BBQ Style

BBQ Style

Hobnobbing with the brass at an off-site summer party is a great stepping-stone in your career path -- and you’d be smart to begin thinking about what to wear now. Anytime the dress code isn’t stated, go with what is tried-and-true for that particular occasion.

“In the case of a summer party, you can never go wrong with a pair of cotton, flat-front slim-style chinos -- in khaki, navy or gray -- from Prada, APC, J. Crew or Bonobos,” says Wendi Ferreira of the Los Angeles-based fashion-stylist team Wendi and Nicole, who work with such fashion-forward celebrities as Shia LaBeouf, Chris Pine, Pierce Brosnan and Justin Long.

Tailor them shorter than your dress pant so there’s no break, and so that it skims the bottom of your ankle,” she adds. “If the affair is truly casual, you can roll them twice to create a clean break.”

But remember: No affair is so casual that anybody wants to see your love handles and hairy chest. You’ll need an appropriate shirt to spill your ketchup on:

“Pair the chinos with a casual, slim-fitting button-down or oxford shirt, somewhere between dry-cleaner-starched and out-of-the-laundry-basket wrinkled,” says Ferreira. “Solids, stripes or even plaids are fine; save the prints for the islands. Tuck it in and wear it with a cloth or braided belt, or leave it untucked with the hem just hitting your hipbone. If you want to add a timeless button-down or oxford to your permanent collection, turn to Steven Alan, Band of Outsiders, Black Fleece or RRL.”

You’ll also need to put your best foot forward with a pair of kicks that don’t get you kicked back down to the mailroom. “Complete the ensemble with a boat shoe, a light-colored suede oxford, or a spectator in a light-colored soft leather from a company like Cole Haan, The Generic Man or Sperry,” she says. “But a word of warning: Do not wear socks.”

While this is the universally good summer look, bear in mind that specific settings require a little tweaking. “You might need to bring a sport jacket to a country club affair,” says Ferreira, “whereas at the beach you can get away with tailored cotton shorts -- not trunks­ -- and a polo.”

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Suzanne Gerber is a writer whose work has appeared in InStyle, Elle, Redbook, Westport and Greenwich magazines. She’s also a former editor of Vegetarian Times and Pilates Style. Suzanne's articles have previously appeared on Style and Tech for Men.