Elegantly Casual Dressing for Barbecue Season: Style Sweet Spot

Elegantly Casual Dressing for Barbecue Season: Style Sweet Spot

It’s barbecue season all year for me. I keep it under a market umbrella and cook on it all year. Everything just tastes better and cleanup is a breeze. My Style Recipe™ always includes elegant. So for a barbecue I’m looking for casual elegance combined with comfort. Here’s how I do it.

Hit Your Style Sweet Spot

Style has the power to transform your confidence. Working from the outside in, women can boost their confidence by hitting their Style Sweet Spot. Pam Lutrell and I began this new series, Hit Your Style Sweet Spot, to help and inspire those women who are struggling with their appearance. Each week we choose a scenario from our daily lives to show why, what and how we dress to reach our style sweet spot. Your style sweet spot is when you feel confident about your appearance and know you are sending the message you want people to see.

This week Pam and I are sharing how we dress for a casual barbecue.

I started with comfort. A backyard BBQ means I’ll be standing a lot, so this means flat shoes.

Casually elegant dressing means simple shapes in dressier fabrics. Snake skin sandals contrast with pinstripe cropped pants.

I chose pants with stretch. These Traveler Crop Pants from Artful Home are fabulously comfortable. They’re made with 29% lycra so never bag and they fit like a dream. The pale pinstripe dresses them up without being formal.

Stella Carakasi tunic with Porto Travelers pant from Artful home make a casually elegant statement.

I chose my Stella Carakasi Modernist tank to contrast my sweater’s hem. The sweater is hand-made and not meant to be asymmetrical. It just ended up that way 🙂 My knitting has a life of its own but I love the process.

Then I looked at my outfit critically. You do that don’t you?

I looked unbalanced and shorter than usual…never my goal. But I really wanted to wear these pants so I switched my top.

Casually elegant in black and white with simple accessories from French Kande.

I decided a shorter top would be more flattering with the cropped pants.


This shorter top allows my legs to look their longest. It's a better balance for the cropped pants and helps me lool taller.

The shorter top makes my legs look longer. I wore a simple white shirt from Target, tied at my waist…worn open over a simple tank. The long top is pretty but out of proportion with cropped pants…on my 5’4″ height. If I were 5’10”, the combo would look great! At my height I need to wear this top with full length pants like I did here.


Then I reconsidered my sandals.

A shoe that ends higher on your instep makes your feet appear larger and your legs look shorter.

I decided they were shortening the look of my legs. The flip-flop on the right covers less of my foot, angles forward and makes my leg appear longer.

Style Tip- A sandal or shoe that ends higher on your arch makes your feet look larger and your legs look shorter.


Elegantly casual dressing in simple shapes, classic neutrals and great accessories. No one piece stands out so people notice you, not your outfit.

In the end, this is what I wore. I opted for these sandals because they were dressier. I sacrificed a bit of proportion and leg length for comfort. Always a good trade off with my feet.

I feel elegantly casual, without being under dressed. This is my Style Sweet Spot!


Now lets pop over and see how Pam hits her Style Sweet Spot..

xo Jennifer

Disclaimer: Artful Home supplied the pants but the opinions are all my own, I love them!


This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. April 28, 2016 / 11:25 am

    You look fab in the hat. Wish we were near BBQ season in Yorkshire. Snowing this week – which is unseasonal weather but definitely makes BBQ seem a long way off.

  2. Donna
    April 25, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    wonderful advice and observations…I love it

  3. April 25, 2016 / 10:39 am

    Love the deconstruction. Little things make a big difference!

  4. LoriM
    April 25, 2016 / 6:30 am

    So fascinating. I think the study of proportion and silhouette, etc. is so helpful for looking our best, no matter what shape we are. Thanks for the tips. Now I really need to get to a personal shopper or someone who can SHOW me on ME. I know already that short tops are best for me but I’m still not sure of the sweet spot on my hips.

    • Jennifer
      April 25, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      I moved that white shirt up and down several times until I found that sweet spot on me. It’s a fine line but when you get it right, it makes all the difference. Have it stop at your narrowest point.

  5. April 24, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    HI! I enjoyed your post and all of the great comments. I am glad I stopped by!

  6. April 24, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Great choice! I like that you showed how you made the crop pants work for you! Trying on different options, taking a photo and really looking at it really helps to find the right proportions. I am short waisted and have to be very careful when tucking things in. But half tucks often work, but I always have to play around with it… Great example also how shoes can elongate the leg, and I like your choice of sandals in the end!

    • Jennifer
      April 25, 2016 / 11:02 pm

      I saw it so clearly too with the images Andrea! Much more so than looking in the mirror. It’s a great way for us to see ourselves. Selfies!

  7. Canuck
    April 24, 2016 / 10:00 am

    For many of us, a top that ends at the high hip is the way to go. This applies for petites and pear-shaped women, for different reasons. For a petite woman, it lengthens the legs. For a pear-shaped woman, it emphasizes the narrowest part of the body — the waist. And for the woman who has little waist definition, it gives the illusion of a small waist. Cool multipurpose trick!

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 10:26 am

      It is a great trick! You’re right.
      The triangle (pear) shaped woman needs to be careful with color when she wears a top that stops at her waist or high hip. Low contrast colors prevent her from looking hippier. Wearing a darker bottom and lighter top is also preferable.

  8. April 24, 2016 / 8:36 am

    Great tips, Jennifer! While I love the asymmetrical tank, the shorter top is definitely more flattering with your cropped pants. I especially appreciate your suggestions regarding footwear. Now I’ll have to look at my summer shoes and sandals with a more critical eye!

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 10:19 am

      You’re most welcome Elaine. I’m in the process of evaluating my sandals for this season too. I’ve found some are just worn out and need replacing. Good luck.

  9. Denise Durski
    April 24, 2016 / 7:07 am

    My challenge for dressing for warmer weather and feeling confident is this… I am on the thinner, leaner side which I like but I also have very visible veins in my arms, ankles and legs. That is, as the temperatures rise so do my veins. They are just working to cool me off. They are not varicose veins but very visible and almost bulging in the heat. This makes wearing short sleeves/sleeveless tops, sandles and shorts/cropped pants impossible. Pants and jackets/sweaters work in the office but outside activities are the challenge! Can anyone offer suggestions of clothing lines of very light, breathable fabrics that are stylish?

    Please don’t tell me to gain weight!

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 10:17 am

      I know natural fibers are most breathable. Stella Carakasi uses very lightweight, breathable fabrics. Look for styles that flow, rather than cling, in thin fabrics. These breathe the best. Ann Taylor makes lightweight sweaters and tops. Chico’s has some very nice, light weight linen that covers arms and legs and would be very cool. I hope this helps. Email me if you’d like some other ideas!

  10. April 24, 2016 / 6:43 am

    Yes, shorter top works better, however….

    okay, I’m going to jump in….being 4ft 10+inches at 90 or so lbs. and thus slender but sturdy looking…(anyway I think so since my legs aren’t long or skinny, but shapely)…I never wear cropped pants. I have taken to ankle pants with longer and fuller tops since that makes the legs look slimmer…not ever a crop. It just isn’t elegant for us little gals.

    course, at my age (a young 74) I never where shorts either.

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 10:10 am

      I’m glad you jumped in
      Barbara! You make a great point. This is the only pair of cropped pants I own because of my height. Since I have such large shoulders I have to be very careful with large, long tips or they can make me look larger than I am. I’m with you on shorts. I haven’t owned a pair in 35 years!

  11. April 24, 2016 / 5:25 am

    I love these crops and it is so great that you taught us a styling lesson with your outfit choice. I am going to start shopping for a great hat…you always look so good in them!

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 10:04 am

      I love hats! They have such attitude. Plus they protect me from the sun 🙂

  12. Linda Robertson
    April 24, 2016 / 5:24 am

    Thank you for sharing how different outfits make a difference in the fit of our clothes. I love your style

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 9:18 am

      Thank you Linda. I love to inform and inspire women.

  13. April 24, 2016 / 5:03 am

    You are such a good teacher! I never could have figured all that out on my own!

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 9:16 am

      Thanks Cathy. Have a great weekend.

  14. Krystyna
    April 24, 2016 / 5:03 am

    Thank you for taking photos (and presenting them) of yourself in the two poses that is the flattering and the less than flattering look. It really helps me to visualise what I should be looking for (on myself) when I try on clothes. I too am 5’4 with long body and short legs, little bust to speak of but round “shapely” bottom.

    • Jennifer
      April 24, 2016 / 9:15 am

      You’re most welcome Krystyna! I see it best by looking at the images too.

  15. April 24, 2016 / 1:35 am

    Yeah, its much better wearing the top shorter!
    Have a happy Sunday!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any images or written material is strictly prohibited without express and written permission from this blog's author and owner. A Well Styled Life® a registered trademark.
| powered by chloédigital