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What She Wears: BBQs & Garden Parties

June 7, 2011

Daily Digest, Social Pics

What She Wears: BBQs & Garden Parties

Pictured: US first lady Michelle Obama (L) wears a Tracy Reese dress while Samantha Cameron wears Jonathan Saunders while serving food to members of the military during a barbecue in the garden of 10 Downing Street on May 25, 2011.

Barbecue season is officially here. The sunshine brings good cheer and with it, yearnings all ‘round for al fresco dining.

Recently I was invited to the Marks & Spencer’s summer BBQ, in a courtyard in Ely Place in Dublin. Then there’ss an opportunity to go to Taste of Dublin where the dress code is “summer garden party”.  So it got me thinking as to what to wear to a summer BBQ or garden party.

What to wear to a summer BBQ

My initial feeling is to steer well clear of stiletto heels (so as not to sink in the grass, you see).  I had already made this faux pas at a wedding where my beautiful Ash heels sunk deeply into the ground as it was a case of “starve or die” during that hungry interlude on the grass between the ceremony and reception.

I needn’t have worried this time around though, as the garden was neatly decked out in an astro turf type “grass” carpet, allowing for all sorts of fancy footwear to walk over, even my “BBQ proof” five inch wedges.

Not all BBQ’s are like this though and most summer invites will most likely be in a backyard, a back garden, a park or a roof terrace. So here are some suggestions for an afternoon filled with sauce and sun.

Keep it simple

All in all, a BBQ is a casual affair, so think, lightweight, airy pieces and don’t pile on the accessories, apart from sunglasses which are an obvious choice.

Stay away from clothes that will give you bizarre tan lines (yes the sun might be out, so have some SPF at hand) – so avoid anything “cut out” or with complicated straps –  the potential for tan lines with these is high.


If there’s a fashion element thrown in (such as the Best Dressed Lady at Taste of Dublin), you can stand out with accessories. Raffia is a great material for summer garden parties – bags, shoes and hats (floppy or trilby) are all winners.

If all else fails, sunglasses can be your stand out accessory. Sunglasses style’s can be updated cheaply each year – so you can update a plain outfit in one swoop.

A cotton dress

A cotton dress is casual enough not to look overdressed. Go for a mini dress if you have the legs or maxi dress if you have the height.

Bring along a cardi or denim jacket with you, in case it gets chilly after those sundowners. The last thing you want is to be asking for one of the host’s hoodies, thus covering up all the effort that you went to earlier!

Shorts and a top

An alternative to a dress is a pair of shorts and a top. Cut off jeans are a great choice for a BBQ, worn with a sheer top or blouse.


Save your killer heels and statement shoes for a night out. Now is the ideal time for flat sandals which will see you through a whole afternoon, perhaps spent on foot. Metallics in silver or gold go with most things, as do skin colours and tan.

If you must wear heels, go for a casual wedge or espadrilles.


In keeping with the summer vibe, add a  boho plait which gives the perfect summery feel  to your hair or go for a straw trilby or floppy hat.

Catch more pictures of the Marks and Spencer’s Summer BBQ in the gallery below.

Otherwise, dear readers, enjoy a fine summer of chilling and grilling in style!


Images: Kieran Harnett

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Accessory Alert: Summer Hats

Hair Trend We Like: Boho Plaits

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  2. What She Wears: Fundraiser
  3. What She Wears: Carrie
  4. What She Wears: Purple
  5. What She Wears: Maxi Dress
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16 Responses to “What She Wears: BBQs & Garden Parties”

  1. Camilla Says:

    Who is Aoife Coogan wearing? It’s a very pretty dress, ideal for hols and summer evenings out!!!

  2. Annemarie Says:

    Hi Camilla, Yes it’s vey pretty indeed. It’s from Marks and Spencers Limited Collection called Paisley Frill Dress (€54) .

    It also comes in maxi length

  3. Yvonne Says:

    Claire Byrne’s dress is really pretty. Any idea where it’s from?

  4. Annemarie Says:

    Hi Yvonne, I’ll find out for you… :)

  5. Annemarie Says:

    Hi Yvonne, sorry there was a misprint from the photographer – that’s not Claire Byrne! Imagine my embarrassment when I asked her. It’s a lady called Sandra Byrne…will see can I find her dress for you

  6. Annemarie Says:

    Yvonne – Sandra’s dress is from H&M, bought 2-3 months ago.

  7. Yvonne Says:

    Thanks for that, I never would’ve guessed H&M and I do shop there. Sorry about drawing attention to Ms. Byrne though :-~

  8. Annemarie Says:

    Not your fault, it’s how it was printed. and I didnt question it ‘cos it looked like her too!! :)

  9. ato mens shoes Says:

    love it! visit my blog!

  10. Maeve Says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering if anyone knows where Hayley Rock’s dress is from? It’s gorge!! : )

  11. Annemarie Says:

    HI Maeve, Hayley Rock’s dress is from Coco boutique. They are hand painted and come in 3 or 4 styles.

  12. lorna Says:

    Hi, do you kinow where Aoife Coogan got her dress for Leo Cullens wedding?


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