Style 101: Casual Cocktail

Essential Style Tips

Casual cocktail is a fun, relaxed, yet dressy category that can take you from simply going out for an evening with friends to actual casual cocktail parties.

Knowing how to dress for this category will also come in handy for the parties you may find yourself invited to during the holiday season. And on a personal note, this is my favorite category of evening-out dressing!

An easy way to approach this concept is to start with your base, and for that and our purposes here, we will use the flare-leg jean. We all love our jeans, so getting to spend an evening out in them when we are otherwise dressed up is just plain fun. Why the flare-leg, you ask? Because flare-leg jeans are by far the most flattering jean style you can put on your body.

I continually hear women say, “I can’t wear flare (or bootcut, which is a less substantial flare) legs—I have hips and thighs!” And to that, I always respond, “Regardless of your body type, this is the most flattering pant style for all women—I promise!” Invariably the client or whoever is making this statement comes back to me saying, “you are right! I had no idea.” So please trust me on this. The bootcut and flare-leg silhouette is your best friend.

We’ve established our base with our jeans so let’s move on. You will see a number of different top styles as you look through the shopping that you can access using the link below. My number one recommendation is the halter top. This halter top must go to at least the base of your throat. You do not want cleavage with this, as it diminishes the chic of your look. The plunging neckline with the plunging back is just too much going on at once. Please remember this philosophy, as you can apply it over and over again throughout the years as you shop for halters.

Another aspect of the halter to remember is that the cutaway sleeve, so to speak, is the most flattering silhouette for your arms if you are doing sleeveless. That’s why when I talk about tank tops, I always press for racerbacks. It’s the same concept. Not all of us want to go sleeveless, so you will see a number of alternatives in the shopping section as well.

Another tip: I always recommend black as you get more punch for your look with black. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a red carpet event and observed some glorious gown going down the runway in a color and thought if that dress had been black, it would have catapulted that look through the stratosphere. The color was lovely, so all wasn’t wasted but had it been black…. Wow! So as you shop, you will note not all the tops to go with the jeans are black, as one should always have options, but black is the ultimate chic “go-to” color. Just some food for thought.

You have no doubt heard me talk about the “third piece,” and here I have included a cashmere wrap for that pull-it-all-together purpose. I consider the wrap a wardrobe essential that will serve you in many wonderful ways. I have also included a couple of black velvet jackets which are also fabulous for casual cocktail looks!

Where accessories are concerned, I have included a few fun earrings for your look. You will note there are no necklaces or bracelets, and the reason for that is simplicity. Coco Chanel used to advise that you should put your accessories on, then look in the mirror and take at least one off.  I say just leave them off, period. True chic is simplicity, and the earrings I’ve shopped (or something similar) add just the right amount of “decoration” so that you and your fabulous look are the focus rather than being loaded down with “stuff.”

When talking shoes, simple, delicate strappy sandals are the ticket for your fabulous casual cocktail look. We have shopped a few for you, and each will do the trick of completing your look beautifully. Stay away from pumps with this look. If you are wearing skinny jeans, then “yes” to pumps, but they should not be worn with flares. I also would absolutely stay away from boots of any kind. Just a couple of helpful tips.

Lastly, though you do not see any examples here, you will want a small bag, be it a clutch, shoulder, or crossbody. Large bags are absolutely wrong for evenings of any kind so please always remember to stay away from them when planning your cocktail looks.

Casual cocktail is something we do year-round and most especially during the holiday season, so have fun and party looking like a million dollars.

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