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11 Great Cocktail Dresses for Women Over 50

By Sandra Roussy October 20, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

Have a party, a wedding, a formal or semi-formal event to attend? A cocktail dress is probably what you need. Cocktail dresses are dresses that are dressy yet not too extravagant. They are also sometimes called tea dresses or party dresses. Typically, a cocktail dress will be knee-length or mid-calf.

Owning a cocktail dress that makes you feel great is a must at any age and should be a staple in your wardrobe beyond your 50s – always be ready for those party invites. Yet finding the perfect cocktail dress for your body shape can be a little challenging because of all the choices out there.

Here is our list of the best cocktail dresses for women over 50:

Let’s face it, the cute and sexy cocktail dresses you wore when you were in your 30s probably don’t fit your shape or lifestyle anymore. Personally, I prefer more elegant and chic dresses now that I am in my 50s.

  1. TADASHI SHOJI High-Low Cold-Shoulder Twist-Front Maxi Dress – Tadashi Shoji’s floral-print maxi dress exudes elegance with a gathered front twist, cold-shoulder cutouts, and a chic A-line silhouette.
  2. THEIA Lucia Kimono-Sleeve Cocktail Dress – Theia’s “Lucia” satin dress features a deep V neckline, kimono half sleeves, and a ruched waistband, in a flattering sheath silhouette with a center back slit, exuding sophistication and style.
  3. Corey Chiffon Fit & Flare Cocktail Dress – crepe dresses are naturally flowy and perfect for summer cocktail parties.
  4. Karen Kane Sheer Blouson Sleeve Dress – An elegant V-neck cocktail dress with sheer long blouson sleeves and a back-concealed zip closure, offering a stylish and sophisticated look.
  5. DKNY Floral-Print Faux-Wrap Dress – DKNY’s floral print faux-wrap dress is an elegant cocktail dress, featuring a fitted chest and waist, structured A-line skirt, long blouson sleeves, and a tie detail.
  6. R & M RICHARDS Sequined Cape Sheath Dress – Sequined cape included.
  7. LAUREN Ralph Lauren Georgette Flutter-Sleeve Dress – Love red? This is your dress!
  8. ALEX EVENINGS Plus Size Sequined Chiffon Dress and Jacket – Chiffon dress perfectly matched with sequin jacket.
  9. Eliza J Ruffle Sleeve Cocktail Dress – Flaunt your figure in this dress!
  10. Ignite Evenings 2-Piece Embellished Tiered Jacket Dress – Tiered dress which will flatter many different body types.
  11. Mac Duggal Embellished Floral Fit & Flare Midi-Dress – Mac Duggal’s midi-dress features a classic fit-and-flare silhouette with short flutter sleeves, an illusion neckline, and a tulle overlay embellished with sparkling crystals and sequins, creating an ultra elegant look.

Let’s Talk Body Shapes

Our bodies naturally change as we get older. So, trying to fit into the clothing that we used to wear a decade or two ago may leave us frustrated and significantly reduce our self-esteem. Instead of fighting it, let’s try to embrace our changing bodies.

Knowing your body shape is essential when shopping for clothing. Just remember, no body shape is better than another. Welcome your shape and size and learn to love and dress it. The confidence you will acquire will shine through when you are strutting in your fabulous cocktail dress at your next party.

So, what is your body shape?

Fuller on the Top

Simply put, your bust and/or shoulder measurements are fuller than your hips and bottom.

Fuller on the Bottom

You are fuller at the hips and bottom and smaller on the top.

Fuller in the Middle

Like many post-menopausal women, your waist is not as well defined as it used to be, and you have a little extra in the middle.

Curvy

You are a curvy woman with a full bust, a defined waist, and full hips, resulting in the ultimate hourglass figure.

Not Curvy

There is very little difference between your chest, waist, and hip measurements.

Do you have a tape measure? Especially now that online shopping has become mainstream, it’s imperative that you own a tape measure and know your exact measurements.

Styles of Cocktail Dresses

So, now that you have figured out your body shape, you can narrow down your cocktail dress options. Let’s take a look at the different types of cocktail dresses that work well for women over 50.

The A-Line Cocktail Dress

The vintage-inspired A-line cocktail dress is a style that flatters many different body types. It looks great on curvier shapes as well as thinner women who want to add some curves to their figure.

A-line cocktail dresses are flirty and can be knee-length or mid-calf. They can be strapless, halter top, strappy, and also have various sleeve lengths.

The Little Black Dress

Every woman should own a classic little black dress. It’s a staple in all wardrobes and can be a last-minute lifesaver. Black dresses are elegant and tend to ooze finesse and class.

The little black dress comes in a variety of shapes – from A-line to body fitting. Paired with the perfect shoes and accessories, a little black dress will look good on any body type.

The Lace Cocktail Dress

I love lace. It’s so romantic and feminine and can soften any figure. You will find some cocktail dresses entirely designed with lace and others who have accents of lace (like the neckline or sleeves, for example).

Lace cocktail dresses come in a variety of shapes but are oftentimes form-fitting, hugging the body, and accentuating shapely figures.

The Strapless Cocktail Dress

Strapless cocktail dresses are a little more daring, and you don’t need to shy away from them because you are over 50. They actually look great on women who are fuller on the top. Pair it with a short cover-up, like a bolero jacket or shawl.

The Cocktail Dress with Sleeves

There’s something about dresses with sleeves. Cocktail dresses with sleeves are sophisticated and can be a good option for you if you wish to cover your arms. From cap-sleeve to long sleeve, pick the one that makes you feel confident.

11 Cocktail Dresses Perfect for Older Women

I’ve selected 11 cocktail dresses for women over 50 that I think will fit a variety of shapes and sizes.

TADASHI SHOJI High-Low Cold-Shoulder Twist-Front Maxi Dress

TADASHI SHOJI High-Low Cold-Shoulder Twist-Front Maxi Dress

Embrace elegance in this Tadashi Shoji floral-print maxi dress, featuring a gathered front twist and chic cold-shoulder cutouts. With a high-low hem and full length, this A-line silhouette exudes timeless charm.

THEIA Lucia Kimono-Sleeve Cocktail Dress

THEIA Lucia Kimono-Sleeve Cocktail Dress

Theia’s “Lucia” satin cocktail dress showcases sophisticated charm with a deep V neckline, kimono half sleeves, and a ruched waistband, all in a flattering sheath silhouette. The dress features a center-back hidden zipper and falls below the knee, offering a touch of elegance.

Corey Chiffon Fit & Flare Cocktail Dress

Corey Chiffon Fit & F

Crepe dresses are naturally flowy and perfect for summer cocktail parties. This dress at Nordstrom features a chiffon skirt that offers loads of flare that will give YOU flair! It comes in several colors and size options. You can always add a lace camisole underneath if you find the neckline a little too revealing.

Karen Kane Sheer Blouson Sleeve Dress

Karen Kane Sheer Blouson Sleeve Dress

This V-neck cocktail dress exudes elegance with its sheer long blouson sleeves, while the back concealed zip closure helps the dress fit perfectly, making it the perfect choice for a stylish and chic look.

DKNY Floral-Print Faux-Wrap Dress

https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/karen-kane-sheer-blouson-sleeve-dress?ID=4446101

DKNY’s faux-wrap dress blooms with a floral print, making it a perfect choice for a chic event. With a fitted chest and waist and a structured A-line skirt, it flatters the figure and sits just above the knee. The long blouson sleeves and tie detail enhance its stylish appeal.

R & M RICHARDS Sequined Cape Sheath Dress

R & M RICHARDS Sequined Cape Sheath Dress

This sophisticated plum cocktail dress epitomizes evening chic with a sparkling sequined cape that drapes elegantly to one side.

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Georgette Flutter-Sleeve Dress

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Georgette Flutter-Sleeve Dress

I love red dresses! This A-line garden dress from Ralph Lauren is the perfect red cocktail dress that you can dress up or down depending on the occasion. It is designed with threaded belt loops, and comes with a removable self-belt.

ALEX EVENINGS Plus Size Sequined Chiffon Dress and Jacket

ALEX EVENINGS Plus Size Sequined Chiffon Dress and Jacket

Glamorous, flowy chiffon skirt with godet pleats at hem and sequin top dress perfectly paired with a sparkly sequined stretch jacket.

Ruffle Sleeve Cocktail Dress

Ruffle Sleeve Cocktail Dress

Flaunt your great figure in this fitted stretchy dress from Bloomingdale’s. The flutter ruffle sheer sleeves are simply beautiful and cover your shoulders.

Ignite Evenings 2-Piece Embellished Tiered Jacket Dress

Ignite Evenings 2-Piece Embellished Tiered Jacket Dress

Tiered dresses flatter many different body types. The sequin and beaded details on this set are not overpowering and offer a hint of glamour.

Mac Duggal Embellished Floral Fit & Flare Midi-Dress

Mac Duggal Embellished Floral Fit & Flare Midi-Dress

From the Fabulouss Collection, Mac Duggal midi-dress showcases a classic fit-and-flare silhouette with short flutter sleeves and an illusion neckline. The tulle overlay, adorned with sparkling crystals and sequins in a floral motif, adds a touch of elegance. This dress is the epitome of sophistication!

Invest in Timeless Pieces

I like to purchase timeless pieces when it comes to items like cocktail dresses. I prefer to have a simple dress and then pop it with accessories and fabulous shoes depending on the occasion I’m attending.

Read 14 BEAUTIFUL SUNDRESSES FOR WOMEN OVER 60.

Also read 10 PLUS SIZE DRESSES FOR WOMEN OVER 50.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How do you evaluate your body type? Is it easy or difficult to find dresses that flatter your body? Which dress styles make you feel beautiful and confident when you wear them? Please share below and let’s discuss dress styles!

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Cathy

Most of these dresses look hot unless you are in a cool environment. I live in the Caribbean and would like something very pretty, but not hot! I can’t wear sleeves, other than a cap or short sleeve that could look nice, but no long sleeves. And I don’t like all these full skirts that make you look larger than you are. I am slightly overweight, but not much and still have a waistline. I guess designers only concentrate on the younger population.

Jan Armstrong

My Granddaughter is getting married in June. It’s a ranch wedding in a barn. I am 64 years old and have a spare tire tummy. What should I wear?

Cathleen Dohrn

These are beautiful. As a post-menopausal woman who hates football and eats healthily (usually), does strength training, bikes and hikes, yet still struggles with the redistribution of weight. I found this comment pretty insensitive:

  • “Fuller in the Middle
  • There is a little extra in the middle – this could be from numerous things, like Super Bowl food”

I will try a few of these styles.

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website: www.sandraroussy.com

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