Best fall cocktail dress


Company-hosted cocktail parties became very popular post WWII, leading to a need for semi-formal attire for working women. Thus was born the cocktail dress!

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Which fall cocktail dresses are best?

Although it’s not strictly required to have a different cocktail dress for every season, it can add a lot of dimension to your wardrobe. A cocktail dress for fall is generally going to be a darker color and less sheer material than what you’d wear in spring or summer. It should also look great under warmer layers for when you’re going to and from a special event. 

The top choice for a fall cocktail dress is the Calvin Klein Sunburst Sheath Dress.

What to know before you buy a fall cocktail dress


There are so many different options when it comes to cocktail dresses that narrowing it down by season will still leave you with a ton of options. Think about your personal style and what kind of dress will suit you best. Do you like long sleeves or no sleeves at all? Do you prefer an A-line silhouette or a pencil skirt? What length makes you most comfortable: midi, knee, mid-thigh? Get something that makes you feel great and shows off your personal style. 

For some all-season options, check out this cocktail dress review guide.


Cocktail dresses used to be much more specific, but these days, they actually encompass a broad range of options. Consider what kinds of occasions you’ll be wearing this dress during the fall season. Drinks after work with coworkers might require something very different than the reception of a wedding.


If you don’t want to bother getting a different dress for every occasion, it’s a good idea to look for a dress that is highly versatile. Often all you need to do is change up the accessories and you’ll look great at any event you attend during the fall.

What to look for in a quality fall cocktail dress


Classic fall materials for cocktail dresses often include velvet or lace. Both are very luxe and will elevate your look for an, especially elegant occasion. Most dresses will be made of polyester or some combination of synthetic materials. This helps to keep the costs down and can make for very durable and affordable garments. However, it can be worth it to invest in a dress made from cotton or wool. The latter especially will keep you much warmer on a chilly fall night.


A great cocktail dress should be wearable for years. It’s a statement piece that you invest in. To that end, it’s better to avoid dresses that are overly trendy and will look dated by next year. However, it’s also possible to keep such pieces looking fresh with the right accessories.


Most clothes made nowadays have a certain amount of elastic in them. This helps them both retain their shape and fit as if they were tailored for you. If you’re looking at a cocktail dress without elastic, the fit is very important. Measure yourself so you can make sure you get the right size. If you’re between sizes, buy the next size up and have a tailor take it in. You’re not very likely to get clothes off the rack that fit you perfectly, but they should fit you in a way that is both comfortable and makes you feel good.

How much you can expect to spend on a fall cocktail dress

Expect to spend about $30-$130 on the low end.

Fall cocktail dress FAQ

Does the length of a fall cocktail dress matter?

A. Generally, the shorter you go, the more casual the dress will be. A floor-length dress tends to be associated with more formal events, while “cocktail”-style events are associated with shorter dresses. These days, knee-length to mid-thigh is fairly normal.

What is a cocktail dress?

A. A cocktail dress is considered semi-formal and worn to events in the late afternoon. This could be a work event depending on the company you work for, though many companies have become much more casual. It could also be worn to a holiday party or other special occasion. Really though, if you feel awesome in it, almost any occasion is a great time to wear a cocktail dress.

What’s the best fall cocktail dress to buy?

Top fall cocktail dress

Calvin Klein Sunburst Sheath Dress

Calvin Klein Sunburst Sheath Dress

What you need to know: The Sunburst Sheath Dress from Calvin Klein is elevated minimalism at its finest.

What you’ll love: This dress comes in three delightful fall colors. It stops just above the knee and is sleeveless, meaning you can easily pair it with any outerwear. The sunburst pattern is a gorgeous and flattering detail that takes a basic dress and adds personality.

What you should consider: This dress only goes up to size 14, and the arm holes might be a bit tight.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top fall cocktail dress for the money

Floerns Women’s Tie Neck Short Sleeve Ruffle Hem Cocktail Party Dress

Floerns Women’s Tie Neck Short Sleeve Ruffle Hem Cocktail Party Dress

What you need to know: Short and flirty, this ruffley dress will flatter anyone and add great movement when grabbing your next cocktail.

What you’ll love: With just a little Spandex, this cocktail dress will fit you easily throughout the afternoon and evening. It comes in four different colors and the short hemline is offset by the high neckline with a fun tie detail. 

What you should consider: Floerns’ dress only goes up to size XL.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kensie Women’s Lace Midi Length Party Sheath Dress with Tie Back

Kensie Women’s Lace Midi Length Party Sheath Dress with Tie Back

What you need to know: The Kensie dress is a knee-length sheath style that flatters the body and adds a touch of easy elegance.

What you’ll love: Featuring cutout detailing accentuated by a satin bow, this dress is as beautiful from the front as it is from the back. The sheath style is flattering while the length is modest, making it well-balanced visually. Plus lace is always classy and chic.

What you should consider: This dress only comes in black and only goes up to size XL.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Eve Jones writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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