What To Wear To An Outdoor Party

Summer always calls for a outdoor event, be it a garden wedding or a backyard BBQ. This raises the question of what to wear, especially for the ladies. And if you have multiple events to attend – it is wedding season, after all – then the hunt could be a little tricky and there are some unwritten rules to consider.

Keep it Cool – In the world of fashion, "no pain, no gain" is often the rule… but summer calls for loose attire that will keep you cool. Sweating isn’t fashionable. So choose something that will allow you to catch whatever breeze there is.

Avoid ALL White – You can certainly wear white during the summer and if you want to wear all white, that’s fine too, but not for a wedding. It’s a little taboo to wear all white to any wedding, summer or not, since it’s the bride’s day to wear white. This tradition is less enforced in today’s modern world, but I think it’s still something to consider.

Don’t Skip the Details – Romantic detailing is all the rage lately… ruffles, lace, sheer fabrics, embroidery. These elements can easily be incorporated into your summer wardrobe and will add an extra “dressy” touch to your outfit.

Mix Up the Neutrals – While I’m typically a fan of all-black outfits, it doesn’t seem appropriate for an outdoor summer event. So try to break it up a little by mixing in another color or a bold accessory. All black, navy or even beige can be a tad boring for the summer months. This is the season to embrace color and show some personality!

Think Outside the Dress – Dressing up doesn’t limit you to wearing a dress. More and more, we’re seeing rompers and jumpsuits substituted for sundresses and even formal wear. A breezy pair of pants or a long flowing skirt are both great alternatives that are on trend this year.

Summer Shoes – Somewhere between your go-to flip flops and your spiky heels, every girl needs a good neutral wedge in her closet. And if you’re like me, you might need a few neutral options. As a wedding planner, I have to always think of creative shoe options that will be comfortable without being too casual. If you like flats, that’s always an option, but I’ve grown fond of my wedges that allow me to be a little taller and a little dressier without having to worry about my heel getting stuck in the grass!

For the Men – Men don’t have quite as many options as women, but there are still ways for fellows to mix it up. To events where it’s appropriate to wear a nice pair of shorts, try pairing them with a button-down shirt with rolled up sleeves and a comfy pair of boat shoes. It’s no longer inappropriate to wear a hat to a lot of events, but it shouldn’t be a ball cap. Sport a fedora at your next backyard affair and I guarantee you’ll get some compliments! For an outdoor wedding where a coat and tie is required, a bow tie or a sports coat would also be appropriate. And every man should invest in a linen or searsucker suit. If you have to wear that many clothes in the heat, you’ll want them to breathe!


It is possible to look good in the heat, but it requires a little forethought. Hopefully these are suggestions that will help you dress comfortably and fashionably to your next summer soiree!

Photo: Cloudsoup, Creative Commons 2.0.