What is a cowl neck dress?

There is such a wide range of choice when it comes to bridesmaid dress features that sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. Even if you have settled on a colour and style, you then need to consider how the sleeves, accessories, and neckline. The latter in particular can have a massive impact on your bridesmaid’s look, as well as how it fits into the themes of the occasion. 

Read below for all the information on cowl neck dresses, along with what you need to know to pick the best one for a bridesmaid. 

The importance of dress necklines 

Many seamstresses consider the neckline to be the most important part of a dress. This is because it draws attention to the chest and face, in turn deemphasizing other parts of the body. It can therefore be adjusted to meet the needs of the person wearing it, taking into account their preferences and proportions. Furthermore, a bridesmaid dress neckline serves as an opportunity to appeal to a certain style. The colour, texture, length, line, and pattern are all factors that can influence the role of the neckline in a dress.   

Cowl neckline dresses explained 

A cowl neckline dress is a type of bridesmaid dress that features a draped neckline with loose, folded fabric that hangs down the front. To allow them to hang naturally, the ‘cowl’ is often made from soft and flowy fabrics such as silk, satin, or jersey. This neckline fabric is often worn off the shoulders, but it can also be pulled up to cover the neck if needed.  

Choosing a cowl neck bridesmaid dress is often beneficial if you want to exude elegance and sophistication. As a result, it has proven to be popular formal events or evening occasions held in lavish locations. That being said, cowl neck dresses can look just at home in casual settings when paired with the right accessories.  

The name ‘cowl neck’ comes from the fact that the neckline resembles the hood of a monk's cowl, which is a loose, hooded garment worn traditionally. It is thought to have also referred to the hooded part of a cloak or cape. The use of a cowl neck for dresses first became popular in the 1930’s, where they were worn at dinner parties. 

Popular dress styles for cowl necklines  

A cowl neck dress can come in various lengths, styles, colours, and designs, with each combination working brilliantly together. As such, the neckline is very versatile and can be featured at a variety of events in multiple seasons. To give you some ideas, here are some of the bridesmaid dress styles we have identified where cowl necklines feature most often. 

  • Maxi bridesmaid dresses – while frequently used for more informal events, a maxi dress with a cowl neck can be perfect for striking a balance between smart and playful. 
  • Satin bridesmaid dresses – satin is a great material for loose hanging features, as it has a lovely sheen. The cowl fits perfectly with the rest of the dress to create comforting look that effortlessly plays off the body. 
  • Slip bridesmaid dresses – a smaller cowl can go great with the spaghetti straps of a slip dress to maintain a look without masses of fabric. 

Some cowl neck dresses may also feature additional details such as ruching, pleats, or embellishments, adding texture and personality to the garment. Alongside our bridesmaid dress collection, we stock an extensive range of accessories to help complete your look.   

Shop cowl neck bridesmaid dresses 

Maids to Measure is a specialist boutique providing bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and services to help get you ready for your big day. Our team is friendly, knowledgeable, patient, and professional. When you book an appointment at our showroom, we take the time to understand what kind of event you want, so we know exactly what steps need to be taken to make it a reality. If you have questions about any of our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch.