What to Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

Julie Marshall
by Julie Marshall
15 Minutes

Do you love figuring out what to wear to a Memorial Day Party? Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and the first summer barbecue, even if it is rainy and cold enough to start a fire and toss on a cozy sweatshirt. It’s true that there is a definite tendency towards rainy, freezing celebrations in the Midwest for this first of the patriotic holidays!

Let me help you come up with some fun Memorial Day outfits. They can be as simple as a pair of denim shorts or jeans with a white shirt, or as elaborate as a layered red, white, and blue ensemble. The key is to look at my outfits as inspiration. Then go check out your closet for similar items. Lastly, if necessary, purchase one (or two ;)) of the items I have curated for you. Remember that anything you wear to a Memorial Day party can easily be repurposed for the Fourth of July and Labor Day. These red, white, and blue clothing items are very wearable from year to year, with a few tweaks to look cute, current, and fashionable.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2022 will occur on Monday, May 30. I remember when my cousin, Eddie died in Viet Nam. We were all getting ready to celebrate his homecoming when we learned that he was killed on a helicopter while showing the new officer the lay of the land. We were all so sad because we loved him so much and he was so much fun. We thought he had successfully made it through his years overseas. So Memorial Day is a time I remember that particular fallen hero.

In this post...

Outfit #1 What to Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

In this first outfit of what to wear to a Memorial Day party, I paired a Ralph Lauren denim dress with a red and white striped tee. This is a subtle nod to the red, white, and blue of Memorial Day. Denim always works for an outfit for Memorial Day because it is a classic fabric. For accessories, I wore white pearl stud earrings, a gold bangle ( similar, here) and watch, and nude sandals ( similar, here). My bag is a summer staple made of wicker and light brown leather. The handles are rattan, which is so perfect in the summer and spring.

Outfit #2 What to Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

In the second outfit for what to wear to a Memorial Day party, I took white straight leg jeans and added a fun navy graphic tee. Philadelphia is where my youngest son and soon-to-be daugter-in-law will be married July 8, 2023. I added a terrific red knit blazer as well as a white pebbled leather satchel style purse. Pro-tip: Pebbled leather is always my first choice when looking for a handbag as it’s so sturdy and it really resists scratches.

To the bag, I added a red cotton print bandana by Madewell. This is such a versatile scarf as it can be worn at Valentine’s Day, with denim and of course, with a basic white shirt. Pro-tip: In the summer when it is hot, tying a scarf on one’s handbag is a great way to add a pop of color, while staying cool. My inexpensive earrings are cute gold hoops with pearls attached to them. They go with so many different looks. Lastly, I am wearing nude flat sandals ( similar, here) and white cat eyes sunglasses.

Outfit #3 What to Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

This third look is a simple look where I paired J Crew Factory mid-rise cropped flared white jeans wit a pinstriped blue and white cotton shirt. I rolled up the sleeves and added the same wicker bag as the first outfit. I am wearing the same bandana as in outfit #2. My sandals are nude flat ones ( similar, here) and lastly, my jewelry is my stainless steel Ebel watch and my “diamond” stud earrings.

Pro-tip: Wearing vertical stripes makes everyone look taller. Also notice that this shirt gets its shape from long darts from the bust to the waist. This is a very flattering feature to look for on a women’s shirt as it allows the shirt to skim over one’s waist area in a complimentary way. I tend to carry any excess weight in my mid-section, so I love the way this shirt looks because of it shape and waist-skimming properties.

Outfit #4 What to Wear to a Memorial Day Party?

This fourth and last look for what to wear to a Memorial Day party is quite colorful. I took a navy and white polka dot sleeveless top, and paired it with red jeans. I topped that with a mid-wash denim jacket. For waist detail, I added a red, white, and blue print scarf. Pro-tip: Wearing a scarf around your waist is a fun way to add color and waist definition to an outfit. Here, I took a square scarf, and folded it into a long thin rectangle. Then, I looped it through the belt loops.

I wore the white purse from the second look, as well as very inexpensive silver beaded bangles. To complete the ensemble, I added the white cat eyes sunglasses and the “diamond” earrings. My sandals are nude block heeled ones.

I hope these four outfits have given you some ideas of what to wear to a Memorial Day party. I think I am having a barbecue for some of my kids once Mr. G.Q. and I arrive back in Chicago later this week.

Happy Early Memorial Day!


Dr. Julie

PS Here are a few more posts for you to enjoy:

Red, White and Blue Outfits for Summer Holidays

How to Make a Fun Red, White, Blue Tablescape!

Grandkid Red White and Blue Popsicles!

Red white and blue outfits

Styling Paper Bag Waist Pants Five Ways

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Julie Marshall
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 1 comment
  • LunaR1776 LunaR1776 on May 31, 2022

    I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing his story.

    Although my grandfather was with us until 10 years ago, he fought in WWII. An understanding of freedom and sacrifice was instilled in me at a young age so I truly love my red, white, and blue! Red has been a favorite lately— thanks for these cute choices!