What to wear to a BBQ to look awesome

Barbecue outfits don’t have to be boring

May is national barbecue month. For many American families, Memorial Day is the official start of summer and the BBQ season. A barbecue look must be practical because of the the many spill risks. Here are some awesome tips for a stunning BBQ look.

At a BBQ, food, drink, and grass spots are possible. Thus, it is a no-brainer that any sensitive fabrics are to be avoided. Nevertheless, you want to create a cute, subtly fashion-forward outfit. This catch-24 puts forward the question

What to wear to look stunning at a BBQ? #styletips Click To Tweet

Accessories are a great way to showcase your style. Statement earrings or a short statement necklace – read short enough to not end up on the grill – are great accessories to add a trendy item.

#fashionover50 woman in BBQ outfit
London boyfriend jeans with BP espadrilles, Lands End sweater, Great Northwest suede utility jacket, Ray Ban sunglasses, statement long earrings, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Coach bag (all own)

What to wear at an afternoon BBQ

If the BBQ invitation is in the afternoon, a hat and sunglasses are must-haves and should be part of your look. Let your outfit be the guide whether to go for a floppy sunhat, a baseball cap, or a straw fedora. the same applies for the style of your sunglasses. Aviators don’t look great with a Bohemian maxi dress, while cat eyes or round glasses do. You get the idea.

Denim and khaki long or as shorts with a cute T-shirt or cotton top are a no-brainer. Linen drawstring pants are a nice alternative to khakis and jeans. Pair these options with a straw fedora or baseball cap. Don’t turn your baseball cap backwards when your are 40+. It is not fun at our age. A cotton maxi dress or crochet dress are another light weight option. When you go for a dress, go for a floppy hat.

How to dress for an evening grill party

If the BBQ is in the evening hours, have a cardigan, utility or denim jacket handy. When you are wearing a dress, a stole is a great stylish cover-up when it chills down after sunset. Make sure in your choice of your cover-up that it matches the vibe of your outfit.

Note that grill parties at your friends are sort of similar to being invited to a dinner party. You may also check out my post on what to wear to a dinner party for outfit inspirations.

Pro tip: Accessories are a great option to add trendy fashion-forward items to a look. 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 anyhow.

What to wear to a BBQ on a lawn

When the BBQ is on a lawn or on dirt, moccasins, clogs, espadrilles, ballet flats, embellished flip-flops, plateau sandals or flat sandals are your best options. Any heel would stick into the ground and get ruined. Plateau sandals may bear the risk of injury when your ankles are not strong and you step on some uneven terrain. Again think of the shoes as an accessory that has to match the vibe of your outfit. Clogs, embellished sandals or flip-flop look great with a Bohemian maxi dress. Moccasins look great with linen drawstring pants or cutoffs.

Avoid plateau sandals or heels when a BBQ party is on a lawn or gravel. The former is a recipe for injury, the latter for ruining your shoes. #BBQ #MemorialDay Click To Tweet
#fashionover50 casual outfit for a BBQ with bf jeans, sweater, sunglasses and espadrilles
London Jean boyfriend, Great Northwest suede utility jacket, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Lands End sweater, BP espadrilles, Ray Ban sunglasses, and Coach bag (all own)

The OOTD (photos above) shows an example how to dress for a grill out on a day that is a bit chilly. Below are further inspirations for BBQ appropriate outfits.

BBQ guest outfit with button-down shirt, straw hat, and leather shorts Oliveo leather shorts, Carhartt gingham button-down shirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, straw hat, Ray Ban sunglasses and Michael Kors sandals (all own)woman in dress for a grill party Karl Jäger dress, GNW cardigan, Hermes collier de chien bangle, 3.1 Philip Lim tote, statement belt, Ray Ban sunglasses, and nude Juicy Couture sandals (all own)

BBQ guest in double denim with high waist jeans and denim shirt Oliveo jeans, coin necklace worn as belt, Great Northwest shirt, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Madonna True or Dare pointy toes (all own)

mature fashion blogger dressed in a Canadian tuxedo for a nice grill party outfit Great Northwest denim shirt with Loft flare jeans, white Fossil denim jacket, Coach bag, Studio strappy multi-color sandals, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Ray Ban mirrored aviators, and statement belt (all own)

over 40 years old woman in leather capri, sweater and denim casual outfit for a grill party BGBG capri, Moda International sweater, Great Northwest denim jacket, Hermes collier de chien bangle, silk scarf and Anne Klein slingbacks (all own)

fashion blogger in an American classic white shirt dress Alexander Wang white shirt dress, floppy straw hat, Paloma Picasso belt,Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Michael Kors sandals (all own)

midlife woman in maxi dress with large floral print and wide brim hat Chica summer dress, floppy straw hat, D&GM sunglasses,Hermes collier de chien bangle, and metallic thong sandals (all own)

style blogger in denim dress and utility jacket Liz Claiborne denim dress (shortened), statement belt, Great Northwest suede utility jacket, structured bag, Michael Kors patent leather wedges, Ray Ban sunglasses (all own)

When you liked the outfit recipes of this post, and want recipes for all kind of dressing situation in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.

If you liked any of these outfit inspirations, it would help me if you pinned them to your own Pinterest board. It’s a great way that your friends, family, and others can see them too.

Wrapping up

Except for a posh backyard BBQ, you are seldom wrong with a clean good-fitting dark-wash 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.

When the BBQ is in a more formal setting and not sort of a Alaskan potluck party or it rains and the grill will probably stay cold, you may also like to read what to wear to a dinner party. When the BBQ is in a park, at a riverbank or a lake, you may also get outfit inspirations from what to wear at a picnic.

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

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