What to wear to a cocktail, pool or beach party this summer?

During a recent discussion among moms, it was noticed that the definition of terms like “casual”, “cocktail” and “comfortable” used to describe clothing to wear to events has been… undefined. Apparently, no one really knows what those terms mean.

What’s key for moms is comfort. But how can you be comfortable standing in a dress? In heels? On a beach? In style? It’s doable. This week, I tackle summer style.

What to wear to a cocktail, pool or beach party this summer

Summer Style

The Dress

If your party is at the beach or pool, it’s likely that a flowy dress like the Favourite Jersey Maxi from BodenUSA is your best bet. Shorts may be determined too casual. Find a dress with some give so you can move with easily among the crowd, the kids and, if you’re on the beach, through sandy hills. I like longer dresses, like a maxi, because even if it’s windy, it’s pretty hard for the wind to pick the dress up to inappropriate lengths. (By-the-way, I am SO bummed. This dress is now on sale for about $97 and it’s sold out in my size. Who’s buying it so that I can live vicariously through you in such a beautiful maxi.)

The Shoes

So, I spent all last weekend–every single event and party at Disney in my Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip-Flops. Flip-Flops are always acceptable at a pool or beach party. But if you want to dress it up a little, go for flats (especially at the beach!) that have a little shine to them, like these Harley Plaited Gold Sandals from Top Shop which are, oh my goodness!, $44.

The Jewels

At the beach or pool you’re going to want to lighten up a bit on the jewels–hello tan lines! The Safari Bangle Set will be perfect because they’re light weight, move freely and they’re still fun without overdoing the look.

The Bag

If you don’t have a lot to carry–just your cell phone, ID, credit card and a little cash, definitely look for a clutch. A big bag would compete with the flow of this dress. This Elliot Lucca Cordoba Clutch gives you a tiny bit more space than many clutches, so you can slip in a gloss, too.

The Hat

I’ll admit, I never actually wear a hat, but a hat like this (found on eBay) just tops it off (pun, totally, intended.)

So, now you’re set for your summer cocktail party. What’s next party dress code? Share it and I’ll work on an outfit fit for you.

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


  1. says

    Thanks for writing this blog post! It’s always handy to see someone else’s view of outfits that are appropriate (yet trendy) for specific events. I’m not a mom myself, but I still appreciate the outfit you put together. It’s cute, yet functional. Are you going to post some possible cocktail party ensembles on your blog? I look forward to checking it out!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Ruth. I always enjoy posting about cocktail attire for different events. Do you have a specific question in mind I could answer in a future Fashion Friday post? Feel free to send me an email.


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