How to Dress for a Summer Barbecue

by Barbie Carpenter

Barbecue with friends in relaxed summer fashions.

Kane Skennar/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Barbecues are a staple of summer, so having a go-to summer barbecue look makes your fashion decisions much easier. No matter your style, both men and women have a variety of clothing options for these occasions, though comfort -- maximized by the right fabrics and footwear -- is key. You'll step into every summer barbecue with confidence when you're dressed with the season and event in mind.

Attire Considerations

Before you create a practical and fashionable summer barbecue outfit, consider a few important details. First, think of your role at the barbecue. If you'll be serving as the grillmaster, you'll want to wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Choose fabrics that wash well, such as cotton. Also keep the setup of the barbecue in mind. Will there be ample seating, or will you be standing and moving around? Comfortable shoes, such as tennis shoes, flip-flops or canvas shoes, are smart choices.

Looks for Men

Go for a relaxed, casual look when dressing for a barbecue. Choose shirts in lightweight, breathable fabrics, such as cotton or linen, that will keep you cool in the summer heat. Relaxed fit t-shirts, knit golf shirts and short-sleeved button-down shirts work well for a barbecue. Pair these shirts with comfortable bottoms such as pleated khaki shorts or cargo shorts, sticking to neutral hues such as army green or brown. Lightweight linen pants are another good choice when the temperatures aren't scorching.

Styles for Women

Women have a wide selection of style options that work well for a summer barbecue. For a chic but casual look, combine a pair of shorts of any color -- white, bright yellow, coral or green are great choices -- with a solid-colored t-shirt, tank top or patterned blouse. Lightweight cotton sundresses that hit around the knee are both comfortable and barbecue-appropriate. Look for sleeveless or strapless styles to keep cool. Maxi skirts and dresses come in bold patterns or solid summer hues, including turquoise and fuschia, and offer a slightly more sophisticated yet still feminine look.

Shoes and Accessories

Comfortable, coordinating shoes are a must at a summer barbecue. Men may choose leather sandals, flip-flops, tennis shoes or canvas shoes for casual comfort. Women might opt for flip-flops as well, or perhaps prefer dressier sandals in sparkling neutrals of silver or gold. Wedge sandals can complement skirts and dresses -- though it's best to avoid high wedges so you can focus on the occasion, instead of feeling self-conscious with your every step. Laced, low-top tennis shoes are another option for women, and pair well with shorts.

Accessories can pull your look together and add just the right finishing touch. Men might select a baseball hat to protect their eyes and face from the sun's direct rays, along with their favorite pair of sunglasses. Women might enhance a t-shirt or tank top with a colorful, chunky statement necklace or a lightweight, gauzy scarf in a bright floral pattern.

Photo Credits

  • Kane Skennar/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.