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Short Cocktail Dresses

Sometimes a formal event doesn't call for a ball gown. When something slightly less dressy is in order, short cocktail dresses can be a great compromise. Not quite as formal as a full length gown, shorter dresses are fun, flirty and entirely appropriate for many semi-formal occasions or evenings out. Dresses by Adrianna Papell, Nine West and London Times use color, cut and sumptuous materials to create looks that have a variety of uses.

Short cocktail dresses are often considered less formal that traditional gowns; however, they still provide the elegance and grace needed for formal affairs. To wear a shorter dress to a more formal event, choose silks or satins in solid colors or basic patterns. By avoiding anything too fussy, the dress becomes easy to accessorize and an excellent alternative to ankle or tea-length dresses.

Shorter dresses are also more versatile than their longer counterparts. A simple black dress with a square neckline and tank sleeves can be worn to a black tie wedding or a special evening out. Dress up the look with high pumps and diamond jewelry or dress it down with strappy sandals and chunky gold accessories.

Many short cocktail dresses are form fitting, providing a beautiful silhouette but looser pieces with empire like styling are equally popular. For a more casual look, consider choosing a floral pattern in a soft color palette or a bold geometric print. Pair with a wrap to keep the evening chill off or a white wool coat for winter.

A dress with a shorter hemline is an excellent alternative to traditional bridesmaid dresses. Particularly appropriate for afternoon or less formal weddings, a short hemline can be stunning when paired with strappy sandals. Even better, the dresses provide a degree of functionality not often seen in bridesmaid dresses—they are easy to wear again!

Change up your formal wardrobe with short cocktail dresses at Macy's.

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    • GUESS Floral-Lace Ruffled-Hem Sheath
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      Material Girl Lace Illusion Skater Dress
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    • Betsy & Adam Lace-Overlay Tulle A-Line Dress
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    • Adrianna Papell Beaded Sequined Sheath Dress
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