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Anya Meyerowitz

Guest Luxury Lifestyle & Travel Writer

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What to Wear to a Garden Party

The sun is shining, the evenings are balmy and the summer stretches out before us, beckoning fun and frolicking under candyfloss clouds and blue skies. And one of the season’s great joys? The garden party. Whether it’s a picnic as part of a larger affair or a friend’s alfresco soiree, the once-humble outdoor gathering has become much more than a drink or two outside. Now our friends’ gardens - or indeed our own - feature trees strung together by hanging lanterns, chic summer tableware and seasonal cocktails laden with fruit, and so our choice of outfit needs to reflect this elevated event.

Whether you've got a large expanse of lawn, a small oasis or a compact courtyard, an easy summer wardrobe is a must to have to hand for whenever the opportunity for drinks under the waning sun arrives. Of course, the casual dress is an eternal sartorial win, but linen co-ords are equally as stylish and a playsuit - the baby sister of the jumpsuit and tomboy cousin of your mini dress - brings a playful vibe to any look, plus layers incase the gathering escalates into the twilight hours need always be a consideration.

From throwback necklines to flattering textures, we’ve compiled a summer wishlist that feels both of the moment and for the future. Joie de vivre and bon été, bonne mode.

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Floral dresses

A floral dress is an obvious though a classic choice for a garden party and for good reason. Not only does it tie into the biophilic surrounds but it can easily be dressed up with a pair of rattan wedges (or pointed heels if you’re a heel-to-grass pro) for a smarter affair, or toned down with a pair of white trainers and an oversized sun hat. Plus, you can go minimal on accessories because the petal-inspired print will speak for itself. Add a denim jacket or cardigan as the night draws in, And best of all, a floral dress will work just hard as you do, because the versatile ditsy design does not need to be reserved solely for summer soirees, they can suit all weathers when paired with tights and layers, as well as all occasions - whether you are heading to the beach, the boardroom or the bar.

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Casual Garden Party Outfit Ideas

Perhaps your garden soirée is less about sipping champagne, and more about playing lawn games or grilling on a barbecue. Casual garden outfits are true summer all-rounders, perfect for long walks, coffee catch ups, and, of course, sauntering around a garden in the sunshine. From relaxed fit, slouchy dresses, ideal for a minimal effort outfit that appears high effort, to a classic top and shorts combination for when the sun has its hat on, to a pair of wide leg trousers to block out the breeze while you lounge al fresco, casual garden party outfits will be reached for all summer long.

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Linen Summer Outfits

Linen is the fabric of the summer. Ultra breathable, absorbent, and lightweight, linen is perfect for long days in the sunshine. Our linen pieces come in all shapes and sizes, from shorts to crop tops, to dresses and jumpsuits. A summer wardrobe game-changer, linen outfits are going to be everywhere in high summer, so whether attending a formal event or a casual gathering, consider linen for your look.

Read our linen outfits breakdown here.
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Pastel Hues

Exchanging blacks and greys for pastel clothing is an annual ritual across the world as the climes begin to, well, climb. It’s the symbolic cleansing after a dark winter, telling yourself and the world that you’ve officially turned on summer mode, and it’s sure to help shine at your next garden party. One of the great appeals of pastel clothing is that it can provide a colorful lift to your outfits without dominating the look. We’re all for bold colours, but a lot of the time they overtake the more subtle aspects of your carefully curated wardrobe like detailing or proportions. Pastel clothing allows the other aspects of your outfit to breathe which makes it versatile and easy to style with a range of colours, plus it means that you can go bold on jewellery and give your real statement pieces a whirl.

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Timeless Neutrals

Again, if bold colours aren’t necessarily your thing or you prefer a more tonal, eternal sartorial style, timeless neutrals will steer you in the right direction summer-after-summer. When we say neutral, we’re talking about calm, basic shades that can create everyday outfits to extravagant night-out apparel. Minimalists, this is your safe haven: breezy button-downs, flowy blouses, and sandals in summer neutrals. Think creamy white, light taupe, and sky blue to create effortless, airy outfits. All you need to do is switch up the shoes and the accessories and you’ve got a fresh look ready whatever the summer throws at you.

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Playsuits

Regardless of body shape or age, a playsuit can really enhance your wardrobe, and secure your sartorial crown. In terms of cool factor, versatility and dressing ease, the playsuit reigns supreme and is an easy swap for anyone who favours the humble yet comfy jumpsuit during the colder months. This lighter, often looser, iteration comes in a wide range of prints, silhouettes and finishes. Add a belt to switch up the look a little or add a pop of colour (or an on-trend metallic glint). Go for a utility-style playsuit if you prefer a more androgynous style or, if you prefer a softer style, prioritise smocked detailing and trapeze fits.

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Lightweight Layers

Layers are your friend at a summer party, particularly if you plan on sitting it out for the long haul, and, let’s face it, the British summer can be temperamental, so having something to throw on, or take off, is no bad idea. The consideration is thus:

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    Will your lightweight layers fit into your bag so that you don’t have to traipse around with it hanging off your arm all day?

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    Does it add to your outfit rather than simply cover it up?

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    Is it airy enough that you’re not going to spend the day having to shuffle in and out of it as you overheat?

    When the weather is sultry, every layer should be made of fabrics that breathe and move. Think linen, cotton, jersey, silk, chambray, chiffon, seersucker, and georgette, all of which minimise the heat on scorching days but will also shield you from shivers as the temperatures cool down. Think denim which is perfect for keeping out a light summer breeze, or a cardigan that can easily be folded away.

Shop Layering Browse our full range of garden party outfits here.