How to dress for a garden party

Unlike a barbecue, garden parties tend to be more sophisticated and formal. Knowing what to wear to a garden party can be confusing, particularly with the unpredictable weather in the UK. If you are hosting a garden party, eliminate the guesswork of your guests by including a dress code on the invitation. If you are trying to decide on what to wear, there are a few simple steps to help you look stylish.

Read the invitation. Check if there is a dress code included. If it says formal, men should wear a suit and tie. Ladies will be expected to wear smart clothing similar to what you would choose to wear to a wedding reception or to the races. A tea dress is often a popular choice. If it says informal or smart/casual, choose a more relaxed look such as a maxi-dress or trousers and a smart top.

Call your host if there is no dress code on the invitation. Ask what they would deem appropriate attire.

Choose footwear suitable for outside. It is likely that you will be walking or standing on grass or uneven surfaces. Ladies should choose flat shoes or wedges. Avoid a stiletto or kitten heel.

Consider the weather. It may be sunny during the day but temperatures will drop in the evening. Take a cardigan, light jacket or pashmina to avoid feeling cold.

Remember that you are in the UK. Take an umbrella with you just in case there's a downpour.


Ensure your outfit is comfortable and you can move easily in it.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden party invitation
  • Formal or informal clothing
  • Shoes suitable for grass and uneven surfaces
  • Light cardigan, jacket or pashmina
  • Umbrella
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jules Halliday is a writer, coach and public speaker with more than 20 years experience of recruitment, training and management in a variety of sectors. Passionate about career and personal development, Halliday is director of TMS Coaching Ltd and founder of All UK Jobsites.