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How to dress to impress for that summer garden party

Let’s be clear, there are summer garden parties and there are summer garden parties; they range from a few beers in Dave’s backyard, where the bins and his motorbike take up most of the room, to an invite from H.M.

Somewhere between those extremes lie classy parties in big country gardens, where waiters carry trays of canapés, and urban outdoor events where the music is loud, and bodies are in close proximity. The point is, as always, understand the context.

What works here will almost certainly not work there but whatever the scale, location or level of sophistication, garden parties are an opportunity to celebrate our brief British summer with little sartorial joie de vivre.

Floral print

If you can’t wear floral print at a summer garden party, when can you? Floral print garments range from small, subtle designs in muted colours to giant, migraine inducing, hibiscus flowers in rainbow colours. How loud you want to go comes back to context again and of course, your personality. Button up short sleeve shirts are the obvious way to wear floral, nothing too fitted, nothing too loose, or you could go for floral print shorts, jeans or trainers. Whatever you choose, one floral item is almost certainly enough.

White jeans/trousers

Steve McQueen wore them in ‘The Great Escape’ and if he was able to keep them clean in that dirty prison of war camp, then you should be able to avoid dripping the barbeque sauce. All clothing only looks good if it fits properly and this is especially true of skinny white jeans, if your calves and thighs are well developed, take care with that skinny fit, lest you look like you’re auditioning for the part of Jeremy Fisher.


Attractive trendy man posing next to his bicycle. He is holding his bicycle. Man is wearing denim, cap and glasses. He is looking away. Street at the background.

Time was when no man would have left the house without a hat on his head. We don’t all do that anymore but wearing a hat makes a lot of sense when the sun is out. Something with a brim means that you can remove the sunglasses and still talk to her or him without squinting. Panamas and straw fedoras are classic summertime headwear but if you want something a little more on trend, go for a boho bucket hat. If baseball caps (Zanouchi offer a great range) are your thing, then that’s fine, they were after all designed to keep the sun out of your eyes, just don’t wear them back to front, ever.


Young and handsome man with sunglasses looking. Warm summer lights, he wears a white shirt. Light short beard. Fashionable hair.

You love wearing your sunglasses because they look so cool, well here’s the perfect opportunity to revel in them. Call me old fashioned but I still think it’s important to take them off when you’re talking to people. You don’t have to put them away though, hang them on your top pocket and they’ll still get noticed. Because they do, get noticed, don’t embarrass yourself. Get a quality pair. Companies like Ray-Ban allow you toplay around with the style before purchasing, by changing colours and lenses, so that not only have you got a timeless classic, you’ve also got a pair that are unique to you.


White leather sneakers on blue and yellow background. Pair of fashion trendy white sport shoes or sneakers with copy space for text on colorful background. Overhead shot of new white sneakers.Flat lay

Retro trainers are back. Did they ever go away? They don’t come much more retro than a pair of Vans Authentic from 66 or checkerboard slip ons, the skater’s favourite.