What does cocktail attire entail exactly?

With a full menu of "cocktail attire" occasions on your social calendar, it's hard to know what to wear. So in the spirit of being both appropriate and stylishly inspiring, we're happy to help spell it out for you! Read on for our four favorite looks and some accessorizing suggestions too.

Minidresses: Save your maxi dresses for either formal events or summer soirees and instead opt for a length that feels less dramatic. You can't go wrong with a sexy structured mini dress paired with a pointy-toe pump, sharp blazer, and statement clutch. (Lucite is on our radar currently.)

Knee-Length Dresses: A slightly longer, knee-length proportion can feel very Audrey Hepburn-inspired and entirely chic. We favor a more fitted look when opting for this hemline, and like it accessorized with a barely-there heel and classic accessories. Pearls, anyone?

Midi Dresses: Finally, the tea-length dress has eked its way into cocktail party attire and we are totally okay with it! Be sure to pair this silhouette with dressier accessories; a little added sparkle and shine will make it feel more appropriate for evening.

Suits or Playsuits: With menswear-inspired ensembles and jumpsuits both being so on trend, you can always forgo the dress and impress partygoers with a less conventional choice. Pair suits with feminine touches—like a silk blouse or satin camisole—and jumpsuits with uber-feminine heels and jewelry.

Image of Allison Williams, courtesy of Getty Images.

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Lace Loop Back Dress

Lace Loop Back Dress

Topshop, $140
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Liza Floral-Lace Peplum Dress

Liza Floral-Lace Peplum Dress

Milly, $420
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The Grand Scene Woven Peplum Dress

The Grand Scene Woven Peplum Dress

Sass & Bide, $590
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Stretch-Gabardine Tweed and Cotton-Twill Mini Dress

Stretch-Gabardine Tweed and Cotton-Twill Mini Dress

Carven, $590
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Pandora Perspex Clutch

Pandora Perspex Clutch

Charlotte Olympia, $595
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Horizon Lace Dress

Horizon Lace Dress

Lover, $1126
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Pencil Dress with Ponte Panels

Pencil Dress with Ponte Panels

ASOS, $58
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Bodycon Embossed Pencil Dress

Bodycon Embossed Pencil Dress

River Island, $68
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Silk-Jersey and Lace Dress

Silk-Jersey and Lace Dress

Notte by Marchessa, $595
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Ted Draped Stretch-Crepe Dress

Ted Draped Stretch-Crepe Dress

Preen, $1015
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Bustier Dress

Bustier Dress

Wes Gordon, $2210
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Leopard Lace Dress

Leopard Lace Dress

Temperley London, $2530
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Plain Midi Bodycon Dress

Plain Midi Bodycon Dress

Topshop, $56
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Applique Lace Midi Dress

Applique Lace Midi Dress

Topshop, $190
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Wiggle Dress with Belt

Wiggle Dress with Belt

ASOS, $64
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Fenton Pants

Fenton Pants

Preen, $1285
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Derby Jacket

Derby Jacket

Preen, $1350
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Sleek Tailored Jumpsuit

Sleek Tailored Jumpsuit

Mango, $95
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Sleeveless Jumpsuit

Sleeveless Jumpsuit

Mason by Michelle Mason, $575
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Embellished Peplum Jumpsuit with One Shoulder

Embellished Peplum Jumpsuit with One Shoulder

ASOS, $56
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Silk Jumpsuit

Silk Jumpsuit

Topshop By Boutique, $160
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EXPLORE: Ask A Stylist, Emily Current, Meritt Elliott, Ask a Stylist, Celebrity Stylist, Cocktail Attire
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