Cocktail dresses for women over 50? Oh, I’m here for it! When we got invited to a fancy-schmancy party, I started shopping immediately!
And then I went a little crazy.
And I bought TWELVE dresses.
Yep. It’s true! I’ve wanted to do a post on cocktail dresses for women over 50 for some time now. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it authentically until we got invited to a really special event ourselves! Today I’m sharing how to select the best dress for your next event. I’m also asking you to help me decide which dress I should wear to mine!
Last week I shared my twelve dresses with my Instagram followers in the same order as I’m sharing them here. Over two days, I posted mirror selfie videos of me wearing and talking about each dress. After each selfie video, I posted the still picture of me in the dresses that you’re seeing in this post! They aren’t the best quality and my legs clearly need self-tanner! Hahaha! Then I asked people to vote.
We also posted a fun Reel to Instagram where you can see all of the dresses in about 45 seconds! You can watch it HERE.
I’ll put my Instagram follower’s votes together with your votes, and that will determine the dress I wear to my event!
How to Select the Right Cocktail Dress
When it comes to figuring out the best cocktail dress for you, there are several things to consider.
Which Cocktail Dress Style is Best for Your Body?
Start by identifying your body shape, and go from there. God made every body beautiful!
Pear-shaped bodies are fuller at the hips and bottom and smaller on top. One-shoulder or strapless dresses will draw the eye up and enhance your upper body. Full or A-line skirts help hide wider hips.
Inverted triangle bodies are fuller in the bust. Halter neck, V-neck, or scoop necklines will create a slimming effect by drawing the eye downward. Look for A-lines, full skirts, and details at the hemline (even if it’s just a sheer panel) to help balance out the bottom half.
Weight is carried around the middle, without a well-defined waist. Babydoll dresses and dresses with an empire waist, or neck detailing draw the eye up, taking attention away from the middle and allowing for a looser fit. A-line styles and full skirts can create an hourglass illusion.
(Also called “Athletic” or “Straight”) Little definition between bust, waist, and hip measurements. Fitted sheath dresses, baby dolls, and A-line styles will accentuate the curves you do have and create the illusion of more. Look for dresses with embellishment, gathering, or ruching. This is my body type!
Curvy with a full bust, defined waist, and full hips. Dresses with fitted waists enhance this classically feminine shape.
Consider Your Event
- Who is hosting?
- What time does it start?
- Where is it being held?
- Who will be there?
- What’s on the agenda? Dinner? Dancing?
Identify the Type of Dress You Feel Most Comfortable Wearing
- Is color a consideration? Are you trying to coordinate with the bride? Your husband?
- LBD? Would white be appropriate, or not?
- Long Sleeve? Short Sleeve? Sleeveless?
- Long? Short? Mini? Midi?
Our event is a 50th wedding anniversary party for a fairly well-known public figure and his wife, who also happen to be personal friends. It is being held at a lovely downtown Dallas hotel in the ballroom. The invitation said “Cocktail or Festive Attire.” It starts at 6:30, so I assume we are eating. It will be a conservative crowd, so it’s not the place to be too daring with my look!
Cocktail Dresses For Women Over 50
This midi-length sheath dress comes in multiple colors! It’s especially flattering because the vertical sequins create an optical illusion that elongates your frame. The waistband has zigzag beading darts to give the effect of a belt.
I almost chose it in Deep Emerald (a very hot color for fall), but I finally selected the dress in “Saffron” because I thought the color felt autumnal, it was flattering on my skin tone, and the emeral dress felt a little dark for an August party. This dress fits me perfectly!
This gold brocade one-shoulder midi dress is a show stopper! The fabric has gilded scrollwork, and the dress even has pockets!
This dress ran a little large in the bust. I ordered it in my size, but it will need a little altering.
This dress fits me well, but I’m not sure it does anything for my figure. What do you think?
This polka dot off-the-shoulder dress has loads of personality! It has a high-low hem and it was really fun to wear! The A-line fit & flare styling compliments every woman, and I thought the full skirt was absolutely adorable!
This dress fit me well and was comfortable. I’m worried it looks too young, though! Thoughts?
This feminine chiffon midi dress has the prettiest pleated skirt and an oh-so-flattering cutaway shoulder neckline! It has great movement and feels really elegant. The color pops!
I love this dress, but I’m not sure if it’s “cocktail-y” enough. What do you think? Maybe it’s more of a bridal shower or wedding guest dress?
This stretchy sheath floral lace dress is fully lined and has a pretty corded floral lace overlay. It has a sweet bow closure at the top of the cutout on the top of the back. (Click HERE to see that.) It’s 40% off right now but only available in a few sizes!
This dress fit well, but when I walked it rode up on my hips, so I kept tugging it down at the bottom. Also, I think the color might be too close to my skin tone.
Did you find a favorite in the first six dresses? If not, don’t worry, I’ve got six more dresses coming up next!
More Cocktail Dresses For Women Over 50
If you’re looking for a white dress, then know that this one-shoulder asymmetrical hem dress is a stunner! It’s a stretchy sheath style, so be prepared with the Spanx!. The neckline is topped with a darling ruffle, along with the asymmetrically cascading hem. I found several beautiful white dresses, so if you’re looking to make a statement, look no further! BTW, this dress is a dupe of THIS Vince Camuto dress.
This dress hugs me in all of the right places! It fits well but will need a tiny bit of altering in the bust. (The story of my life!) The only thing I’m not sure about is if white will take too much attention away from the honorees. What do you think?
This cute v-neck sleeveless A-line dress fits well and is under $40! 😲 It comes in…wait for it…32 color options! It’s lined, has stretch, and would be fun for the right event. It fits me well! I ultimately decided it wasn’t cocktail-y enough for my event, but I still may keep it because it’s a great style.
The combination of the elegant floral with the one-shoulder neckline makes this A-line dress so feminine and special. It’s fitted over the chest and waist, and it has pleats in place of gathers at the waistline. (Pleats will always lay better and provide a slimmer silhouette.)
Unfortunately, I had to order this dress one size larger than my normal size, and it’s definitely too big in the bust. I could have it taken in if it’s the winner!
This one-shoulder pink floral jacquard fit & flare dress has an asymmetrical neckline with a spaghetti strap on the bare shoulder for comfort. (Translation: No tugging necessary!) The asymmetrical ruffle in the front lays flat and adds interest.
I also had to order this one size too large, but could easily have it altered. I love the color!
This one-shoulder fit & flare dress has the WOW factor, for sure! The shimmery metallic skirt has body so that it stands out from the dress. As you can see, the left sleeve is long, and the hem hits above the knee. I would wear this dress with black pumps rather than the nude pumps I wore to keep these photos as uniform as possible.
This dress is my size but needs to be taken in a tiny bit up top. This was Bob’s favorite!
This A-line midi floral dress has an on-trend square neckline, and I love all of the shades of blue in the flowers. (Blue is such a big color for fall!) The jacquard fabric is textured, with the floral pattern woven into it, rather than printed, dyed, or embroidered on top. It is stunning up close!
I had to order this dress one size too large, which you can probably tell from the photo! It can easily be altered!
Okay, now that you’ve seen all of the dresses, do you have a favorite? My Instagram followers had lots of thoughts! I’m going to take their votes and add them to your votes, and the dress with the most votes will be the dress I wear! Several of the dresses need to be taken up top to accommodate my barely-there chest but I’ve already spoken to my tailor and he has promised that he could make any of the alterations in time for my party. (After all, he’s used to making that exact alteration on lots of my clothes! Hahaha!)
Please vote for your favorite in the comments at the end of this post. I’ll announce the winning dress in my subscriber-exclusive weekend post and share as many photos as I can take (without being obnoxious!) at the party.
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Below is a curated boutique of all of the dresses I considered. Some of them were not available in my size or I didn’t feel like they were a flattering style for me. Some of them seemed like they would be better for a wedding, a shower, or a luncheon than for my evening event. That said, they may be right for your event, so I wanted to be sure I included them!
Click on any image for more information.