Dress codes are a tricky thing and usually it’s easy to understand the difference between ‘formal’ and ‘casual’, but most of us get stumped by the code ‘cocktail dress’.
Now, fashion editor Kellie Hush tells you what it really means. “A cocktail party is traditionally a pre-dinner event and technically men should wear a suit and women a cocktail dress, which means a tastefully short evening dress,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Hush as saying."A friend once asked if it was OK to wear jeans to a cocktail hour wedding. No. They were new 300 dollars jeans, he insisted. Still no. If an invitation's dress code states casual, then yes, slip into your best denim," she added. However, cocktail events aren’t black-tie occasions either, so suiting up isn’t necessary.
"A little black dress is perfect — just glam it up with accessories and a pair of killer heels. It's also the time to pull out the sequins and animal prints but try to avoid looking like a Las Vegas stage act. A dressy pantsuit or chic skirt and top are fine as well, but not if it's something you've had on at the office all day," Hush said.
So what if you are going to the races? It depends on the race, said Hush. “Flemington and Randwick are not Royal Ascot but they're not nightclubs either. Your hemline should be no shorter than mid-thigh. Leave the sequins for the dance floor. Cleavage is a winner after dark but not for race one. And finally, yes, you do need to wear a hat, not just a cheap plastic flower in your hair,” she said.