Whether you’re hosting or attending, a cookout at the park calls for comfortable summer apparel. We’ve put together a guide to help you decide the right outfit to wear for your next outdoor summer barbecue.
The first thing to consider when choosing an outfit for a park cookout is the weather. While it’s likely to be pleasant, there may be a breeze or a chance of showers. Prepare for any possibility by packing a lightweight sweater or rain jacket in your bag. Packable jackets are compact enough to fit in a large handbag or tote, or even in the glove compartment or center console of your vehicle. Layering your clothing is another way to ensure comfort—for example, you could layer a lightweight button-down over a fitted cotton tank top. If it gets too hot, tie the button-down around your waist or fold it and tuck it into your bag.
Even if the forecast calls for cooler temperatures, sun protection clothing is a good idea for a cookout at the park. UV rays can still penetrate cloud cover, and the sun protection apparel at Lands’ End delivers UPF 50+ for covered areas. There’s even a wide selection of sun protection swimwear for the whole family, along with beach cover-ups for added protection. While not every cookout includes swimming, there are some parks that do have a swimming pool. You could swim in the morning before the cookout or take a dip afterwards.
The last thing you want to worry about at a cookout is staining your clothes. Spills happen, which is why it’s a good idea to choose women’s summer tops with stain-resistant finishes. There are cotton and polyester shirts that have these finishes, and some of them are also wrinkle-resistant with antimicrobial properties. All of these features are a plus when choosing what to wear to a cookout.
When shopping for cotton or cotton-blend apparel, you can’t go wrong with Supima cotton, which is grown in the USA. There are Supima cotton T-shirts, sweaters, and even bedding—all of which are soft, sturdy, and colorfast. This cotton species’ long-staple fiber is twice as durable as regular cotton, so items hold shape longer even after plenty of wear and laundering.
There are multiple outfit ideas to consider when dressing for a cookout. Shorts, a skirt, or a dress are all appropriate park-cookout wear, depending on your personal style preferences. There are different ways to style each piece for a casual day at the park; for example, you could pair women’s Bermuda shorts or even capri pants with a sleeveless mock neck or another blouse style. A jersey-knit midi skirt with a T-shirt is another outfit possibility, or you could wear a floaty maxi dress if boho-inspired looks are your summer go-to. Sleeveless maxi dresses come in summery colors and lightweight fabrics, and they’re a summer classic that’s also right on-trend.
Casual, comfortable footwear is a must when it comes to cookout attire. If you’re the sneaker type, lace up some white canvas low-tops with lightweight ankle socks. Or slip into boat shoes or loafers for comfort and business-casual style that’s also cookout-worthy. Women’s sandals are another always-stylish summer shoe. There are plenty of sandal styles to choose from, including flat-soled walking sandals and heeled wedge sandals. Either style complements midi and maxi dresses, skirts, shorts, and capri pants with any summer top you choose.
For a cookout at the park, keep accessories minimal and light. Functional pieces—such as a sun hat and sunglasses—can tie your outfit together and protect against UV rays. Your bag can also be a useful accessory; choose a handbag in a summer color or natural fiber for a breezy look. Or opt for a cotton canvas tote, which is versatile enough for almost any casual summer event and large enough for all your warm-weather essentials—such as beach towels, sunblock, and even a change of clothes.
Show up prepared to the cookout with a tote or oversized handbag filled with essentials. Cards, cash, and keys are a must, along with sunscreen and a compact mirror. Even if there are drinks provided at the cookout, it can’t hurt to tuck a filled water bottle in your bag, either. If you’re attending a cookout, it’s good etiquette to bring the host a small gift. You might also want to bring a side dish or dessert to contribute to the cookout spread.
There aren’t any fashion rules to follow when it comes to dressing for a cookout at the park, so choose what makes you feel best. Try on different outfits to find your favorite casual summer outfits.