What To Wear To A Summer Party


Don’t sweat the dress code with our guide to looking the part at your next summer party

Now that summer has well and truly arrived, it’s time to turn your attention towards all those invitations filling up your social calendar. Knowing how to dress – and dress well – can prove difficult when you also factor in the likelihood of uncomfortable humidity and ambiguous dress codes. It’s as easy to get summer clothes right as it is to get them wrong, and shorts and T-shirts rarely cut the mustard for anything other than a two-week break in some Spanish spot saturated with tourists and families scrambling for sunbeds at the beach.

From the refined dress code of the office summer party to the relaxed vibe of a friend’s barbecue, we enlist the aid of three menswear influencers to lead the way in summer party styling.

The Office Party

The dress code for the office summer social will be decidedly less formal than the Christmas party where a tux is usually de rigueur. A dressed-down approach to a tailored look ticks off the requirements of appearing effortlessly elegant. One part rakish, two parts debonair, pair a light-coloured blazer with dark trousers for a well-executed contrasting polish. Mimic the minimalist style of Carl Thomspon (right) and opt for a plain white shirt, a tad unbuttoned for rakish charm. 

Alternatively, take the high-low road a la Douglas Parker (above). Embrace summer’s light, relaxed mood with a stone-coloured suit and add a touch of structure with a smart black shirt. The two tones come together to create a perfect equilibrium while the tactile attraction of linen exudes a certain nonchalant composure for a look that will be the talk of the office during the informal roundup in the kitchen the following day – for all the right reasons, of course.

The Cocktail Party

Once a social soiree exclusive to the wealthy elite of the Twenties and Thirties, the cocktail party has experienced several changes since then, but its original purpose as a chance to dress up and show off remains intact. Cocktail attire, much like the term “smart-casual”, is ambiguous, but for summertime it’s best to leave the smoking jacket tucked away in the wardrobe. Take a leaf out of Nathaniel James’ book and best embody that smart-casual vibe by combining one smart garment and a casual one. For a more elevated take on casual, however, consider a knitted polo, which will beautifully complement smart trousers. Finish it off with a pair of shades and get sippin’.

The Summer Barbecue

What would summer be without the endless barbecue invitations that make their way to your inbox at the start of the season? The most laid-back of occasions, a barbecue is a chance to dress fun rather than adhering to a strict dress code. We recommend you take inspiration from Eric Wertz and embrace the unashamedly amusing charm of a printed shirt, particularly a loud one, and dress it up ever so slightly with smart trousers or chinos. The half-tuck slouch of the shirt as per Wertz’ styling directive is another thing to take note of while the sneakers add cool as well as comfort.