We’d argue that party season should be twelve months a year, but given we’re fast heading toward the pinnacle social stretch up to Christmas, now’s the prime time to splash (or invest, depending on your perspective) on a bombshell cocktail dress. Better still if it’s one you’ll wear over and over again to a deliciously varied buffet of summer soirees.
Not only do these seven dress styles below guarantee you limelight-steal status, they all tick this season’s biggest fashion trends as well. Plus, all would work just as well for an elegant day wedding as the polo, romantic date or evening cocktails. Cheers to that, savvy ladies.
7 BIG COCKTAIL DRESS LOOKS TO SHOP THIS SEASON
LOOK 1: THE ONE-SHOULDERED MIDI
There’s nothing more chic than covering up with a sexy sheen fabric like stretch satin, then revealing a dash of bare skin. Touching on both the power ‘90s style and asymmetric cut trends that prevailed on the Spring/Summer 2017 runways, this style is both sexy and elegant at the same time. This stretch satin navy dress by Los Angeles-based brand Fame and Partners, which specialises in customisable gowns.
Fame and Partners, Highland Dress in Navy, $329. SHOP NOW
LOOK 2: THE MICRO SHIRT-DRESS
The biggest dress trend of 2017 – the long sleeved feminine mini dress – has evolved with an edgier feel. Still short, but balanced with the long sleeve so it still falls into the appropriate wedding attire realm, the look is now more theatrical with block colours or bold graphic prints. This belted silk-twill panel dress with clashing chevrons by Diane Von Furstenberg is the perfect example. Wear with heels for occasions or slides for up-market brunch.
Diane Von Furstenberg, Printed silk-twill mini dress, $568. SHOP NOW
LOOK 3: THE NEW ROMANTIC
Ruffles, frills and ruching are anything but girlie sweet this season. Rather, the dreamy romantic looks that first appeared on the Spring/Summer 2016 runways are still going strong a full year later. They’re slightly sexy, a little dramatic and a whole lot luxe. Make sure the skirt is either pencil or partially fitted to avoid falling into boho territory. GRAZIA loves this viscose dress with silver lurex detailing by local fashion designer Alice McCall, which starred in her label’s much-lauded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2017 Resort collection runway show.
Alice McCall, I Feel It Coming Dress in Pebble Blue, $490. SHOP NOW
LOOK 4: THE RED LACE BOMBSHELL
Hottest colour of the current global Autumn/Winter 2017 fashion season? Tick. Sexy lacing made so popular by the likes of Self Portrait and Zimmermann? Tick again. This anti-crease polyester dress by Melbourne brand-on-the-rise Acler is sizzling hot trend-wise for summer. The high neckline, fitted waist and scalloped lace flared hem in combination are almost universally flattering.
Acler, Addison Dress in Poppy, $595. SHOP NOW
LOOK 5: THE POLKA DOT PRINT
Let’s just say regardless of the shape or style, anything featuring spots is a clear winner right now. The biggest print trend of this fashion season, polka dots bring with them a frivolous feel that’s a touch more grown-up than the popular star prints that ruled the SS16 collections. Ditto, this sexy ’70s shape below. Yes, we’re aware our hot pick to demonstrate the trend isn’t technically a dress, but right now, a luxe jumpsuit is totally appropriate semi-formal attire for fashion-forward women. The wide leg, frills and deep V neck on this anti-crease heavy georgette suit, combined with a super-sexy open back, guarantee a big impact. Consider it the close, cool cousin of the classic cocktail frock. Plus, $5 from its sale is donated to the empowerment and nurturing of women in developing nations via UN Women and Plan International.
Fame and Partners, The Silverlake Jumpsuit in Black and Tan Spot, $389. SHOP NOW
LOOK 6: THE FLORAL-PRINT MAXI
Floral is the only print giving polka dots a run for their money right now, but the rule here is big is more than better – it’s essential. A maxi-length, wrap-style dress featuring large flowers like roses or peonies have as much a place on a cocktail stool as they do a winery wedding. This soft-feel viscose blend dress by luxe-casual Australian brand Steele will keep working for you season after season.
Steele, Peony Wrap Dress, $329. SHOP NOW
LOOK 7: THE SATIN TWO-PIECE
Kim Kardashian may have a great deal to answer for fashion craze-wise (bike shorts with stilettos? Really?) but one thing she’s got very right lately is the high-waisted skirt + micro top trend. Seen first on SS17 runways like Dolce & Gabbana, Altuzarra and Tory Burch, then increasingly on style-savvy A-listers of late, it’s particularly ideal for red carpets and warmer clime events when showing a touch more skin is par for the course. The look is part Hollywood bombshell, part retro street, and so very, very high fashion right now. We love the pencil skirt on this thick cotton set, plus the long ribbon-like belt that hangs down to tie both pieces together. Channel your inner best West Coast bombshell for the night.
Fame and Partners, The Viola Set in Black and White Checks, $349. SHOP NOW