2018 Update: If you’re looking for advice for what to wear to summer cocktail parties, you may want to check out our more recent discussion on what to wear to a business cocktail party — as well as all of our advice for summer work events and summer associate events. (You, uh, may want to avoid some of the advice/dresses below.)
This is another new feature: “What to Wear To…” — we plan to tackle attire for office events that are outside the office.
It’s the summer. Your office is flush with interns, either from law school or MBA school. In order to impress, the company holds numerous summer events, including <dun dun dunnnh> the cocktail party. Maybe at a restaurant, maybe at a partner or executive’s house/mansion. The question looms: What do you wear?
Honestly, the answer here is usually “a suit.” You simply don’t want to run the risk of looking like someone’s date. Still, there are times when a cocktail dress is appropriate — and when that happens you should strive to be as conservative and as ladylike as possible. (2018 Update: When choosing your desk to dinner outfit you may want to check out our recent post on the line between wedding wear and office wear!) In general, this means your dress should not be:
- satin (it wrinkles anyway)
- relying on a safety-pin in any regard
- appropriate for any of the following activities: being a contestant in a pageant, sleeping, or being a dominatrix
That said, here are some appropriate dresses to wear to summer cocktail parties: