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Cocktail Dresses

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Unique Vintage Plus Size 1920s Black Sequin Fringe Del Mar Flapper Dress
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The cocktail dress evolved post World War I as a party dress that fits somewhere between an everyday dress and a ball gown. As hemlines rose, so did a new lifestyle that involved nightclubs, parties and other special events that required something dressier than the afternoon dress, but less formal than a full-length ballgown. Some say cocktail dresses should fall just below the knee, but today there are many options, and you can wear whatever length pulls off the look you want and makes you feel the most comfortable.
While you can choose a department store dress for your event, a retro-style from Unique Vintage could just be the showstopper you're looking for, darling. Find looks to love inspired from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Dresses Across History

Each decade had its own staples, and we gather the most stunning examples to represent each fashion trend:

• 1920s – Drop waist dresses; beadwork; sheer lacy panels. • 1930s – Bias cuts; knee to floor length; flared hems. • 1940s – Knee length A-line or pencil skirts; peplum ruffles. • 1950s – Circle skirts and dresses with full skirts; sheath dresses. • 1960s – Wiggle dresses; miniskirts; mod dresses; polka dots • 1970s – Shift dresses; mini to maxi skirts; wrap dresses.

The 1920s was the era of the flapper with drop waist dresses, fringe, lace and sparkly accoutrements such as beads and sequins. Go bold with long fringe that extends the length of a short skirt. Later eras brought on a mix of styles such as the slim pencil skirt that inspired today’s bodycon dress, and full skirt that falls by the knee, known today as midi length. The 1950s kept the full skirts and paired them with a fitted bodice — often with a low sweetheart neckline. You can even find floor-length maxi dresses and pantsuits here inspired by the free styles of the 1970s.

Modern Takes on Retro Styles

While dresses are cut from vintage styles, they are full of modern comfort and some modern updates. Fabrics are made to stretch and hug your curves, and the vibrant colors pop. Unique Vintage offers many dresses in plus sizes to fit a fuller figure, while still offering a flattering style. Each style dress is made to beckon days past, and have lovely details such as the use of velvet and satiny fabrics that feel luxurious on your skin. Pencil skirted dresses look conforming, but have enough stretch to give you freedom and movement. Layers of lace let colors of satin slips beneath peek through for a flirty style.

These lovely frocks have such attitude you will hope there's dancing at your party. A flirty flapper-inspired dress with a drop waist and fringe wants movement while a swing dress and its full skirt also wants to cut a rug. Even if the party is low key, you'll look elegant and timeless. Styles from our line speak to your vintage sensibilities and trendy tastes. Most dresses can easily go from dinner to dancing, or to evening events whether they are an informal get together at a friend's or a more formal occasions like weddings.

Pair any of these dresses with the right shoes, a clutch purse and the right accessories, and people will think you stepped through time. Accessories are an important part of the dress, and a few pointers can help you turn a dress into an ensemble.

• 1920s – Mary Jan and T-strap heels; fringe wraps; bead and feather headbands; small beaded purses; pearl necklaces; faux gemstones. • 1930s – T-strap heels; knit berets and slouch hats. • 1940s – Peep-toe heels, wedge sandals; turban hats and headscarves; snoods; flower clips. • 1950s – Kitten heels and stiletto heels; hair flowers; pearl jewelry; animal brooches; clutch handbags. • 1960s – GoGo boots; costume jewelry; headbands. • 1970s – Platform shoes; macramé; peace beads.
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