Cocktail Attire Beyond the Cocktail Dress


(Image credit: @styleheroine)

Why yes, when an invite reads “cocktail attire”, it’s a safe bet to break out your little black dress. And I have time and time again—after all, it’s a surefire option that always works. But last week when I was getting ready for a dinner party at home, I took a glance at my trusty black dress and have to admit that I wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I wanted to wear something a little more unexpected and a little more fun. That’s when I thought to myself: A jumpsuit would do nicely tonight. Or maybe even some tailored satin pants with a cool, structured top.

I ended up leaving that LBD in my closet—instead slipping into a crisp white jumpsuit with a pair of heels. And guess what? It felt so much more special than my standard outfit formula. Now, I won't be putting my black dresses into permanent retirement but think I'll be giving these other pieces a try for now. If you’re also yearning for something a little different for your next night out, you might want to try mixing it up as well. Below, I’m outlining four closet essentials for a fresh take on cocktail attire.



Satin Pants


Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.