Dear Shopping Savage,
I've been dating a guy for close to a year and his family is very important to him. He just told me that they want to meet me and invited me to their home for the 4th of July. Its daunting enough that I have to meet his family, but what should I wear? Its a barbecue so that makes it much more casual which is another issue all together. How do I dress for the heat and his family without looking under or overdressed?
Family and Fireworks on the Fourth
Unfortunately there is no advice, sartorial or otherwise, that could calm the nerve-wracking feelings associated with meeting someone's family for the first time. But there are a few wardrobe suggestions that could get you through the situation unscathed.
It sounds like your first inclination is to cover up which is the smartest, albeit hottest, decision you could make. You can achieve this look by planning to wear a maxi dress or long skirt and tank top. If you opt for the maxi dress, just be sure that it has at the least spaghetti straps. The last thing you want to do is have a tug-of-war with your strapless top all day long.
Another option would be a cotton sundress. If possible, look for one in light or bright colors to help deflect some sun and keep you looking summery and in season. Look for one that's at least knee-length and not too clingy; after a few hours outdoors the last thing you'll want is something fitted, potentially showing off every bead of sweat. And fabric that flows away from the body will allow air flow and keep you cooler.
A few other tips: wear your hair in a ponytail - or maybe even the au courant fish tail braid - or just up and away from your face. It'll help keep you cooler in the long run and let the mom get a good look at you. Make up for your updo with a pair of conversation-starting earrings or necklace. Accessorize even further with bangles, bracelets and/or rings. And be sure to use sunscreen. The last thing you want to do is feel the burn from the outdoor outing days after.
Plan to take a cardigan with you in the event that it gets cooler at night. Leave it in the car until you feel it necessary to put on. The key is to create an outfit that looks effortless and pulled together all at once, never letting on to how many times you actually changed your mind, or outfit.
Once you've decided on what to wear just go there and be yourself. Let your sparkling personality shine through. Or as Katy Perry would say:
You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July
Cause baby you're a firework!