Summer sunshine style: Our guide to garden party ideas & sophisticated attire

Although we may not be blessed with those glorious sunshine rays too often in Britain, we appreciate them even more so when they do appear in the summer months – and what better way to celebrate them than with a civilised garden party?

Basking in the sunshine while tucking into delicious food and enjoying good company all contribute to a memorable afternoon, but choosing the perfect garden party attire can be more difficult than deciding between a sweet or savoury dessert.

If you’re on the hunt for garden party ideas, worry not. We have style advice including a hand-picked selection of refined outfits that will guide you on what to wear, so you can look the part for all of the soirees in your social calendar (even when the clouds are looming overhead!).

Keep reading for fashion tips, garden party decoration ideas, tasty drink suggestions and more!

Choosing what to wear to a garden party

If you’ve been invited to an outdoor gathering, it can be tricky to know the correct etiquette when it comes to garden party attire – but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether the location is fascinator-worthy with champagne flowing or a more laid-back affair with a dress code to match, enjoy the opportunity to wear an outfit that shows both elegance and fun.

For either a formal or informal occasion, a garden party dress is sure to be a winner. Why not embody summer with a knee-length dress in a bold, floral print? This flattering silouette is a must-have in your spring/summer collection and will ooze elegance no matter if dressed up or down.


A relaxed setting definitely calls for one of these cooling linen dresses; pair with some sleek sandals and a straw hat for a timeless look. Simply switch out the sandals for a classic pair of
espadrille wedges
and complete your garden party outfit with a smart jacket and delicate watch.

Blouses are also a stylish alternative to dresses; lightweight in nature and crafted from breathable fabric, they can be easily styled into a smart casual outfit for the occasion – the perfect choice for a British summertime!

A breathable linen dress in a tropical print is a summer wardrobe staple, especially ideal for a garden party.

Experiment with bold colours and exotic prints this season, showcased on an elegant dress silhouette.

This white linen top is a quintessential choice for a relaxed event during the warmer months. Teamed with some flowy trousers in a tropical print and a pair of tasteful sunglasses, this attire will keep you feeling cool and looking stylish when dining al fresco.

If the blue skies turn overcast due to the unpredictable British climate, a knitted cardigan

A white linen blouse paired with a pair of floaty trousers will keep you cool in the warmer temperatures.

 If you’re attending a more formal gathering, a lightweight jacket with three quarter sleeves is the perfect cover up.or tailored jacket are ideal to take the chill off.


Classic garden party outfits for the modern man

A crisp shirt ticks all the boxes in terms of summer styling and practicality; experiment with check print styles and exciting colourways for polished garden party attire.


If the occasion has a casual atmosphere, style a colourful design in an unbuttoned fashion with a t-shirt in a muted tone worn underneath for a contemporary feel. Opt for a pair of chino shorts and pair with a panama hat and loafers to keep it comfortable, yet with a touch of gentlemanly class.


Trade in the t-shirt and chino shorts for a pair of smart trousers or dark-coloured chinos if the event is high-class – not forgetting to wear the shirt buttoned all the way to the top! Depending on the temperature, a classic tweed blazer will complete your outfit.

A crisp shirt in a pastel shade will complement a pair of classic chino shorts and keep your outfit polished.Try a checked, short-sleeved shirt in colours to match your colour scheme for a bold, yet casual look.

Garden party decorations for some added elegance

If you’re the host of this elegant gathering, it’s important that your garden party decorations are just as stylish as your outfit.


Start by choosing a theme or particular colour scheme that tickles your fancy; you could go as far as to coordinate any furnishings to your chosen ensemble, or even echo the colours of any surrounding flowers or plants.

Once you’ve laid out tablecloths, napkins and cushions in your desired colouration, have fun with other accessories such as outdoor lanterns and lights, giant paper pom poms and balloons; a British garden party wouldn’t be complete without some hanging bunting!

You can’t forget the sensational food and drink

Garden partywear? Check. Decorations sorted? Check.


But what about food and drink arrangements?

If you’re hosting the occasion, it might be a nice idea to ask your guests to bring a dish to ensure the food selection is varied and suited to everyone’s tastes. Requesting starters, main dishes and desserts, as well as nibbles and canapes, will provide a plethora of food for your party guests.

A drinks table is a great way to keep you company hydrated on a hot afternoon: provide plastic cups and glasses, ice cubes galore and even mini drinks umbrellas to enhance the summery atmosphere.

Pimm’s is often the summer drink of choice in the UK so make sure you provide iced pitchers on your make-shift bar. Fruity punch, crisp cider and cooling wine are also popular drinks choices – why not get creative with some cocktails too?

Browse the collection of men’s and women’s clothing at The Edinburgh Woollen Mill to find the perfect outfit for your summer garden party.