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Every year, as the end of May approaches, there’s one thing we always look forward to: Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer!

From barbecues to parades to fireworks shows, Memorial Day is a part of American life. And most people spend it celebrating with family and friends.

Heading to a Memorial Day party this year but aren’t sure what to wear? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some Memorial Day outfit inspiration, no matter where you’re going or how you plan to celebrate!

Memorial Day Traditions

American flag at cemetery.

Let’s remember, Memorial Day is a day to pay honor to fallen military heroes.

But aside from the sometimes somber festivities that take place around the country, it’s also a day to celebrate the lives of those heroes. And since it’s a national holiday where most people don’t have to work, it’s the perfect excuse for a picnic, a barbecue, a parade or a beach party.

Lots of people go the patriotic route and opt for a red, white, and blue look. If that’s your thing, go for it.

Not in the mood to dress like the flag? Here are some outfit choices that will work for the weather and for the occasion.   

Step Out in White

Women dressed in white outfit with hat and sandals. She smiles and poses silly.

As the unofficial kickoff to summer, Memorial Day is the perfect time to step out in an all-white look. White dresses and jumpsuits look laidback and cool during the day, and they look super chic if you’re heading out at night.

Not in the mood to wear head-to-toe white? Keep it simple with a pair of blue jeans and a white top or a pair of white jeans and a colorful blouse. 

Related: Our 7 Favorite Spring 2020 Fashion Trends


Layer With a Denim Jacket

Couple in white outfits and jean jackets. They wear burgundy face masks.

The weather on Memorial Day can be really warm or pretty chilly, depending on what part of the country you’re in. Be prepared for cool spring breezes and cold evenings by layering your look with a denim jacket.

Denim jackets are perfect for pairing with maxi dresses, mini skirts and cropped pants. Plus, they look great with sneakers, sandals or heels.   

Play With Proportions

Lovers + Friends I Think I Love You Crop Top paired with jean shorts.

The temperature swings that we often see in May make Memorial Day a great time to mix up hem and sleeve lengths. 

Play with proportions by pairing a cropped tank top with full, wide-leg pants. Team a long sleeve blouse or a lightweight sweater with a pair of shorts. Memorial Day is usually too hot to wear long sleeves and long pants and usually too cool to get away with shorts and a tank top.

Mix up your lengths and stick to lightweight fabrics that you can layer.

A Dress Always Works 

Goodthreads Women's Tencel Short-Sleeve Shirt Dress

Dresses work for every occasion, and Memorial Day is no exception.

For a picnic or a barbecue, you can rock a mini dress or a maxi dress, long sleeves or short sleeves.

Shirt dresses and shift dresses are ideal for a Memorial Day party. They’re casual and comfortable. They’re relaxed. They have an easy, laidback look.

Regardless of the length, one of our favorite fabrics for Memorial Day (and summer in general) is chambray. A lightweight chambray denim dress is an easy way to rock an all-American look without having to wear jeans.

Not in the mood for a dress? A romper or a jumpsuit works just as well!


Keep It Easy and Breezy

Beezy wide leg pants and white crop top.

The whole point of a Memorial Day party is to relax, eat, drink and enjoy time with family and friends. Whether you’re heading to a cookout in someone’s backyard or heading to a parade and a fireworks display, keep your look easy and simple. 

Memorial Day is not the time to wear a tight dress, a structured suit or a sophisticated, ruffled blouse. Instead, keep your look more casual with a relaxed button down shirt, a loose, printed blouse, or even a basic tee.

If you’re in a summery state of mind and feel like showing some skin, wear a crop top. We love crop tops paired with high-waisted pants or layered with jackets. That way, you can show some skin without baring too much.

It’s All About the Shoes

Woman sitting in casual white dress wearing a camera and sneakers.

Shoes make the outfit, no matter where you’re going. But the last thing you need to do on Memorial Day is pull out your black leather red-bottom heels.

If you’re heading to a backyard barbecue, a picnic in the park, or a party on the beach, leave the heels at home. Keep it low-key with sneakers or flat sandals.

If you absolutely must wear a pair of heels, stick to wedges. Those Louboutins may be cute, but there’s nothing cute about your stilettos sinking into the grass or sand.

Add Some Summer Accessories

Woman in floral dress holds Mar Y Sol Women's Mia Mini Clutch

Regardless of what you choose to wear on Memorial Day, it’s the perfect excuse to start showing off your favorite summer accessories.

Top off your look with a straw sun hat, carry your must-haves in a straw shoulder bag or a raffia clutch. Break out those brand new espadrille sandals or cork wedges you haven’t had a chance to wear yet. Accessorize with wood bracelets or shell earrings. 

Memorial Day is the ideal time to start showing off your fresh new summer wardrobe and accessories.

What Should You Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

Depending on where you live, Memorial Day celebrations in 2020 may look a little different than what we’re used to. But even if you’re still sheltering in place, you can still throw a few burgers on the grill, sit outside in your yard, and enjoy the day off, even if you’re only celebrating with one or two other people.

And if you have been spending all of your days inside for the past few weeks, this just may be the excuse you need to get out of your sweatpants, throw on a cute look and head outdoors for some vitamin D.

Remember, just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean that people can’t see what you’re wearing. So keep it casual, be comfortable, and choose a look that’s easy and relaxed – just like summer should be! 

You might also be interested in: The 6 Best Fast Fashion Alternative Brands

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May 18, 2020
Fashion & Beauty

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