What to Wear to an Evening Barbecue on the Beach

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In the summer, outdoor gatherings and parties such as barbecues can quickly fill up your social calendar -- and it's usually easy to throw on a sundress and look stylish and appropriate for the event. But when you're headed to an evening barbecue on the beach, style can be at war with practicality. While you still want to look your best, the cool ocean breeze usually means you need a coverup. With a few simple tweaks to your usual outfit, though, you can look as chic as ever and manage to ward off the chill.

Opt for Cropped

Even summer nights can get chilly on the beach, so you probably want to skip shorts for the evening barbecue. Instead, wear cropped pants for some extra coverage. A pair of simple khaki capris are a versatile neutral option that will work with virtually any top in your closet. A pair of patterned cropped pants in plaid, polka dot or floral print also give you a fun look for a beach gathering. Choose boyfriend jeans with the cuffs rolled up for a relaxed, casual look.

Maximize Your Style

If you want a flirty look for your evening barbecue, a dress or skirt works better than pants. But to ward off the chill, wear a long, floor-sweeping maxi style so your legs stay warm when the ocean breezes kick up. Try a maxi dress in a bold summer color like coral or aqua to liven up your look. For separates, wear a tank top and short-sleeved sweater with a maxi skirt in a fun striped pattern or tie-dyed design.

Get Layered

Because you never know how chilly it’s going to get on a beach at night, dressing in layers for your barbecue is the best bet. You can always add -- or remove -- a layer depending on the temperature. Start with your favorite summer top -- a tank top, camisole, tube top or a basic V-neck T-shirt. Top it with a button-down shirt you can wear open. Chambray, denim, linen and sheer styles all work well for a summer barbecue. If you expect it to be particularly cool at the beach, carry a hoodie, denim jacket or boyfriend cardigan to really keep you warm.

Remember Accessories

Even at an evening beach barbecue, your accessories can make or break your outfit. Start with your shoes -- they should be cute but practical because you’ll be trekking through the sand. Heels and wedges are too difficult to walk in, so opt for flip-flops, tennis shoes or gladiator sandals instead. The wind can wreak havoc on your hair, so bring a straw fedora or a bandana to help your locks stay under control. A lightweight summer scarf in bright color or bold pattern can help keep you warm and spice up the look of your outfit after the sun goes down.