The history of the cocktail dress
The first time the cocktail dress was mentioned was in Vogue in 1927, but the concept only became more common up through the 40s and 50s where "cocktail hour" and "cocktail parties" came into being.
Companies started arranging "cocktail parties" where their employees could mingle with customers in a semi-formal setting, but also privately, "cocktail hours" were arranged. Although these gatherings were not limited to a particular social group, there were clear “rules” about how these gatherings took place.
The label could vary year-on-year and between social groups, but the label around the cocktail dress was the same - it had to be "short snd stylish" and by that it was meant to go to just above or just below the knee, be "semi-formal ”And thus simpler than an evening dress, which was usually longer and had lots of construction and decorative details.
Depending on the woman's "class", the cocktail dress could be a downgraded version of the more formal evening dress, or an upgraded version of the everyday dress. These "in-between" dresses were always beautiful and elegant, and yet practical when the woman had to mingle, dance and drink.
40s cocktail dress
In the early 40's, only a few women still participated in the "cocktail hour". Therefore, the cocktail dress was most often an upgrade of the everyday dress, where materials such as rayon, velor and satin were used in an a-line cut. If the dress had sleeves, it was most often with shoulder pads for a sharp look. Jewelry and accessories were also a big thing in the 40s and therefore it was easy to style the dresses for finer use.
Small hats or fashinators, chairs, gloves and of course jewelry were used. In the late 40s, one began to see a more figure-hugging cut. Instead of the a-line dress, it was now the pencil dress that was the popular design. Pinups adopted these pencil dresses to create a more curvy look. Socks with seams were of course a must!
Click here to see our selection of our Billion Dollar dresses from Stop Staring Click here to see our selection of socks with stitches from What Katie Did Click here to see our selection of dresses in 40s style dresses
50s cocktail dress
Pencil dress cut as we saw it In the late 40s continued into the 50s and became one of the two most popular styles of cocktail dresses. The other style was the swing dress where the top was still tailored, but the bottom went out in a round-cut skirt worn with a petticoat underneath for plenty of fullness.
Both look were equally popular and popular colors were black, white, blue, green and red. Also prints such as dice, dots and flowers were popular.
Click here to see our selection of socks with stitches from What Katie Did Click here to see our selection of 50s style dresses.
60s cocktail dress
Both of the two above versions of the cocktail dress continued up into the first part of the 60s. The dresses then began to become shorter and with a small a-line skirt. Black was still the most popular color for the cocktail dress with silver and gold also became a big hit in the 60s. Shoes fashion changed in the 60's where the cocktail dress was worn with flat shoes or "Mary Janes".
The cocktail dress today
Today, most of us no longer go to so many formal gatherings, and today the cocktail dress is one that is worn when we go out to festive occasions such as weddings, confirmations, birthday parties, an evening in the city, dinner parties, for Christmas lunch or of course New Year's Eve .
In Scandinavian culture, it is not often we see women wearing floor-length dresses, and thus the shorter cocktail dress is usually the go-to dress when it needs to be a little finer. Most people probably think that a cocktail dress should be black, but we absolutely think that it can be nice in navy blue, green or red!
Styling of the cocktail dress
A cocktail dress is usually very simple and thus easy to style with jewellery, shoes and accessories. If the dress is to be styled for a finer event or New Year's Eve, we would recommend some finer jewelery and possibly long satin gloves. A must always be a pair of thin stockings with seams from What Katie Did, and a pair of nice heels.
Click here if you want to see our selection of satin gloves
See all our cocktail dresses in our store in Copenhagen
We always have a good selection of cocktail dresses in different colors and cuts in stock both here on our webshop and in the store in Copenhagen N. Here on the webshop you can browse and see what we have in stock of cocktail dresses right now, but do you have the opportunity for to look past our store in Copenhagen we would recommend you this.
We will be happy to welcome you and give you guidance and tips the absolutely perfect cocktail dress.
Do you have any questions regarding our cocktail dresses?
With Mondo Kaos our first priority is always happy customers. If you have any questions, whatsoever, about our cocktail dresses or other clothing, please do not hesitate to contact us.
You can meet us every weekday on 60 95 11 36 in the period 10: 00-18: 00 - however, on busy days it can be difficult for us to answer the phone, as we are usually busy taking care of the customers who visit us in the store.
Therefore, it will be an advantage to write your question to firstname.lastname@example.org where we strive to answer within a weekday.