The Power of a Red Cocktail Dress

They say that wearing red makes you feel sexy. That a red cocktail dress can make you stand out and be noticed. I’ve heard that a red dress has uncanny power, that red is a colour of energy. That evening dresses and party dresses in red draw attention. And YES to all you doubters, you can wear red at any age because style doesn’t come with an age tag.

Must-have Red Cocktail Dress

Along with a little black dress, a red cocktail dress is a super staple for your wardrobe.

I’m a little in love with the lace dress below by Yesadress for Vivid International.

The power of a red cocktail dress

Why Red for Cocktail Dresses & Party Dresses?

Red is emotionally intense. I can’t look at a red dress in my wardrobe without feeling my heart beat a little faster.

Red somehow makes me feel more energetic, and confident.

It’s probably pre-programmed within us to react to this colour – after all red is the colour of fire and it’s associated with heat and warmth.

It can also mean danger, which is why stop signs and fire alarms are red. Wearing red will give you an allure of risk.

Or success – think about The Red Carpet and the implications of walking along a red carpet to an event, or watching movie stars on the red carpet at The Oscars, or similar.

The red lace dress I’m wearing above and below makes me feel all of this and more.

I recommend red for party dresses, evening dresses and cocktail dresses – you can’t go wrong.

Cocktail dress

If red connotes risk, it’s also interwoven with love and passion. Think the Red Light District in Amsterdam, for instance, and The Lady in Red …

“I never will forget the way you look tonight,” sings Chris de Burgh.

How to choose the best shade of red for YOU.

Of course within the red spectrum there are different shades of red. You might prefer to wear bright reds such as scarlet, crimson, vermillion or Spanish red – which are vibrant and eye-catching.

Then there are darker shades such as maroon and burgundy which feel a little more sedate and mature.

Or perhaps you are more of a fuschia, or ruby red person and love jewel colours to make you sparkle.

Tip: It’s important to find out which shade of red suits you. My colouring doesn’t suit maroon or burgundy, these colours wash me out – but a rosy red brightens my complexion and my eyes seem to sparkle. So do try different shades of red before you buy, because one shade doesn’t suit all.

If you need a little help, I suggest that when you’re next at a cosmetic counter ask a qualified assistant to determine whether your skin undertone colour is cool, warm or neutral.

I was given the following advice:

  • Maroon, brick, cherry, crimson, rasberry and cranberry reds better suit cool complexions
  • Poppy, ruby, rust, scarlet and vermillion suit warm skin undertones.
  • True reds like fire engine red suit most people because they don’t have any blue or orange tint, and therefore don’t clash with your skin colour.

When not to wear a red dress

Because of its power and allure there are times when wearing red is just not appropriate.

Remember it’s such a stand out colour, so it’s best not to wear it to a wedding or a job interview or in other situations where you do not want to be, or should not be, a main attraction shouting for attention.

In the wrong situation red can come across as vulgar, or even aggressive, so if you’re unsure team it with white to soften its heat – such as a white or ivory scarf tied at the neck for daytime wear, or wear a red skirt with a soft white blouse or red jeans with a crisp white shirt.

When to wear a red dress

At night.

A red cocktail dress is a great go-to for evening events.

Go all out with your red dress. Make it sparkle.

I’d choose a lace dress for a fun occasion, and a jersey dress for a more formal occasion.

Add a bit of bling jewellery (or the real McCoy – silver or gold – if you have some).

Wear sheer tights and nude, black or silver shoes, and team it all with a small sparkly nude, black or silver clutch.

Further Suggestions and Resources

Wear red dresses with stylish, comfortable heels like these Nikki in Blush.

FRANKiE4 Sandals

Or the Donna in Black from FRANKiE4FRANKiE4 SandalsFor a special event, (and if you’re looking for cheap cocktail dresses) you’ll love these Reasonable Prices for racy ensembles like this below at Millers.

Red Cocktail Dress

Below I’m wearing a red cocktail dress by Leona Edmiston a reasonably priced fashion label by an eminent Australian fashion designer with an online shop. Leona’s styles are wonderfully flattering whatever colour you choose. I love this red cocktail dress as it’s a red dress with sleeves.

Red Cocktail Dress

For an occasion though, I’m loving the flattering designs, particularly the gorgeous lace dress below, from Yesadress – Check out more styles and where you can buy Vivid International brands here:  Stockists for Vivid International clothes. This dress is lined, and tailored and fits like a glove. I’m wearing a size 10.

Cocktail Dress from Yesadress, Vivid International

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links from which I stand to earn a small commission if you buy from them – but at no expense to you. The dress from Yesadress was gifted. Lifestyle Fifty Website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

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Cocktail dresses. Why choose a red cocktail dress? Looking for an evening or party dress? The power of red. Suggestions and stockists of evening and cocktail dresses from Lifestyle blogger Johanna Castro.

You might also like: What Should I Wear Today?

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Showing 26 comments
  • Reply

    You look great in red. I have a very similar dress to the Yesadress lace one, only mine is in bottle green. I picked it up from Millers for all of $10 – haven’t had a chance to wear it yet but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t bring it home!!!

    • Johanna

      Hi Janet, and thank you. Wow, that sounds like you found yourself a super bargain there. Can’t wait to see a photo soon 🙂

  • Veronica Collingwood

    Hi Jo, and yes I missed you! Thought that maybe I had been removed from your mailing list. . .Glad to see that you are back and looking fabulous in red! Love red! I wear it often.

    • Johanna

      Hello Veronica, oh thank you! And I’m a little relieved that you missed me in my newsletter absence! Thank you for following and reading. You are wonderful x

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    I love red. I’m a red girl too. Looks great on you.
    As a bit of a LOL – on my tab at the top the entire post name doesn’t fit so all I can see on my tab is “the power of a red cock”. Yes, I was relieved it was dresses awaiting me.

    • Johanna

      Hahahaha! Leanne! That is my best laugh of the day 😉 Thank you! I bet you were a little relieved!

  • Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject

    You look gorgeous in your red dresses Jo. Our daughter wore a red cocktail dress for her Year 10 formal last year and looked stunning. Red is not a colour that really suits my skin tone, I’m better off with fuschia or coral then bright red. It’s great to experiment with different colours to work out what best suits you – and then you know your own “go-to” colours 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Johanna

      Yes I agree you need to experiment with different colour reds Lyndall. Thanks for you kind compliments too 🙂

  • [email protected]

    You look fantastic in that red lace dress Jo, and in the Red Leona Edmistone dress too! I love red and do wear quite a bit of it but like you said, it has to be the right shade of red! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Johanna

      Thank you Min. See you wrote a fashion post today too – perhaps we’ll be seeing more of you in your red clothes soon too? 🙂

  • Emma

    I had a boss who always wore a red suit when she needed to control a room or a meeting. It would stand out amongst all the black and grey and definitely seemed to work.

    My #lovinlife post is here

    • Johanna

      Oh my Emma! I bet she did make heads turn and turn up the authority!

  • Jan Wild

    Love that red Vivid dress on you, it is such a lovely red and you wear it very well. It really helps to wear red as we age I find, I love a red lippy these days whereas I once wore more neutral colours.

    • Johanna

      Hi Jan, thank you. Yes I didn’t like wearing red when I was younger, but I do now I’m (much) older! Like you, I also like red lippy, whereas before it was too bright.

  • Jo Tracey

    I love red, and like to wear it in winter, but not so much in summer – no idea why. I find it difficult to wear the darker reds e.g. burgundy & maroon, so am on the bright side of the spectrum…and I do love a red lip. At the moment I don’t own either a little black dress or a cocktail dress. I have one Leona that I bought in 2016 winter for a wedding, but that is it. Oh the shame. 🙂

    • Johanna

      Hi Jo, yes I’m the same, burgundy and maroon do me no good at all. Lol! No LBD or LRD – Fashion disaster! I’m sure your Leona looks gorgeous still.

  • Kathy Marris

    I love you in this red lacy dress Jo. You look like a million dollars and yes that song “Lady in Red” was definitely written just for you! #TeamLovinLife

    • Johanna

      Thank you Kathy – how lovely 🙂 Personally, I’m not so sure, but the dress is gorgeous and a wonderful colour and fit 🙂

  • Reply

    A beautiful selection of dresses and great advice – thank you x #Lovin’LifeLinky

  • Deborah

    I’ve been looking at a City Chic red dress I saw on Instagram as I’m keen to go to this cocktail party / ball thing in early December. I think it’s a nice shade of red. I don’t like anything too warm (same with lipstick), so a bit cooler.


    • Johanna

      Go you Deb! I’m sure you’ll look fantabulous in red at the cocktail party/ball. It’s good to know which shade of red suits you though – sometimes the wrong colour can play havoc with your natural colouring.

  • Reply

    I love red Jo and you look lovely. I’m a fan of the LBD but there is something about a bright colour like red to get you into the party mood. thanks for the fashion inspiration.

    • Johanna

      Thanks Sue. Yes, having a LBD is one thing, but I’ve come to realise that a LRD is just as handy.

  • Reply

    I’m always a bit scared of red – I think I might come to like it more now I’m older and braver. I always felt that red wore me rather than me wearing it! You look lovely in both dresses btw 🙂

    • Johanna

      Thanks Leanne 🙂 I do know what you mean. You have to have a certain attitude to wear red. I think it’s easier as we get older and bolder. Go for it – and I’d love to see a pic 🙂

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