What to Wear to a French Garden Party

by olivia hoffman
theory linen dress for garden party
Photo by © Theory

As the spring sun shines over our terraces and flowers bloom in abundance, invitations to garden parties and picnics have begun to fill our mailboxes here in France. Eager to step outside without the need for a bulky winter jacket, our minds are on outfit decisions for the upcoming outdoor events popping up on our calendars.


Garden parties, which are often semi-formal affairs, call for a particularly strategic fashion equation. Comfort and style go hand in hand for these al fresco occasions which are typically held in a more rustic setting. (If you are hosting an upcoming garden party, make sure to check out our article on how to create a perfect tablescape with spring flowers!)

Keeping practicality in mind, here are a few of our recommendations for appropriate garden party fashion with a timeless French touch.

Click the photos to shop the recommended products!

Flowy Sundresses

Nothing says effortless elegance like a flowy sundress. Opt for lightweight fabrics in soft pastels and neutrals or bold floral prints that evoke the spirit of a Parisian spring. Whether you prefer maxi or midi length, choose a longer silhouette so that you aren’t left with marks on your skin from textured outdoor furniture.

Florals, of course!

Sézane’s floral collection this season hits the mark once again. Beautiful blooming patterns in a range of silhouettes make for a perfect garden party fashion statement. However, exercise in moderation – it’s important to choose tasteful floral accents or patterns that complement rather than overwhelm your ensemble.

If you’re a fan of floral patterns and have an outdoor space to decorate, be sure to check out our article on Couleur Nature, a French table linen brand that takes inspiration from the blooms of the south of France.

Lightweight Layers

The unpredictable nature of spring weather warrants lightweight layers. A linen blazer or a classic cotton button-down shirt worn open not only provides protection against a sudden chill but also adds a touch of French flare while staying comfortable. We love the lightweight options for layering this season from Eileen Fisher.

Lots of Linen

Breathable, chic, and oh-so-French, linen is the perfect choice for both dresses and separates. Pair a linen blouse or blazer with tailored trousers for a polished look. A linen dress or jumpsuit gives a relaxed yet refined aesthetic – aligning perfectly with the ambiance of outdoor gatherings. This collection from Theory made with premium French linen fibers was practically designed for an outdoor soirée.

Comfortable Footwear

Comfort is paramount when selecting footwear for a garden party. Stylish options such as low-heeled sandals or mules are appropriate for a slightly more formal event. Simple flat sandals or espadrilles work best for a gathering that skews more casual. These spring options from Everlane (and French espadrilles from the MFCH Boutique) allow for ease of movement on uneven terrain while still looking fabulous.

Practical Accessories

Accessories should complement your outfit without overshadowing it. Channel the French countryside with a wide-brimmed hat adorned with a ribbon or bow. These adorable models from Anthropologie not only provide protection from the sun but also add a hint of vintage-inspired charm.  

A petit structured purse or a small woven leather bag provides convenient access to essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses without detracting from your overall look. We love this classic purse and cat-eye shades from Clare V.

Natural-look makeup

When it comes to makeup, simplicity is key. A garden party calls for makeup that enhances your natural beauty rather than masking it. Aim for a fresh-faced look with luminous skin using a tinted serum and a touch of lip color. We highly recommend the French brand Typology which uses only natural ingredients in their products. Keep eye makeup minimal with just a simple coat of mascara to make them pop. Finally, moisturize your skin with Voilà shimmer body oil for an extra sun-kissed glow.

French garden party fashion is a delicate balance of elegance and practicality. By following these tips and infusing the look with your personal style, your outfit is sure to be as fresh as the springtime blooms.

In the mood to shop for a French Garden Party? Make sure to reserve our May Subscription Box from the MFCH Box & Boutique which has been curated around the Garden Party theme in honor of the box’s 30th edition! Includes 6-8 luxury French products for all your garden party needs.

Read next: How to Create a Spring Flower Tablescape Outdoors

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