below are various casual cocktail attire for women and men.

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Female cocktail casual attire

You have plenty of options for casual cocktail attire for women. You have different combinations, from long dresses to jumpsuits, to achieve an elegant, timeless appearance. If you seemingly cannot figure out what is right for you, here is a guide on selecting your attire.


Ladies wearing casual cocktail dresses
Ladies wearing casual cocktail dresses. Photo: @houseoffatashagridd on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Dresses are a perfect choice for a cocktail party. It does not necessarily have to be a long dress, but one that ends just above the knees will do. You can also opt for a slitted dress but ensure that it is a sizable slit. You should also consider a high-quality fabric with a colourful shade. Dresses are also suitable casual cocktail attire for weddings.


Women donning jumpsuits
Women showcase various jumpsuit designs. Photo: @jumpsuit_magazine on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Jumpsuits are an option if you do not like rocking dresses but still want a simple, timeless look. They bring out your easy yet sophisticated nature that dedicates your class. You can enhance your appearance by choosing conspicuous colours and donning accessories such as necklaces and waist belts. However, be careful not to select jumpsuits that are too casual.

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Women wearing blouses for casual cocktail attire
Women wearing blouses for casual cocktail attire. Photo: @bloom_kenya, @lizolafashionkenya, @retailtherapy_hc on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Blouses are an excellent choice if you are good at finding a matching skirt or pair of trousers. They also come in handy if you do not like full dresses or jumpsuits, which would seem quite limiting if you want multiple colours.

White button-down blouses are a good choice, but you can also opt for a sleek black scoop neck. Should you choose any other colour for a blouse, ensure you balance it with the colour of the bottom attire.

Skirts and dress pants

Ladies displaying different dress pant designs
Ladies displaying different dress pant designs. Photo: @siristudio on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Like dresses, skirt length is an important consideration, and it should be between your shins and slightly above the knees.

For the material, silk is preferable, but you can choose something different but classy, such as vegan leather. Alternatively, you can go for a pleated pant dress with bold colours. However, you are free to choose any colour that pleases you.

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A variety of heeled sandals for casual cocktail attire
A variety of heeled sandals for casual cocktail attire. Photo: @heels_city_kenya, @shoetiqueke (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Choosing casual ladies' shoes for a casual cocktail party would be wrong. Go for classy, fancy shoes, such as heeled sandals, classic ankle-strap block heels, or cute mules. Importantly, ensure your choice of shoes matches your choice of clothes and colour.

Cocktail attire for men

Unlike women’s attire, men’s attire is quite straightforward. The goal is to keep it simple but classy. Here are essential clothing tips for casual cocktail attire for males.


Men donning different coloured suits
Men donning different coloured suits. Photo: @reverse_suitscollection on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Even though it is a casual event, there is no excuse for not donning a suit. You should go for a properly fitting bespoke suit which depicts your unique style. Ensure the suit’s high-quality fabric, and go for bold colours that exude your confidence. Do not overdo your dress to the extent that you upgrade the guest of honour.


A man showing different coloured plain shirts
A man showing different coloured plain shirts. Photo: @kiemo_mens_wear on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Once you have the right suit, choose a matching shirt. Neutral colours, such as white, are the best, but should you decide otherwise, go for a dress shirt that is grey or navy blue.

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You can also have a striped or checked shirt, but ensure they are moderate to not clash with the entire outfit. Importantly, choose high-quality fabric for your shirt.


Men in suits showing their neck bow and long ties
Men in suits show their neck bows and long ties. Photo: @reverse_suitskenya, @weddingaccessorieskenya, @luxxure_kenya_suits (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A nice tie is another must-have for casual cocktail attire. You can choose a bow tie or a long one, depending on your preference.

While a black tie is recommended, you must not necessarily wear a plain black tie and can choose other colour combinations to suit your style. Ensure whatever colour of tie you select matches with the rest of the outfit.

Shoes and socks

A display of different men's formal shoes
A display of different men's formal shoes. Photo: @gramarshoez, @elegant_mens_footwear, @thehavenshoes on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A nice formal pair of shoes complements your casual cocktail attire. For the socks, ensure that they go above the calf so that the skin of your leg is not exposed even if you are sitting.

Even though the use of shouting colours is restricted for the rest of the attire, you are free to use them for the socks. You can go for patterned happy socks.

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What does casual cocktail attire mean?

Even though cocktail events are formal, this attire is a blend of formal cocktail attire and business casual attire. They are also appropriate for events such as weddings and romantic dates.

What should a woman wear to a casual cocktail party?

Women can opt for dresses, jumpsuits, blouses, and dress pants. Women also have plenty of casual attire options, but you must be careful not to don too casual outfits. Ensure you have a balance between casual and formal outfits.

Can you wear jeans to a casual cocktail?

Jeans are overly simple and, thus, not recommended as casual cocktail attire. Even though the goal is to be as simple as possible, class and elegance must be maintained.

What casual cocktail attire is ideal for men in summer?

A suit is mandatory, but you can shake things a little by opting for a T-shirt and trainers or loafers without socks. Avoid clothes with thick and heavy fabric that make you uncomfortable in warm weather.

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What is a casual cocktail dress for men?

For men, a tailored suit is a must-have. You can complete the look by having a plain colour shirt, bow or long tie, and a pair of classy shoes.

Do you need a tie for cocktail casual?

Yes. It is a crucial outfit which perfectly completes your gentleman’s look. It can be a bow or a long tie but should not be of shouting colours.

What is not acceptable for cocktail attire?

Overly casual attire, such as streetwear, is not acceptable. Sports coats, jackets, and jeans are not allowed.

Choosing the best casual cocktail attire might be daunting if you do not know how to go about it. The objective is to maintain a simple and elegant appearance that depicts class. For ladies, a wide range of outfits would suit a cocktail event, while a suit is a must-have for men.

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Legit.ng recently published outfit ideas for a concert. Music lovers are always looking forward to the next concert. While enjoying good music is the main thing, fashion also plays an important part.

What should you wear to a concert? Since it will be a fun-filled event, you want to feel comfortable in your outfit and match the venue's vibe. Here are outfit ideas for a concert to make you stand out.

Source: Legit.ng

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