What to wear to a Barbie - Style guide

It's the favourite season of the year again: Barbecue season! The most glorious of social gatherings with their focus on meat, cold brews and mates. But what should you wear?

They're not a dinner party, not casual drinks, not a lounge at the beach or the park - but barbecues incorporate elements of all those events. Here's how best to dress in a way that looks good and is also appropriate for the occasion.


What to wear:

Barbecues are casual affairs, but casual doesn't mean slovenly. It's still a social occasion, and you always want to look good for the people around you. The best style to aim for is one that looks like you haven't tried. A fitted but untucked polo or short-sleeved shirt over rolled, lightweight chinos is a safe ensemble that looks stylish without seeming dressy. Avoid pleated pants; not only is the extra material unnecessarily warm for a summer occasion, they add visual bulk which is unflattering on larger guys. Alternatively, if you are not a fan of long pants or chinos on hot days, you can always switch to a pair of shorts.

 Although it might seem an odd choice for a hot summer event, consider layering. This is a look that can work really well for big dudes, and a thin cotton cardigan over a cotton shirt or plain tee will achieve the look without making you too hot. Furthermore, although it starts out warm in the afternoon, as the air cools in the evening you might be grateful for the extra layer.

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As for shoes, you have a few options. Sneakers or low-cut canvas shoes keep an outfit casual, offsetting a collared shirt's formality. The Idle Man suggests boat shoes for events that might go from afternoon to evening, or garden to bar.

When you're the chef

If you're manning the barbecue then it is absolutely okay to wear an apron. Something simple, like plain black cotton, will work with whatever you have on underneath. Esquire recommends a shop apron because they're cheap, long lasting and have pockets.

What not to wear

While the crisp white shirt is a summer staple, in a situation that involves splattering oil or beetroot juice, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Stick to darker tones or patterns if you're worried about spilling (or being spilled on by those around you). Alternatively, leave the apron on after you've finished cooking - nobody's going to notice, and it will look like you're too busy enjoying the festivities to bother taking it off, rather than you're worried about protecting your clothes.

A barbecue is a relaxed occasion so be comfortable - this means nothing too formal, but it also means wearing clothes you feel good and look great in so that you can relax, forget about it and enjoy the food, the drink and the company. The classic 

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