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How to Dress, Act and Socialise at Your Next Summer Garden Party

In the heat of summer, nothing is better than getting outside and spending some time in the sun. This is the time for boating, for swimming and for lavish garden parties. Whether you’re doing the inviting or are an invitee to a garden party this summer, make sure you’re ready for it. Dress to impress and show off your knowledge of proper etiquette after reading these tips.


Dressing for a Garden Party

Men often wonder what garden party attire actually looks like when they get these types of invitations. Luckily, many of the staples you need are in your wardrobe or just a click away. Because of the time of year, warm weather clothing is needed for this type of event. This includes attire made from light and breathable fabrics like linen, cotton and silk. The colours and prints you choose depend greatly on the time the garden party will take place and the venue. Here are just a few tips on choosing an outfit that will help you stand out and look your best for your next garden party.


  • Trousers- Sometimes garden party invitations dictate the particular dress code you need to adhere to. If the invitation states you should wear dressy casual or cocktail attire, always choose suit trousers in darker colours like navy blue or brown. When casual attire is recommended, consider chinos in white, beige or stone colours. These light colours are often more appropriate for mid-day garden parties when the sun is high and the temperature is hot. When choosing chinos, consider the construction for the best fit and comfort. A stretch cotton is light and airy and gives you plenty of legroom.


  • Shirts- For most garden parties, you can choose either a polo top or a button-up. Short sleeves keep you cooler, but are much more casual. A long sleeve in the right fabric, such as linen or cotton, can keep you just as cool but give you a dressier appearance. For cooler summer days or rainy weather, pair the shirt with a pull-over v-neck. Be as adventurous as you want with the colour; Brook Taverner’s Amesbury raspberry cotton v-neck adds a splash of colour to an otherwise neutral ensemble.


  • Jackets- A polished, complete look requires a jacket. Choose a tweed jacket, blazer or sport coat that works well with the rest of your attire. Men’s tweed jackets add a dressy, yet casual look to your ensemble, while blazers and sport coats are a better option for a more formal dress code. One of the best things about wearing these jackets is that you can take them off if it becomes too hot outside. If the heat is unbearable, but you want to wear a jacket, skip the tweed and choose a casual cotton jacket like Brook Taverner’s Euston ocean-coloured semi-structured jacket.


  • Shoes- Loafers and boat shoes are acceptable options for both casual and more formal events. Skip the laced-up oxfords for a garden party, even when the function is semi-formal. While other men may be wearing sandals, don’t fall into this trap. Even at the most casual garden parties, sandals will seem out of place. Instead, choose a closed-toe option like the Portland brown suede loafers from Brook Taverner.


  • Details- The devil’s in the details and so is the success of your ensemble. For a polished look, consider the faux crocodile skin Spanish leather belt from Brook Taverner. It will make your outfit pop.


Garden Party Etiquette

Are you considering throwing a garden party for your mates, neighbours or family? There are a few simple rules that not only ensure the right etiquette, but also ensure the event turns out as planned.


  • Plan for Rain- British showers are a common thing and must be planned for. While you can’t always predict when the rains will come, you can prepare for them and have a way to escape them. A gazebo or a tent are excellent ways to get your guests in out of the rain while still providing an easy place to relax and enjoy the party. And if it does rain, these provide relief from the sun.


  • Keep the Conversation Going- Make an effort to mingle with your guests and be ready with topics of interest that can keep the conversation going. However, don’t interrupt the flow if it’s already going. Let your guests have fun and don’t interrupt one conversation simply to introduce a new topic.


  • Take Care of Your Guests First- If you’re the one having the garden party, always make sure you take care of others before you take care of yourself. That’s not to say you shouldn’t sit down and enjoy the party. However, if your guests don’t have a cup of tea in their hand- and they want one- you shouldn’t be sipping yours.


  • Plan Ahead- You’re not going to be of any use to your guests if you’re rushing about on the day of the garden party trying to get everything in order. Plan ahead as much as possible. Set up the day before if you can, bake as many of the food items beforehand and be dressed and ready on time.


  • Set an Example- If you indicated the dress code on the invitation (and you should have to make things as easy as possible for your guests,) be sure you stick to that dress code yourself. There will no doubt be a few mates who call and ask what you’re wearing. They’ll use this information to gauge the attire they’ve chosen and determine if it fits.


Make the Most of Your Next Garden Party

Want to look your best at your next garden party? While these events are much too casual for men’s suits, the right attire is important. Choose light and fun shirts, chinos, jackets and accessories depending on the specific dress code provided on the invitation. If you’re planning on throwing a garden party yourself, make sure you’re ready for anything, including rain, and mind your manners. With these tips you’ll be the hit of the event and enjoy yourself immensely.

By Brook Taverner 11 July 2016