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Best outfits to wear when hosting a backyard BBQ

Summer barbecues are casual affairs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look your best while manning the grill. Here’s how to keep cool and look effortlessly chic at your next soiree.

Woman wearing a striped shirt

You’ve got everything you need to host a fabulous summer barbecue. Your burgers are legendary, your potato salad is to die for and you’ve got beers on ice. You’re done, right?



Too often, hostesses leave their outfit choice to the last minute because they’re too busy doing last-minute tasks before guests arrive.

But wiggling into cutoff jean shorts and your only tank top that’s clean would be missing the mark, says Sarah Kelsey, style editor at the Huffington Post Canada.

“Just because you’re hosting a low-key affair doesn’t mean you can let your fashion slide,” she says, adding that just a little bit of effort can make the difference between looking fashion-forward and thrown together. “Summer is the time to have fun with fashion. You can play with colour and be a little bit flirty, all while looking sartorially smart.”

Get started on the bottom

Develop a show-stopping outfit by picking out your pants first. Most women have a great pair of jeans in their closet that they look and feel great in, so they’re a great low-cost option that will go with almost any top.

If you want something new, search for this summer’s biggest trend. Solid cropped pants and striped shorts are available at Canadian retailers at all price points. Pick a style of bottom that works best for your figure, and if you’re worried that the trend will be “so over” by next summer, buy a cheap and cheerful version.

Make a statement up top

Lace and crochet are the fabrics of the season. Soft, delicate and decidedly sexy, a lace tank top will keep you right on trend and cool as you bustle around playing host. When the sun goes down, reach for a lightweight blazer to keep you warm and looking polished. Stripes and anything nautical continue to be popular during the summer months, but avoid stripes up top if you’re wearing them below. The jailbird look isn’t trendy.

Say it with your shoes

Keeping with the nautical theme, the most popular footwear this summer is boat shoes. Both men and women are rocking them, and the most popular brand is Sperry. These shoes can be worn everywhere, says Kelsey, from a barbecue to the dock to walking along the beach.

Have fun with colour

Feel like you’re back in the ‘80s when you wander through the mall and boutiques? You’re not alone. Neon has come back into style, and all the in-your-face colours, from yellow and orange to blue and green, are popping up on fashionistas in every setting, including the workplace.

“In terms of trends, colour-blocking is still hot, so when you’re out and about, don’t be afraid to wear a bright pair of pants with a neutrally toned neon top,” says Kelsey. “For example, royal blue pants paired with a neon yellow tee can look fresh, crisp and supremely sophisticated.”

More fashion advice

Tips for picking the right summer jacket
Crochet and lace fashions for summer
The season’s hottest summer dresses

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