For many the long Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer and the BBQ season. For women following the Fashion Rules, it is the official start of wearing white. White and BBQ seem not to be a good idea.
Some of my readers asked me for suggestions what to wear for a BBQ this summer to dress to impress without looking like trying too hard.
At a grilling party, all kinds of spots may happen, starting with splashes of fat from the grill over ketchup spots and someone spilling red wine (dip it dry and add salt on top to mitigate the spot) while refilling your glass. Food and drink mishaps just happen. If kids are present, add chocolate, grass and soil spots to the mix.
Go for clothes in fabrics that you can wash. Thus, forget about white unless you can wash it hot and bleach it. Be aware that bleaching yellows the clothes.
Accessories are a great option to add trendy fashion forward items. Go for statement earrings or a statement necklace. They will detract the other guests from that you wore the same items you wore at last year’s BBQ. Recall that the outfits of last year’s party are just a few clicks away on their cellphones. Unless you made a selfie at last year’s party, you probably don’t recall what you wore.
What to wear at a BBQ
Always let the weather, venue and time of the day be your guide in what to wear. For instance, at an afternoon grilling event on a sunny day, you should have a hat, sun-cream, and sunglasses handy. A floppy sunhat, baseball cap, or straw fedora are great options depending on the vibe of your outfit – Bohemian, casual, or urban. Pick the sunglasses to match the vibe of your outfit like metal round glasses, aviators and Sixties style sunglasses for Bohemian, casual and urban safari, respectively.
Here are some outfit suggestions:
- Linen drawstring pants, denim and khaki long pants or shorts with a cute T-shirt with a straw fedora or baseball cap. Old school fabric sneakers like Keds or Vans, ballet flats, moccasins, driving shoes, flat sandals or gladiators are great matches especially when the event is on a lawn or uneven terrain.
Never turn your baseball cap backwards when your are 40+. It is not fun at our age.
- A cotton maxi dress or crochet dress are dressy light weight options and look awesome with a floppy hat, flat gladiators, espadrilles, ballet flats, embellished flip-flops, clogs, embellished sandals or thongs. Metallic, and tan are great colors for the footwear.
Avoid plateau sandals or heels when the party is on a lawn or gravel. The former is a recipe for injury the latter for ruining your shoes.
- BBQs in the evening ask for a cover-up once the sun sets and radiative cooling starts. The above suggested outfits look great with a cardigan, utility or denim jacket.
- A dress with a stole is a great stylish option too.
- A BBQ type casual cookout or an elaborate backyard barbecue on a deck permit a more dressy outfit as regular chairs and a table are available. A floral cotton, hemp or bamboo dress with a cardigan, denim or leather jacket, wedge sandals, a shoulder mini-bag, earrings and a low key necklace make for a stylish impression.
- Double denim with a denim skirt and shirt in different colors, Keds or Vans, a statement necklace, headband and a worn leather belt are a nice California Casual option for a BBQ at a garden party. Add a leather baseball hat like Rihanna when you are not a fan of the headscarf look.
- What about a denim dress with sneakers, a statement necklace and a straw hat?
- A BBQ on the beach asks for typical beach cover-ups like a sundress, or sarong.
Except for a posh backyard BBQ, you are seldom wrong with a clean good-fitting pair of jeans, a high quality clean T-shirt, medium length earrings, statement sunglasses, a pendant gold or silver necklace and a pair of good flat strappy sandals or sneakers.
Visual BBQ outfit inspirations
Here are further BBQ outfit suggestions. Enjoy your BBQ and stay in style.
Alexander Wang dress with Paloma Picasso belt, Michael Kors sandals and straw hat (all own) Ariana wedge slides c/o Vionic Shoes worn the Italian way with own BCBG leather capri, Liz Claiborne silk knit sweater, Moda International cardigan and Burberry bag
BGBG capri, Moda International sweater, Great Northwest denim jacket, silk scarf and Anne Klein slingbacks (all own)
Tweet your friends about these outfit inspirations to look stunning at a BBQ
Have you already started the grilling season? What is your favorite outfit to wear when you attend a grilling party? Let me know, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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