For summertime gatherings in outdoor settings, garden party attire for men is suitable and stylish for most occasions. But if you wonder what constitutes garden party attire, but you will probably be surprised to find that many of the essentials of this type of outfit are already in your closets. Basically, an appropriate garden party ensemble consists of warm weather wardrobe staples. While the time and venue will dictate exactly what you should wear, following a few simple rules will help you dress accordingly.
Garden Party Attire for Men Basics
Because most garden parties take place in warmer months, wear clothes suitable for the season. This includes materials like light cotton, silk and linen. Lighter colors, tropical prints and sometimes bold hues work well for outdoor parties. Consider these tips when choosing your outfit for your next garden soirée:
- Slacks: If your invitation specifies a particular dress code, such as cocktail or dressy casual, you should wear slacks. If casual is preferred, then shorts are fine. In either case, you want to look polished even though you’ll be spending much of your time outside. White, beige or madras print slacks and shorts, in cotton or linen, look crisp, clean and cool. If you prefer darker colors, chocolate brown and navy blue also work well, as well as black shorts paired with a light colored shirt.
- Shirt: Short sleeves keep you comfortable in the heat. A Polo top or a loose, button-up shirt are dressier than your average tee. Stick to cotton and linen to play it cool. One of the nicer aspects of linen is that although it wrinkles easily, it adds to a distinct rumpled appearance that says you didn’t try too hard, even if you did.
- Shoes: Boat shoes, loafers and sandals are acceptable footwear choices. If the party you’re attending calls for dressy attire, skip the sandals and stick to closed-toe shoes. Garden parties are still typically more laid back than semi-formal functions, so lace-up oxfords are probably too dressy.
- Jacket: You may or may not need a jacket or blazer, depending on the party’s dress code. A lightweight sport coat paired with slacks looks polished yet still appropriate for an outdoor venue.
- Hat: Hats are optional, but wearing one can make for a very elegant, sophisticated ensemble. Besides giving you a dapper air, a hat also shields you from the brunt of the sun. For garden parties, choose styles made of straw, such as the Boater or Panama.
Where to Shop
Since garden party attire is mostly spring/summer clothing with a slightly dressy slant, there are a number of stores that have everything you need when putting together your look.
From high-end stores to those that specialize in discounts, you won’t have to look too hard to find an outfit that is equally stylish, affordable and comfortable.
Here are some of the best stores:
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Banana Republic
Top Designers for the Look
Garden party attire is often described as a classic American sportswear. However there are foreign designers who execute the style as well. With so many fashion designers and brands to choose from to create your look, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Luckily, there are a few designers/brands that definitely step out in the forefront when it comes to garden party style. Offering a stylish stock of sport coats, jackets, slacks, casual/dressy shirts, shorts and shoes, they successfully keep men looking simply dashing. Perhaps the best thing about these designers is that they are all available at the department stores mentioned, (with the exception of Banana Republic, which is a retail chain) making your search even easier. They are:
- Ralph Lauren: Well-known for the classic and hugely popular Polo shirts that are one of a garden party ensembles key pieces. There is also a stylish collection of Big & Tall clothing for men who are harder to fit.
- Calvin Klein offers classic American sportswear and dressy casual clothing for men, including dress shirts, slacks and jackets.
- Gucci: A supremely high-end designer brand that specializes in tailored and stylish men’s fashions. Some of their standout pieces include sport coats, shoes, shorts and suits.
- Armani: In fashion circles, nothing fits better than an Armani suit, so garden party attire from this designer is always expertly tailored. Also look for shoes, coats and ties.
- Guess: One of the standout brands for dressy casual and casual men’s attire, they offer a generous mixture of twill pants and cargo shorts, as well as knit and dress shirts.
- Christian Dior: The epitome of class and sophistication, the fashions from this designer will make any man a garden party standout. Key pieces include: dress shirts, suits, jackets and accessories like belts and ties.
- Michael Kors: Dressy casual sportswear at its finest including linen pants, twill shorts, dress shirts and Polo-inspired knit shirts.
Party in Style
You can generally expect to dress in a more laid back, relaxed style, which suits many men just fine. When in doubt about what to wear to a garden party, however, it’s usually better to err on the side of more dressy rather than less, especially if you are attending an evening affair or a special occasion, such as a wedding.
There are only a few months of the year when you can sport garden party attire, so make the most of any spring or summer invitations you receive by looking impossibly stylish and debonair.