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Looking to get your festive attire all figured out? Read on.
The first step in having a fun night out? Feeling good about your outfit. As we head into the holiday season, fanciful affairs are only ramping up, so investing in dressy pieces that are timeless, versatile and statement-making is just as important as finding the perfect pair of jeans. To do so, we can look to the array of cocktail dresses Canada has to offer.
What to look for in the best cocktail dresses
The beauty of this type of gown is that it’s not so fancy that you can’t wear it again. In a perfect world, cocktail attire can be dressed up for a professional occasion and brought out for a friend-filled birthday soirée.
It needn’t be overly conservative; plenty of chic cocktail dresses feature cheeky cut-outs and plunging cuts. And contrary to popular belief, length doesn’t matter.
From sequin-embellished minis to trailing satin slips, cocktail dresses come in many lengths, styles, cuts and textures. Rich fabrics such as velvet and silk bring a celebratory vibe, while thoughtful additions like bows, sheer overlays and bling embellishments add a festive touch.
When in doubt, opt for a garment with a playful pattern to instantly signal merry-and-bright energy.
The best cocktail dresses in Canada 2023
Reformation Annabelle silk dress
Silk dresses are always a good idea when you’re in search of an elevated ensemble. This offering by Reformation has a minimalist ’90s cut with a dainty botanical print for added refinement. Made of 100% silk, it’s buttery soft and blissfully lightweight for an easy-to-throw on party gown.
Designed to be fitted throughout, it comes with elegant detailing like a cowl neckline and thick straps. Cascading to the floor with subtle draping, it has an effortlessly lush effect.
- High-quality silk charmeuse fabric
- Available in six colours/patterns
- Easy to dress up or down
- Elegant and dressy design with easy pull-on styling
- Dry-clean only
- Straps are not adjustable
Dresstells vintage evening dress
The 1950s are calling, and they want to be considered for your next cocktail outing. Classic columns are great, but this vintage full-skirt silhouette brings a unique feminine flair to your evening wardrobe rotation. Inspired by iconic vintage styles, it features a scoop neckline, cap sleeves and a flowy A-line shape that hits right at the knees.
Though it has a formal structure, this dress is made of a nylon-spandex blend, making for stretchy wearable feel. It’s all tied together with a graceful decorative bow, solidifying it as the gift that keeps on giving.
- Available in 26 colours/patterns
- Lightweight, comfortable material
- Inclusive sizing up to 3X
- Some reviewers note that this dress runs on the thinner side. If wearing it in the winter months, try layering a slip underneath for added insulation
Jaded Rose tall baby doll mini dress
Each piece in Asos’s curated tall section is made to fit those with longer body-types, meaning you don’t have to worry about a mini dress being dangerously too mini. This chiffon-lined little red dress is expertly tailored to keep you covered and comfortable while accentuating your legs.
The square neck detailing, ruched front and billowing sheer sleeves make for a sophisticated yet playful finish. It also promises breathable day-to-night wear, thanks to its soft, lightweight feel. Best of all? This dress is currently 60% off.
- A striking red hue that is both festive and versatile for all-season wear
- Made of polyamide, a synthetic fabric that is ultra-lightweight and stain-resistant
- Soft feel and flattering silhouette that complements all body types
- Not suitable for machine wash
Grace Karin sequin sparkly dress
In the mood to be a little extra? Consider the shamelessly sparkly spaghetti-strapped dress. This top-rated pick is fabulously over-the-top, with a glistening effect that’s sure to turn heads.
Featuring a plunging V-neck and wrap hem ruching, it’s both body-con and flattering. Feel cinched at every step thanks to a back zipper. Made of a stretchy polyester-elastane blend with thin elastic shoulder straps, it brings comfort to the all-out Y2K maximalism oeuvre.
- Reviewers praise this dress for its flattering effect on all body-types
- Available in 28 colours, including non-sequin options
- Sequin-coated outing with comfortable inner lining for all-night wearability
- Some reviews say it runs small, so be sure to consult the sizing chart and size-up if you’re unsure
Women’s one-shoulder ruched bodycon dress
A sophisticated cocktail dress for roughly $50? Say less. This elegant and affordable offering has it all, complete with polished asymmetrical draping that hits just below the knees, a sexy slanted slit and crisp ruching at the waist.
The one-shoulder design skillfully elongates the body, and a high-chest cut-out adds a tasteful dose of flirtiness. The elastane-polyester blend promises a forgiving fit, but reviewers praise it for its surprisingly high-quality feel.
- Suitable for machine wash
- Pullover-style dress that still offers a put-together finish
- Available in 16 colours
- Some reviews not that the stretchy polyester material, though durable and comfy, results in a slightly less structured fit
Norma Kamali asymmetric stretch-lamé dress
Get your shine on with this exquisite (and reflective!) Norma Kamali design. Featuring a one-shoulder neckline and a ruched body-hugging silhouette, this opulent cocktail dress is the perfect statement piece.
Available in a luscious chocolate colour, its stretch-lamé detailing cascades into an asymmetrical hem that shows of your legs and accentuates your curves.
- Not suitable for machine wash
Best plus size
Hillary MacMillan open-back velvet dress
There’s something uniquely romantic about a velvet dress. This size-inclusive one by Canadian designer Hilary MacMillan feels extra luxurious. Show off your sense of balance thanks to the high neckline and open back.
Available in a rich forest green, it falls at a clean-cut midi length and has been crafted with a support strap for extra lining and comfort. From date night to holiday parties, this dress does it all.
- Inclusive sizing up to 4X
- Fits true-to-size
- Double-lined for extra support
- Timeless tea-length design
- Because of its luxurious appeal, velvet fabrics can be easily damaged if not taken care of. Be sure to clean promptly with natural products after wearing to preserve
Anthropologie The Somerset metallic maxi dress
As Anthropologie’s best-selling dress design ever, The Somerset promises a stylish night-out. This metallic iteration brings some rich silver glitz to the fan-favourite dress’s flattering mocked waist design.
Show off with voluminous puff sleeves, a deep V-neck and a tiered maxi skirt. This design encapsulates the versatile appeal of the cocktail dress with added length. And unlike other long dress designs, this pick is also intended for those who wear petite sizes.
- Only available in one colour
More to Come Oksana gown
Who doesn’t love a print? This best-selling gown reimagines the classic strapless silhouette with a tonal circular pattern that brings playful drama. Made of a mesh fabric that is double-lined for added coverage, it’s a going-out gem that is both sexy and sleek.
While its abstract brush-stroke designs exude whimsy, it’s the construction details make it a refined going-out gown. Make the most of a hidden back zipper and tonal colour mixing.
- Wear this blush-toned dress any season
- While this specific dress comes in one style, its best-selling strapless shape is offered with many colourful satin iterations
- This dress qualifies for free shipping in Canada
- Dry-clean only recommended
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