What not to wear at a cocktail party

Written by kendra osburn | 13/05/2017
What not to wear at a cocktail party
Rule of thumb: It's better to be too dressy than too casual. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Your fleece jacket might be perfect for the pub crawl on your calendar next weekend, but what about that cocktail party coming up? What is the "outfit etiquette" when it comes to semi-dressy events? To get the low down on what we should (and should not be) zipping up, we spoke with celebrity wardrobe stylist Heidi Meek and got a list of all the big no nos.

Your favourite jeans

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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Regardless how great you look in those jeans, they should be given a night off every once and a while. Let them rest while you put on a fun, flirty dress instead.

Your black tie attire

What not to wear at a cocktail party
(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

If your dress is trailing behind you, it's too long. According to Meek, floor-length dresses should be kept for more formal evenings.

Your oversized jumper

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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Don't obscure your cute mini with a winter coat. Nordic sweaters might be trending right now, but worn over party attire they will swallow you whole. Fleece zip-ups and woolly pullovers are cosy, but they don't belong at cocktail parties.

Your day bag

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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From 9 to 5 this thing is attached to your hip. It has everything you could ever possibly need in case of an emergency, but do you really want to take your day bag -- the day bag that reminds you of work and to-do lists -- on your night out? No. This is baggage you can leave at home tonight.

Your ho so ironic T-shirt

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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Comfort is king, but it's tacky to wear a t-shirt to a cocktail party. If you can't pull yourself away from the cut you love, shop around for some non-cotton Ts. "Try a fabric that is a more upscale with a sheen to the finish or something like a satin or silk blouse," Meek says.

A huge tote

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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You've left your work bag at home, but where do you keep your keys? The last thing you want to be doing at a cocktail party is lugging your oversize purse around. Leave the tote at home. Instead grab a clutch or wristlet and use that free arm to grab another cosmo.

Fabric faux pas: Cotton

What not to wear at a cocktail party
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It's the fabric of our life -- not the fabric of our nightlife. Comfy, cotton tees are perfect for the morning after your cocktail party, but other fabrics are more evening appropriate.

Fabric faux pas: Linen

What not to wear at a cocktail party
(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

We love linen for hot summer days and picnics, but not for sipping martinis after dark at a luxe party.

Fabric faux pas: Jersey

What not to wear at a cocktail party
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Jersey's great. It's versatile, low maintenance and so comfortable that we completely understand why Coco Chanel rebuffed "Vogue" in 1917 and used the fabric that traditionally had been the choice for undergarments as outerwear. But think twice before leaving the house.

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