Celebrate summer by hosting or attending a backyard barbecue. Look and feel your best by dressing for the occasion in casual warm-weather apparel. If you need some fashion inspiration, keep reading to discover our favorite summer outfits for casual backyard festivities:
If you want a cool, comfy, and on-trend outfit, consider a summer dress. You can choose from multiple casual summer dresses to find one in a fit and length that’s right for you. A sleeveless maxi dress in a summery color and print is one style you can wear with almost any summer shoes, from flip-flops and sandals to canvas sneakers.
Shirt dresses are another appropriate style for backyard barbecues. Button-front shirt dresses and T-shirt dresses come in lightweight, breathable cotton to keep you cool and various colors and prints to suit your personal style. If you’re attending or hosting a barbecue with swimming, you can layer a knee- or ankle-length dress over your swimsuit for stylish coverage when you’re not in the water.
Any cotton dresses are suitable apparel for a backyard barbecue, especially when you wear them with casual summer footwear and leave the rest of your look breezy and simple. For evening cookouts, you may want to have a lightweight cotton cardigan on hand if it gets cool outside.
Another fashion option is to put together a casual top-and-skirt combo with comfortable summer shoes. Midi skirt styles in smooth jersey knits are stylish and cool enough for summer. They’re also versatile enough to wear with almost any type of summer top, whether you prefer a T-shirt, tank top, or dressier mock-neck top. There are also women’s scoop-neck tops and V-neck T-shirts in a wide range of fabrics, colors, and prints.
The same sleeveless and short-sleeve women’s tops you can wear with skirts go with shorts, too. Women’s Bermuda shorts are a classic choice that goes with virtually everything. The resort-inspired style of these shorts is casual yet structured, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for cool comfort. Wear them with a cotton tank top or any type of tee, whether you prefer a solid white T-shirt or one with a bold graphic print.
Speaking of summer cotton apparel, keep an eye out for tops made from Supima cotton. This cotton species is colorfast and durable, thanks to its long-staple fiber. It has twice the strength of regular cotton and is grown in the USA. Along with clothes made from this material, there are also Supima cotton sheets and towels. Most Supima cotton shirts and home goods are machine-washable for convenient cleaning.
As mentioned earlier, cover-up dresses are ideal for wearing over a bathing suit for a backyard barbecue where there’s a pool. Multiple swimsuit styles work just as well for backyard swimming as they do the beach, such as tugless tank one-piece swimsuits that won't shift out of place. If you want modest swimwear, there are high-neck tankini tops and one-piece bathing suits. Swim shorts and leggings provide plenty of coverage, or you can opt for a swim skirt.
If you don’t want to cover your swimsuit with a dress, there are shorts and swim tees with UPF 50+ sun protection. Rash guard hoodies are an excellent choice for wearing with shorts, especially if you want a swimsuit cover-up that provides ample coverage, dries quickly, and comes in an array of colors and prints to complement the rest of your outfit.
There are plenty of footwear options when dressing for a backyard barbecue. Sandals and flip-flops go with all of the above outfits. You can opt for canvas slip-ons such as loafers or boat shoes or choose a lace-up canvas sneaker with ankle socks. If you’re spending most of your time on the patio and don’t plan on participating in any sports—such as volleyball or kickball, for example—a pair of heeled wedge sandals is an elegant option for a backyard get-together.
You don’t need many accessories to dress up your backyard barbecue outfit. You can wear fashion scarves as hairbands or tied around a ponytail elastic. Keep jewelry simple and confined to one or two small pieces. You don’t want to wear a lot of metal jewelry in the heat, as it may get too hot against your skin. A wooden beaded necklace or stack of bracelets is a casual jewelry option that’s more suitable for summer than metal necklaces and bracelets—especially for outdoor events on hot days.
Use these ideas for outfit inspiration when choosing what to wear to your next summer barbecue. Dress for the weather and give yourself some time to try on different outfits before deciding on your favorite.