The little black dress may be the epitome of classic sophistication, but lately we're more interested in its modern counterpart—the little white dress. With streamlined silhouettes and interesting embellishments, a white cocktail frock makes a definitive statement without being flashy (like you'd get with red or brights) or boring (other neutrals like gray are chic, but don't stand out the same way). We love the way fashion-forward ladies like Zoe Saldana and Naomi Watts are currently wearing this key piece, and think you’ll find their choices inspiring too. Read on for all of today’s outfit details and shop similar styles to get the look now.
On The Runway
Nothing makes us want to fill up our evening social calendar quite like Prabal Gurung’s Ice White Silk Cloque Drop Waist Dress with Embroidered Iridescent Metallic Ribbons ($3795) from the S/S 13 collection. Contrasting a sporty neckline with an ultra-feminine full skirt, the white frock is both elegant and flirtatious—precisely what we want from our cocktail attire.
On The Red Carpet & At Events
WHO: Mila Kunis
WHAT: Celebrating her new role as ambassador for Gemfields, a jewelry company that focuses on ethically-produced gemstones, in Los Angeles last month.
WEAR: Elie Saab Vanilla Lace Sleeveless Mini Dress with Grosgrain and Lace Border Detailing ($5500, available in Neiman Marcus stores).
WHY: Sheer panels cut the sweetness of a white lace dress.
WHO: Zoe Saldana
WHAT: On the red carpet at the Scientific and Technical Awards in Beverly Hills last month.
WEAR: Alexander McQueen Ivory Bustier Monogram Spot Jacquard Dress ($4595); Christian Louboutin Boulimina Lady Glitter Shoes ($846).
WHY: A keyhole cutout creates a subtly sexy statement.
WHO: Naomi Watts
WHAT: Front row at the Louis Vuitton F/W 13 show in Paris a few weeks ago.
WEAR: Louis Vuitton Embroidered Mini Dress in White ($8100, 866.VUITTON).
WHY: A white shift dress is an elegant nod to the season’s mod trend.
WHO: Teresa Palmer
WHAT: At a New York screening for Warm Bodies back in January.
WEAR: Vera Wang Collection Cropped Sleeveless Jacket with Soutache Embroidered Back ($1950) and Sleeveless Corseted Dress with Tulip Skirt ($1095, 212.382.2184).
WHY: An embroidered bodice adds interest to an all-white color palette.
Get The Look
Picking the right white cocktail dress is simple: look for unquestionably chic silhouettes and details, and make sure it's not bridal in the slightest. Bearing this in mind, we rounded up an assortment of stylish white cocktail dresses that fulfill these requirements and then some!
Streamlined Silhouette Perhaps the easiest way to create a sleek and polished evening ensemble is with a clean and minimal shape; Black Halo’s Luke Puff-Sleeve Dress ($120) and Tibi’s Alison Peek-A-Boo Shift Dress ($395) are both great styles.
Ultra-Feminine If you prefer an option with a more flirtatious cut, we recommend something with peplum detailing, like Burberry London’s Peplum Jersey Dress ($1095) or Nasty Gal’s Daisy Peplum Dress ($58), which will instantly flatter your waist. An A-line silhouette, like Theory’s Bonbi Swingy Crepe Dress ($355), is another excellent option.
Embellished Interesting embellishments will ensure you make the ultimate style statement, so don’t miss Alice + Olivia’s Gwen Feather Skirt Dress ($977), Sue Wong’s Soutache Embroidery Dress ($328), and Dolce Vita’s Mei Scroll Lace Dress ($220).
Sultry Details Finally, if you want a dress that’s sexy yet still refined, look for subtle slits (Nicholas Camellia’s Lace Strapless Dress ($595)) and cool cutouts (Topshop Wrap Mesh Skater Dress ($92)).