Garden Party Attire for Men Made Easy

We've got you covered with all the tips for a garden party outfit that's cool, confident, and comfortable.

Published May 16, 2024
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friends with fresh lemonade and eating fruits in the garden

When it comes to summertime gatherings in outdoor settings, it's not always easy to know what to wear if you identify as a guy. Garden party attire for men can range from simple slacks and a nice shirt to a full suit in a summer fabric. We have tips to help you choose pieces that are suitable and stylish for most occasions.

As far as what constitutes garden party attire, there's actually kind of a big range of options. You'll probably be surprised to find that many of the essentials of this type of outfit are already in your closet. Basically, an appropriate garden party ensemble is made up of warm-weather wardrobe staples. While the time and venue will dictate exactly what you should wear (boat shoes are perfect for a casual daytime party but not so great for a formal evening wedding), following a few simple rules will help you dress like a fashion pro.

Garden Party Attire for Men: Everything You Need Demystified

If you've been invited to an event that requires garden party attire, don't stress. It's actually a pretty simple dress code to follow.

Need to Know

What is garden party attire? It's basically anything that has a summer feel but still meets the formality level of the event. Think summer fabrics and lighter colors for staples like slacks, jackets, and shirts.

Because most garden parties take place in warmer months, it's all about wearing clothes suitable for the season. This includes materials like light cotton, silk, and linen.

Summer Slacks

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, but you'll want to keep the fabric lightweight.

Quick Tip

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.

We love Tommy Hilfiger Comfort Stretch chinos for their classic, comfortable fit. Plus, you can dress them up or down, depending on the type of event you're attending.

Lightweight Shirt

two men in their forties prepares a barbecue for friends

You already know that short sleeves keep you comfortable in the heat, and they're totally appropriate for a garden party look (though long sleeves are just fine too). A polo or a loose, button-down shirt is dressier than your average tee. Stick to cotton and linen to play it cool.

The Perry Ellis roll-sleeve linen button-down is basically perfect because you can roll the sleeves for warm weather or keep them down if you like that better. 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).

Related: What Colors to Wear to a Wedding (& the Ones to Avoid at All Costs)

Warm-Weather Shoes

Boat shoes, loafers, and sandals are acceptable footwear choices, so take your pick, depending on your event. 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.

You can't go wrong with Sperry 2-Eye boat shoes, which come in tons of colors to go with any outfit. Boat shoes work with shorts or slacks, too, so they're versatile if you're not exactly sure what you want to wear yet.

Light Summer Jacket

Light Summer 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, and it's also a good bet if you're not sure what the weather will do. The key here is a light fabric. Stay away from wool or anything super heavy and go with a twill or linen.

Any color that works with your outfit is great, but a mid-toned grey or blue can be really useful for wearing with other things. We really love the Grace Karin lightweight sportcoat in denim blue. Bonus: it's machine washable.

Optional Hat

man wearing hat at garden party

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.

You can't go wrong with a fedora, which looks amazing with any garden party outfit. The Wallaroo Hat Company Turner fedora is especially awesome because it also offers sun protection.

Quick Tip

Not sure how dressy to go? When in doubt about what to wear to a garden party, it's usually better to err on the side of more dressy rather than less. This is especially true if you are attending an evening affair or a special occasion, such as a wedding.

(Garden) Party in Style

If you're heading to an event that's requesting garden party attire, you can generally expect to dress in a laid-back, relaxed style that's lightweight and comfortable in warm weather. 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.

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Garden Party Attire for Men Made Easy