There's an engagement party coming up! And it's a barbecue? The mix of formal and casual has been on the rise in modern times. It leads to fun mixes and interesting fashion questions. How do you dress if it is technically a formal event but a casual party? Is it possible to balance these two contrasting aspects of this event? Let's find out!
A men's or women's hat is a great idea to bring along. Barbecues are often held outside, which, in certain areas, means they can get very hot. You never know how much shade a place has or how much of that shade will be taken up by others. Having a light straw hat to protect your head and keep your face covered is not only functional but also adds a fashionable element to your outfit. Hats seem somewhat formal to modern sensibilities because we don't wear them very often. Since this is a special event, you can use a practical hat like a Panama, a boat hat, a trilby, or a fedora to elevate your outfit. A good hat can perfectly mix casual and formal styles and be a great clothing choice.
You definitely want to look cute, but you also want to stay cool. Dresses are great outfit choices for fulfilling both requirements. If it's a more formal barbecue, perhaps held at a waterside hotel, go for a maxi dress. For backyard barbecues and other more relaxed settings, a shorter dress will fit in well while also allowing more airflow to cool you off.
For single-item outfits, dresses and jumpers are great for warm temperatures. A checked dress would recall outdoor picnics and be a visually interesting option for an engagement party. A floral print is also a great pattern that will fit in perfectly with any outdoor event. If you want something a little more unusual, choose a jumper with shorts and thin straps. If you prefer the shorts and top in pieces, go for a floral blouse or a solid-colored blouse on top. These are generally light and relatively formal. However, when paired with white shorts, or perhaps patterned shorts for the solid-colored blouses, the formality is mellowed, and you have that formal-casual balance.
And for shoes, women's sandals are definitely the way to go. They cover as little of your feet as possible, allowing your toes to breathe and stay cool. Plus, there are so many varieties that you will have no problem finding something that will be appropriate for the occasion. If it is a fancier party, you may want strappy stilettos, block-heeled peep toes, or ankle strap wedges. If it is a more laid-back event, consider flat thong sandals, slides with a single piece of material across the toe, or gladiator sandals. Whichever way you go, choosing some form of sandal to wear should give you an easy match with your outfit, keep you cool, and be appropriate for an engagement celebration.
For guys, staying cool boils down to men's shorts. However, this is an engagement party, so you probably need nice shorts (i.e., not baggy), such as slim-fitting ones that follow the line of your leg. They also should end a little above the knee and are probably in a clean neutral color. For tops, a short-sleeved collared shirt made of thin cotton will look put together while keeping you cool. Short-sleeved polo shirts could also work here. Wear driving moccasins or boat shoes to complete the look. On the more casual side, a fitted t-shirt should be fine with sneakers or slip-on shoes like Vans. If it is a very informal event, you might be able to get away with flip-flops.
As far as colors, you either want to go with two neutrals — a dark one and a light one — or one neutral and one color. Dark neutrals are black, gray, dark brown, and navy blue. Lighter neutrals include white, cream, and other lighter sandy browns. For colors, since it is a formal occasion and you are not the guests of honor, you should probably go a little less bright and a little more subtle. Skip the neons and go with dark and muted tones. As long as the rest of you is trimmed and clean, that should be all you need.
The main thing to remember about this barbecue is that it is being put on to celebrate your friends. Choosing your clothes with intention lets the couple know you care. Having a good outfit that is appropriate for the venue and the occasion also allows you to relax and have a great time at this celebration. Remember that hat, grab your engagement gift before you go, and get ready to have a wonderful and delicious engagement barbecue experience.