What to Wear to a Backyard BBQ

Summer is here and that means backyard barbecues and fun in the sun! When you receive an invite to a casual backyard bash, the first question that comes to mind is often “What should I wear?” You want an outfit that’s comfortable and appropriate, but still cute and put-together.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through how to dress for a backyard barbecue. We’ll cover key factors like weather, comfort, footwear, accessories, and more. You’ll get outfit ideas and tips to help you feel confident and look stylish without overthinking things.

Check the Weather Forecast First

The most important thing to consider when deciding what to wear to a barbecue is the weather! Check the forecast leading up to the party so you can plan an outfit accordingly.

Hot and Sunny Conditions

If sunny skies and sweltering temps are predicted, go for breathable, lightweight fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon. Flowy dresses or skirts and short sleeves are a must.

Prioritize comfort by choosing loose, non-restrictive silhouettes. Think casual sundresses, airy blouses, and wide-legged palazzo pants. Dress to stay cool by baring some skin in tank tops, short sleeves, and shorts or skirts that hit above the knee.

Make sure to protect against the sun’s rays with accessories like hats, sunglasses, and UV protection clothing. Bring sunscreen too!

Cool and Cloudy Weather

If cool breezes and cloudy skies are forecasted, go for layers you can easily take on and off. Opt for long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes with socks.

Stay cozy in light cardigans, jean or utility jackets, and scarves. T-shirts, blouses, and breathable fabrics like linen and cotton are still great choices that work for fluctuating temps. Just add an extra layer on top!

Comfort is Key for an Outdoor Party

Since backyard barbecues are laid-back outdoor affairs, comfort should be your top priority when deciding what to wear. Avoid overly formal, restrictive, or delicate items that won’t work for lounging on the lawn or playing yard games.

Choose easy-breezy fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon that feel nice against the skin and allow air flow. Look for loose, non-binding silhouettes and fabrics with some stretch.

Consider items like flowy sundresses or skirts, wide-legged pants, and soft knit tops. Pay attention to the fit and cut. Make sure nothing is too tight or constricting.

You’ll likely be on your feet for extended time, so shoes should offer ample support. Opt for cushy footbeds, low heels, and straps that won’t chafe. Having extra shoes on hand isn’t a bad idea in case of changes in weather or activities.

Casual Bottoms Offer Versatility

Finding the right bottoms is key to pulling off a stylish yet relaxed barbecue look. You want versatility to handle sitting, standing, eating, and playing games comfortably.

Denim Cutoffs

Denim shorts are a summer staple for backyard bashes. Distressed cutoffs and frayed bottoms embody that casual vibe. Go for a longer inseam if you want more coverage.

Cuff the leg for a trendy laid-back look. Pair denim cutoffs with almost anything like tanks, tees, blouses, or halter tops. Sneakers or sandals complete the outfit.

Flowy Skirts and Sundresses

Nothing says summer quite like sundresses and flowy skirts. Choose breezy fabrics like cotton, rayon, or linen that won’t cling.

Floral prints, vibrant solids, and boho-chic details fit right in at barbecues. Show some leg in a mini or midi length. Maxi skirts work too, just avoid tripping hazards.

Comfy Pants

For a more tailored look, go for casual pants in soft fabrics. Linen and cotton khakis pair perfectly with sleeveless blouses or breton striped tees.

Palazzo pants are light and airy with a wide-legged silhouette made for lounging. Roll up the cuffs if it’s super hot. Add some polish with wedges or block-heel sandals.

Top Off Your Look

Picking the right top sets the tone for your whole barbecue outfit. Look for casual fabrics that breathe well and silhouettes that flatter your figure.


Nothing beats a classic tee. Crew neck, v-neck, cap sleeves, graphic prints – anything goes!

Pair t-shirts with denim cutoffs, casual shorts, or skirts. Dress them up a bit with layered necklaces and wedge sandals.

Tanks and Halter Tops

When temps really soar, tanks and halter tops keep you cool and comfortable. Look for breathable fabrics like cotton in fun prints and colors.

Whether you choose slim or loose fit, pair with high-waisted bottoms like denim shorts, skirts, and palazzos. Show off some shoulder in halter styles with breezy linen pants or denim.

Lightweight Button-Downs

For a slightly more polished look, opt for an airy chambray or linen button-down shirt. Tie it at the waist or leave it loose over tanks, camis, or swimsuits.

Roll up sleeves for a laid-back vibe. Pop some collar and pair it with casual shorts, sneakers, and accessorize with sunglasses.

Rompers and Jumpsuits

Rompers and jumpsuits offer easy one-piece outfit coordination. Look for sleeveless styles with wide legs or flirty skorts.

Cotton, rayon, and linen offer breathability. Add wedges or sandals and a sun hat for an effortlessly cute barbecue look.

Pick Flexible Footwear

Choose flexible shoes based on expected ground surface, planned activities, and weather.

Flip Flops and Sandals

For pool parties or grassy yards, pack flip flops or flat sandals. Slip-on styles allow easy on and off.

Sturdy footbeds and straps prevent chafing when worn for hours. Throw in a pedicure for extra summer fun!


Sneakers work for all types of backyard parties and activities. Wear classic high tops or minimalist slip-ons.

If surfaces are uneven or you plan to play yard games and run around, opt for a more sporty pair with reliable traction and support.

Wedges or Block Heels

Dress up maxi skirts, palazzo pants, and dresses a bit with wedges or low block heels. They’re way comfier than stilettos!

Look for a secured ankle strap and roomy toe box. You’ll stay steady on feet and look stylish.

Accessorize for Cohesion and Comfort

Accessories top off your barbecue outfit and keep you comfy as conditions change.


A baseball cap or wide-brim sun hat shields eyes from glare. Choose breathable natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Stir up some style with prints and colors!


Slip on some shades to add an instant cool factor while also protecting eyes. Go classic wayfarer for an easy look. Or make a statement with bold retro cat-eye frames and bright colors.

Scarves and Shawls

Pack a lightweight scarf or shawl to throw on as temps cool off. Use it as a hair tie, neckerchief, skirt/dress cover up or even picnic blanket in a pinch!


Dress up summer outfits with fun jewelry like bracelets, dangly earrings, and layered necklaces. Just avoid heavy or restrictive pieces.

Relax and Have Fun!

The main goal at a backyard barbecue is to relax and enjoy time with friends in the summer sun. So don’t stress or overthink your outfit choice. The key is feeling comfy and confident.

Follow the tips above to choose breathable, non-restrictive items that work for lounging on the lawn and playing games. Check the weather and dress accordingly. And throw on some versatile accessories to polish off your laid-back look.

Now you’re ready to head to the party with an outfit that balances comfort, style, and fun. Soak up the sun and savor the warm weather because backyard barbecue season is fleeting. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any other questions on what to wear to a barbecue.

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