Get Styled

What to Wear to a Backyard Party According to Fashion Stylists

Post by Analise Rahn

With the warmer weather coaxing us outside, hosting or attending a backyard party quickly becomes a highlight of the season. But you might be wondering what to wear to a backyard party? Luckily for you, myself and the other personal stylists at Wantable are offering up some choice tips to keep you serving sass along with lemonade at your next backyard party this summer.

Ah, the great outdoors! There’s something truly magical about bringing friends and family together in a cozy backyard setting. April showers are bringing May flowers and gardens are beginning to bloom into the perfect spot for a backyard party. Now that we’re finally stepping outside a bit more often and can dress without ten sweaters and a puffer jacket, it’s time to bust out cute styles to suit the occasion. Whether it’s a casual get-together or a more formal gathering, finding the right outfit is key. You want to look effortlessly stylish, yet remain comfortable enough to mingle and move freely. Let’s explore outfit ideas that keep you looking fresh and chic at any backyard bash from day to night. Keep reading to learn what to wear to a backyard party this summer!

Brunette lounging on a pool chair during a backyard party wearing statement earrings, a floral blouse, and shorts.

Types of Backyard Parties

From graduation celebrations to bridal showers and brunches, afternoon backyard parties often lean toward a slightly dressier dress code. But let’s face it, who can resist a fun, flirty top or a cute sundress once spring and summer arrive? Even if there is no specific event and it’s simply a great gathering of friends, it’s still the perfect excuse to dress up. These occasions are perfect for adding a touch of flair with accessories—think statement sunglasses, a bold pair of earrings or a vibrant handbag.

Nighttime backyard parties can be totally different from the lovely afternoon soirees. I’ll be honest with you, most of my backyard parties consist of a roaring fire pit, tasty ciders, s’mores, camp chairs, flannels and blankets to snuggle up in. Oh, and a great cheeseburger hot off the grill. For these parties, comfort is paramount. The key here is layering; think relaxed jeans paired with a breathable tank or tee you can easily toss a hoodie or cardigan over once the sun sets.

Smiling brunette wearing sunglasses, a floral blouse, and light wash wide leg jeans sitting outside at a picnic table, toasting at a backyard party.
Laughing brunette sitting on patio furniture outside at a backyard bonfire party wearing a beanie, black jacket, and jeans.

What to Wear to a Backyard Party (Depending on the Vibes!)

Relaxed Fits for the Effortlessly Cool Guest

No matter what time of day your backyard party is, you’ll want to opt for clothing that offers freedom of movement and comfort without sacrificing style. Whether you’re chasing the kiddos around the yard, playing bags or just gossiping with your besties, you need styles that you feel comfy and confident in. Our personal stylists recommend flowy dresses, wide-leg pants and breezy midi skirts made from natural fabrics and fabric blends like cotton and linen. Keep things easy with smocked panels on dresses and elastic waistbands. Not only do these styles keep the airflow going, they also give you room to snack all day (and night).

Smiling brunette at a backyard party wearing sunglasses and a flowy embroidered dress.
Blonde at a backyard party wearing a floral kimono, white tank top, and wide leg linen pants.

Elevating Your Basics for the Casually Elegant Guest

Not sure what to wear to a backyard party? Take your basic pieces and spin them into party-ready outfits with a few simple upgrades. We already know jeans and jean shorts are a must in everyone’s wardrobe, but are they right for a backyard party? Try a light wash pair or even a pair of white denim to bring that lighthearted feeling to your looks! Then transform them further with a top that features unique details like a pintucking, embroidery or lace. 

Not a blouse kinda gal? Me, either. If you want to elevate your favorite tee or tank look, try a pair of trouser shorts. This tailored short style gives you that “effortless” vibe while keeping you looking and feeling put-together. You could even try out a fun print to keep things unexpected. If you want to stick with your tried-and-true bottoms, but still want the comfort of a classic tee, try a top made of that good old t-shirt jersey knit that also has a cute detail. This could be a subtle ruffle, puff sleeve or an off-the-shoulder cut so you’re still getting the comfy t-shirt feel but in an elevated style.

Blonde sitting outside at a backyard party in a striped cardigan, white tank top, and orange trouser shorts.

Loving Your Layers for the Prepared Guest

We all know that weather is unpredictable, but the party must go on! Any prepared backyard partygoer should bring a light jacket or a soft cardigan. These can be perfect for providing warmth when a breeze picks up without compromising on style. You probably have the perfect layer in your closet already! Think neutral or denim so it will go with anything (we’ve all had those last-minute outfit swaps).

When the temperature dips and the bonfire is lit, a heavier layer like a shacket or hoodie becomes essential. These pieces keep you warm and are easy to remove if you find yourself getting a little too toasty or dancing late into the night. My personal fave? A plaid shacket! It speaks to the camp vibes while staying both on-trend and cozy.

Close up of layering for a backyard party with a floral blouse and cardigan.
Close up of layering for a backyard party with a tank top and plaid shirt.

Palatable Choices for the Creative Guest

Light colors and pastels shine during the day, reflecting the sun’s rays and keeping you cooler. They also stand out beautifully against a natural backdrop, making for great photos in the backyard. Like things a little busier? Thematic patterns like florals for a garden party or gingham for a picnic add a playful touch to your ensemble and really help you get into the spirit of the party.

Although it’s admittedly a bit more difficult to see your cute fit during nighttime backyard parties, that doesn’t mean you should give up! Choose a fun graphic to add personality and turn heads. A bold phrase will pop in the evening light and can be the perfect conversation starter. You can also pick up on the summer camp vibes and grab your favorite plaid or tie-dye shirt. Who’s got the acoustic guitar?

Blonde walking along a pool's edge at a backyard party wearing sunglasses, a graphic t-shirt, and light wash wide leg jeans.

FAQ: How Should I Dress for a Backyard Party?

What are the most common types of backyard parties?

Although backyard parties can just be for fun, no occasion required, many backyard parties in the spring and summer tend to be for wedding showers, graduations, baby showers, and birthdays. They often involve the host grilling finger foods or a bonfire as the party extends into the evening.

Should I dress differently during a daytime backyard party vs a nighttime backyard party?

When learning what to wear to a backyard party, keep in mind that there are no rules that say you have to dress differently depending on the time of day. However, it’s fairly typical for afternoon parties to be a bit dressier. Think floral blouse with cutoff shorts, a cute sundress, or sleek trouser shorts with a graphic tee. Once night rolls around, you’ll want a good layer to combat the chill, so be sure to bring a denim jacket, cardigan, or shacket.

What types of clothes will keep me comfy and cute during a backyard party?

Choose styles that have a loose fit so you have freedom of movement and embrace any breeze the day might bring. Items with elastic waists will keep you guilt-free snacking throughout the day while keeping you looking snatched and feeling comfy.

Close up of a tropical print dress.
Close up of a bright floral printed cami.
Close up of a graphic t-shirt that says "Only Count the Happy Hours".
Close up of floral trouser shorts.

Style Meets Comfort—All in the Backyard

Choosing the right outfit for a backyard party is all about balancing style and comfort. By considering the type of party, the time of day, and your personal style, you can create outfits that not only look great but also allow you to enjoy the festivities to the fullest. Remember, the best outfit is one that lets you feel confident and carefree—ready to make the most of every moment with friends and family under the open sky.

Hopefully, next time you get that invite, you’ll know exactly what to wear to a backyard party to look and feel great. And, if you’re still not sure, there’s no shame in enlisting some help! Take your style quiz today and get matched with your own personal stylist to style your next backyard party, your next date night, your next vacay…and everything in between.

Pin this Post


backyard party bbq outfits bonfire floral party outfits Spring Spring Fashion style Style Edit sundresses

Show comments.


Leave a Reply