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How to Dress for a Cocktail Party

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Wear Appropriate Jewelry
How to Dress for a Cocktail Party

Petite Salma Hayek wears a De Grisogono statement necklace with a little black dress.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
There are a couple of strategies that work best for cocktail party dressing. One is to let the dress star; the other is to let a special piece of jewelry star.

If you want your dress to be the center of attention, keep jewelry simple and avoid flashy pieces. If you want your jewelry to be the focal point, select a simple dress so that your jewelry will stand out against the background of the dress. Little black dresses work well for this look, but you can also select a dress of another color as long as the color of the dress looks great as a background for the jewelry.

Although rings or bracelets may function as focal pieces, the easiest way to create a focal point with jewelry is to wear a statement necklace or brooch. Keep other jewelry simpler so that the piece you want to focus on really stands out. You can create your focal point with either costume jewelry or fine jewelry. Make sure that the jewelry is in proportion to your petite size.

Pendant necklace and chandelier or dangle earrings can help make you look a bit taller. Avoid choker necklaces of any type because they break up the vertical line that petites need to create to look thinner and taller.

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