A cocktail dress or cocktail outfit is a woman’s dress worn at cocktail get-togethers and semi-formal or “black tie up” occasions.
Historically the space of the cocktail dress is long, often coming in contact with the ankle. When it’s about 5 cm (2 inches wide) above the ankle it is named tea length so when it is nearly touching the ankle it is named ballerina length, although ballerina length dresses usually fall in to the evening gown category.
The modern description of a cocktail dress is often taken to suggest a shorter dress above the leg. It must be smart, including the black outfits, and could have sequins or ribbons as an attribute.
At semi-formal situations, a less intricate, shorter-length cocktail dress may be worn. Before the mid 20th hundred years this kind of dress was known as ‘overdue evening’. When gentlemen are running a business suits, girls also wear dress suits or “good” evening skirt and dresses.
In the middle-20th hundred years, some couturiers started out explaining full-skirted cocktail dresses as “dancing costumes”. They are suited to formal dances however, not for balls, or other white tie up affairs, where ball dresses are worn.
Religious Dior was the first ever to use the word “cocktail dress” to make reference to early nighttime wear, in the past due 1940s.