Fresh off of holiday party season, I am sure of two things: a diet of cookies, wine, and very little sleep will do me no favors, and that I’m heading into 2023 with a seriously deficient cocktail dress collection. As I type this, I believe my current closet includes a silky tapestry print piece that feels more Italian aperitifs than NYC drinks, a couple of breezy tunic-like numbers, and several stretchy sweater maxis I wore throughout my two pregnancies (and never, ever want to look at again). But, as for an elevated, but not *too* fancy item I can reach for when asked to a last minute 7pm work event, and feel good about wearing to multiple things? Really, not one.
Of course, a single great piece does not constitute a rock solid going out wardrobe. In order to really be ready for all manner of drinks, dinners, and other evening affairs (of which there will be many when fashion month rolls around again in February) I need to stock up on a full repertoire of options. Fortunately for me, we really are living in a peak era of after hours fashion, where designers are building full collections — sometimes entire brands — around looking amazing while out on the town. Ahead, shop 5 key styles I’m browsing right now.
Sleek & Sultry LBD
Of all the classic black dresses out there, few feel as elegant as a mid to full length silhouette with a curve-hugging cut. Should the cocktails in question be more of the candlelit champagne toast variety, consider something in fluidly draped silk; if you’re going for an after party mood, opt for a body-con bandage fit.
Be it a sweet flouncy shape or a dreamy color scheme, fanciful details set these designs apart. Pair them with equally charming accessories, like a metallic shoe or embellished bag.
High Shine Gold
Sick of sequins? Now that the festive season is past us, consider swapping your holiday-ready paillettes for silhouettes with slick gilded finishes.
Slinky Sweater Dresses
Thanks to the rise of subversive knitwear, there’s an abundance of ways to look, for lack of a better word, *hot* while not sacrificing the comfort of a snuggly sweater. Key elements to look for include asymmetrical sleeves, illusion cut-outs, and necklines that highlight your décolletage.
Printed & Playful Pieces
The beauty of opting for a dress in a fun, statement pattern is that it does all the tough styling work for you! Even if you keep the rest of your look simple, it still comes together as a cohesive look. For more casual affairs, I’d pair one with knee-high black boots — and to elevate things, reach for platform heels instead.