Heading for a cocktail party? You know what to wear, then. The eponymous cocktail wear is the classic outfit for semi-formal occasions. Nowadays, the cocktail dress is usually worn with skirt lengths over the knee, but did you know that originally, cocktail dresses came in maxi-length? There were even specific terms for the various lengths of cocktail dresses, from “tea length” which ended just above ankle, to ballerina length that touched the ankle and went even further down. Cocktail dresses by definition are elegant, smart garments, worn for early evening engagements. Yes, cocktails may be served at such occasions, so glamour and sparkles are allowed when it comes to cocktail dresses. High heels are practically a must, when you sport a cocktail dress. Elegant ladies also opt for sheer black or trendy nude tights that accentuate their legs. Cocktail dresses for every shape and occasion On Shopstyle we present cocktail dresses that suit every shape and form. Petite and less curvy women will find the perfect cocktail dress among our selection of layered and gathered dresses. Cocktail dresses in wrap styles and with surplice tops are another tip for slender women. Curvy women can accentuate their bustline with V-shaped necklines and empire waistlines and distract the attention away from their problem areas by accessorising with eye-catching jewellery. A-line and empire dresses also work well for women with slender upper body and wider hips. Choose asymmetrical hemlines and flared skirts if you have broad shoulders and slim hips. Casual cocktail dresses in cotton fabrics and with print patterns are perfect for informal cocktail parties and look great paired with plain high heels. For a more glamorous occasion, choose a cocktail dress in monochrome, elegant fabrics and go all out on accessorising. A peplum jacket adds style to a more casual cocktail dress and upgrades it instantly. Whatever you do, know your best features and choose the dress that accentuates your figure. Shopstyle helps you find the perfect dress for the next party.