Like the LBD, a red cocktail dress can make one look either classy or slutty. Discover how to select the right shade and style it for your figure & taste!
I’ve already written a bit about styling a little black dress, and this time I thought I’d focus on a hot color that never goes out of style, red. And like the little black dress, a red dress can be styled in many ways, and in many wrong ways too. So choose and style it wisely, depending on the occasion, your skin tone, hair color. Selecting a red cocktail dress should take into account your personal taste and comfort.
How to Choose the Right Shade of Red
The red cocktail dress can come in countless different shades, some so different from the other that you wouldn’t mind buying them all! Choosing the right shade depends on your skin tone.
Best Shades of Red for Light Skin Tone:
If you have a light skin tone, go for cherry red, light coral/blush red or crimson red cocktail dress. Cherry red will really stand out and make a bold statement for the rich color that it is. Light coral or blush red won’t be as bold, so choose it if you don’t want to make too much of a statement, it’ll look feminine and elegant. Crimson red will totally contrast your skin tone and look very hot, so style it right depending on whether you want a formal or a sexy look.
I’m gonna show this with Barbies, because I think you all, my beautiful readers, are perfect and pretty and sexy like a Barbie!
Best Shades of Red for Medium Skin Tone:
If you have medium skin tone, contrast it with shades like garnet red, scarlet or brick red. These darker hues will create a good contrast without washing away your facial features. And if you have yellow undertones, or a beige complexion, try warmer colors that have orange-based shades, such as tomato red cocktail dress, so it goes well with the yellowness of your skin.
Best Shades of Red for Dark Skin Tone:
For darker skin tones, try to wear either candy or strawberry red, something bright that contrasts the skin, and looks very bold, or darker shades like wine red or mahogany, that look understated and classy. Keep the neckline slightly lower so that it is away from the face and highlights your features while keeping the focus on the dress.
Last but not the least, choose whatever makes you feel good about yourself. You make the last rule! So if you feel a shade looks great on you, regardless of what it is, just go for it!!
Choosing the Right Style and Length of Dress
Always choose something that flatters your body shape, and something you are comfortable wearing. Especially in a party, when you’re going to be around a lot of people. It’ll help you feel confident!
The right dress, its style and fabric should accentuate your body, flattering your best assets while covering up the not so good ones.
- If you have great hips, try a dress that is tighter in the skirt area.
- If you have a slim hourglass figure, try a figure-hugging dress in silk or satin that shows off those curves.
- If you want to show off your worked out torso, wear a dress with cut-outs in the rib area.
- For a skinny body, try a peplum or frilly dress, or in thicker fabrics like tissue that makes you look fuller around the chest and hips. You can also try something with horizontal stripes in the top to give the appearance of a fuller chest.
- If you have great shouders, wear an off-shoulder or halter dress.
- For a heavier body type, choose an A-lined or straight dress with a belt and a nice neckline so that it makes your waist look slimmer and covers your hips, while showing off your collarbones.
The length and dress-cut should be chosen keeping in mind the occasion.
- If you’re looking for something for a wedding or black-tie event, it’s best to keep it traditional and classy. Choose a floor-length or calf-length dress, maybe with a full skirt or straight cut with slits. You can also try sleeved dresses for a more traditional look.
- If it’s in your honor, such as engagement etc, choose a sleeveless poofy floor-length dress to make a statement.
- If it’s formal such as an office party, choose a knee-length dress, either A-line or pleated. You can also choose a dress with three-quarter sleeves.
- For a date or or prewedding photoshoot, choose something skinny that accentuates your body in a sexy way, or with a full circular skirt to look romantic.
- If it is very informal, such as a dance, choose something sexier like skinny dress or halter.
Accessorizing Your Red Cocktail Dress
This depends on a number of factors: the occasion, the style of your chosen dress, and your personal comfort. But as a rule of thumb, if your dress is in a bright bold color, choose light makeup and minimal accessories to balance it. If you have a very simple dress, pair it with a statement necklace or long beautiful earrings. Don’t over-accessorize a red dress too much, because it is generally quite a lot on its own, and you want more focus on it, rather than putting too much on that is distracting.
If the occasion is formal like office party, or if your dress is very blingy, keep the makeup simple with nude or pink lips, and maybe add nice glittery eye-shadow. If it is a black-tie event, you can be bold and try red lips.
How I Wore the Red Cocktail Dress
Check out my red cocktail dress outfit here:
Let me know if I forgot anything here that you needed to know for your skin-tone or body type, and share with me how you styled your own red cocktail dress!
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]