The Best Cocktail Dresses for Your Next Formal Event

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When looking for a cocktail or evening dress for an upcoming special occasion, Amazon might not be the first place that comes to mind and might seem even slightly overwhelming. However, Amazon is home to many dresses, with some being cocktail style, formal or otherwise, and that could be ideal for your next event.

We have done some of the initial legwork and sourced some of the finest cocktail dresses in 2022. These dresses all have flattering lines and come in a wide variety of solid colors, patterned, and beautiful lace options (fully lined) that will surely make heads turn.

Also included are bodycon-style, high-low, skater-style, and a versatile mini shift dress that are all worthy of being checked out. The beauty of these dresses is not only their amazing price points but since formal events are usually few and far between, you can feel good knowing you don’t have to spend a fortune on a dress you may end up only wearing once.

Our Favorite Cocktail Dress Worth Considering in 2022

Muxxn Sleeveless Pencil Dress  —  Best Overall

The Sleeveless Pencil Dress by Muxxzn is a retro-inspired, knee-length, classic dress that will keep you looking chic for many occasions. The pleated detail design across the waist area and asymmetrical sleeveless neckline, make this dress very flattering and easy to wear. The dress is made of rayon, cotton, and spandex materials, making it ultra form-fitting, yet extremely stretchy and comfortable and it has a hidden, zip-up back to make getting on and off fast and easy. Pair with your favorite pair of kitten heels, slingbacks, or your favorite sandals for a finished look.

Pros

  • This dress comes in 15+ color options

Cons

  • The white color may be slightly see-through

Missmay Lace Cocktail Dress  —  Runner Up

Missmay’s Retro Cocktail Swing Dress has a vintage look and feel with an all-over floral lace pattern that will easily take you from your holiday parties to your Spring and Summer weddings and even the occasional date night when you just want to wow. Made from a comfortable blend of nylon and spandex, this dress is very stretchy and will form nicely to your figure while its boat neckline and long sleeves create a flattering silhouette. This dress will work with any of your favorite heels and sandals and can be worn with a lightweight cardigan when the weather cools.

Pros

  • The top of the dress has rubber borders around the shoulder area to keep it from slipping

Cons

  • This dress runs a size big

Sarin Mathews Cocktail Skater Dress  —  Honorable Mention

Another ultra-flattering, fit and flare cocktail dress is this one by Sarin Matthews. This all-occasion dress has an off-the-shoulder top and a unique, high-low hem that can be worn casually or to more formal events including graduations and parties, and is appropriate for any work events that may arise. It is made from a thicker cotton blend material so you don’t have to worry about it being see-through and has some spandex for stretch and shape.

Pros

  • For its price point, this is a great, all-occasion dress

Cons

  • If you don’t like wearing strapless bras, another option might be better

Belongsci Mini Shift Dress  —  Contender

If a looser, less structured dress is more your style, but you still want some versatility, the mini dress by Belongsci is another great option. This is an above-the-knee dress with a v-neck front and 3/4 length bell sleeves that are easily dressed up or dressed down with the simple addition of accessories. This dress is made of a high-quality chiffon-type fabric that is lined for security and has a straight up and down fit and can be belted for some shape or worn alone with a great pair of heels.

Pros

  • This dress comes in great solid colors and patterns

Cons

  • It is recommended to refer to the correct size chart to ensure proper sizing

Merokeety Sleeveless Cocktail Dress  —  Also Consider

Another great lace cocktail dress is this elegant sheath-style one from Merokeety which is a form-fitting, knee-length dress with an all-over lace design that is fully lined. A high neckline and sleeveless design complete this classicly- shaped dress that will get you through a variety of occasions and formal events. The soft and stretchy lace material makes this body con dress comfortable to wear and the hidden back zip keeps the dress looking elegant. There really isn’t any place this dress can’t be worn and is one where less is definitely more to ensure the dress is the star of the show.

Pros

  • The sleeves and neckline are accented with a beautiful eyelash lace design

Cons

  • It is important to read the size chart for the correct sizing

Veiisar Lace Cocktail Dress  —  Editor's Pick

The very versatile, fit and flare dress from Veiisar can be worn by the bride, on the beach with some flip-flops, or to a great cocktail party with some heels and a great clutch. However you choose to wear it, this dress is made from 100% polyester and does not have any stretch so correct sizing is important. The crux of this dress, however, is the beautiful, all-over lace overlay that hits slightly below the knee to a midi length and comes with an ideal-lengthed lining that ends slightly higher than the lace for a more unique look.

Pros

  • This back zip on this dress is invisible

Cons

  • The white color might be slightly see-through

Homeyee Sleeveless Cocktail Dress  —  Another Option

Homeyee’s elegant take on the cocktail dress features everything you need to turn heads at your next formal event. Designed with a flared, a-line shape that hits at the knees, this sleeveless dress can show off your favorite assets while concealing your not-so-fave. Made from a comfortable and stretchy polyester, cotton, and spandex mix, this dress also has a cinched waist that is accented with beautiful lace to give you some shape and a concealed zipper at the back. Finish the look with a pair of heels, mules, or slingbacks and your favorite evening bag.

Pros

  • This dress has a ton of solid and print color options

Cons

  • The lace piece at the waist is only on the front of the dress

Buying Guide: Cocktail Dresses

Cocktail dresses are so-called because they were first designed when the cocktail hour was created. Back in the days when the upper classes were expected to be both sophisticated, reserved, and glamorous, the cocktail dress was born. It was created to bridge the gap between casual daywear and evening wear.

Cocktail dresses have changed in style and can be worn at formal events such as weddings and fundraisers. They are more conservative than something you may see people wear to a club but far more fabulous than something you would see someone wear to the office.

A well-made cocktail dress with lace, velvet, or any other silky material will make you feel like a movie starlet. With so many cocktail dresses to choose from, you are sure to find the right cocktail dress for your needs with a bit of help from us.

Continue reading to see some things you should consider to ensure you make the best purchase possible.

Luxurious Materials Will Make You Look Like a Goddess

Certain materials do not suit formal events or date-night. For example, denim is quintessentially casual, as is linen. On the other hand, certain materials are quintessentially more sensual and chic. Some of these materials include:

  • Velvet

Velvet makes a dress look more luxurious. However, if you want to make a statement, you can combine velvet with sequins and lace.

  • Satin and silk

Silk feels fantastic on your skin and looks elegant. Satin is a less expensive option. Something about the sheen of these fabrics makes them look more appropriate for evening wear.

  • Chiffon

Although chiffon can be used casually, it also lends itself perfectly to formal wear. In addition, it is an excellent material for covering arms and other body parts. This material will show the skin while hiding cellulite, light stretch marks, and scars.

Embellishments Give a Cocktail Dress Wow-Factor

Some dresses rely too heavily on how figure-hugging or revealing they are to turn heads. That is great if you have the perfect figure. If this is the case, you will probably look amazing in anything you wear. However, if you don’t have the perfect bust and want to add some personality to your dress, embellishments will make you look more attractive.

You may want to look for a cocktail dress with sequin details that look beautiful when the light catches them. Faux flowers and ruffled hems are also an option. Shoulder pads create a more robust look that can appear sexy when combined with other feminine features. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

There have been several bold colors seen on the catwalk this season. The most popular color is royal blue, which will suit those with cool skin undertones. Another popular choice is lime green, making a massive statement when used in a cocktail dress. This shade will look better on paler skin than on darker skin.

On the other hand, bright orange will look best on those with darker skin and warm undertones. Yellow is currently a catwalk favorite and is better suited to warm skin tones. However, this color will also look fabulous on those with pale or dark skin, as long as they have warm undertones.

If you are unsure of what your skin undertone is, you can always opt for kelly green; another catwalk favorite that will turn heads for all the right reasons no matter what your skin color.

Choose the Best Style of Dress for Your Body Shape

There are five main body shapes. These include inverted triangle shapes, rectangle shapes, hourglass shapes, pear shapes, and apple shapes.

Inverted triangle

If you have a triangle shape, you will have broader shoulders and a larger bust than your waist and legs. Inverted triangle shapes should choose small straps and plenty of detail around the waist, like a belt or ruffles.

Rectangle

Rectangular body shapes have few curves. They are often slender, or the weight distribution is so even that there are no curves. Those with a rectangle body shape should look for a dress that adds curves. A mermaid tail cocktail dress will achieve this. A waist belt detail can also add a nice touch.

Hourglass

If you have an hourglass body shape, you are lucky enough to wear any style of dress, but you will especially look great in a bodycon dress.

Pear

If you have a pear shape, you are more prominent around the bum and the thighs and smaller on top. Choose small straps and low necklines combined with long flowing skirts.

Apple

Apple shapes carry a lot of weight in their stomach and have slender arms and legs. Consider purchasing a cocktail dress with an empire waistline if you have this body shape. You could also consider a corseted top or a belt detail. The skirt should run from wherever the waist detail sits.