There's more formal cocktail dresses for evening events, then there's "casual cocktail" dresses for afternoon events, dates or a night on the town.
Every woman needs a nice cocktail dress in her closet for those events that are not formal, but need a tiny bit more glitz than jeans as well as a T-shirt.
A cocktail dress, whether formal or informal, is a short dress, usually knee length, unlike formal gowns, which are floor length. You wear a cocktail dress for semi-formal events, and casual dresses for more intimate occasions or outdoor parties. American Chronicle describes cocktail dresses as "frothy, appealing and arresting."
The loose fitting halter dress is suitable for casual cocktail attire. It's flowing quality makes it an appropriate choice for a day outside or summer afternoons and trips to the beach. It has a more relaxed look.
When to Wear
A casual cocktail dress is a dress that you can wear during the day or night without looking too fancy. You should be able to wear a dress like this on the go, appropriate for whatever the day brings.
You can dress down a casual cocktail dress with flip flops without looking unmatched, or dress it up with heels and some nice jewelry for a night on the town. "The apparel should be accompanied by flattering jewelry, handbags, and other accessories to give the wearer and appealing look," says the American Chronicle.