8 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Outfit For Your Pool Party

You’ve got the food, the drinks, the inflatable lounge chairs with cup holders — everything to make your summer pool party perfect. But, more importantly, what are you going to wear? Choosing the right wardrobe to play hostess can be challenging enough, without getting into the dreaded bathing suit territory. After the jump, some tips on how to dress appropriately and attractively for pool party success.

  1. Consider the guests. Your college buddies might appreciate a scantily clad lady in the pool, but your Grandpa Joe and Aunt Marge probably don’t need to see you in your skimpiest bikini. Pick a more modest swimsuit for family parties, particularly if there are going to be kids around. By all means work the push-up bra tops and teeny tiny boy shorts for sexy singles night, but unless you’re hosting a key party, you might want to save the thong for your European vacation.
  2. Remember what you’re doing. Are you planning to set up a pool party game of water polo or even Marco Polo? Probably not the best time to wear that strapless suit that rolls down every time you lift your arms. Choose a suit with wider straps or a secure halter style, and enough sturdy construction to prevent any inadvertent nip slips.
  3. Flames + bare skin = Ouch! Presenting your bare midsection to the heat and licking flames from the BBQ is not the best idea. Protect your suit and your skin with a close-fitting cover-up or a tank top and shorts. Once you’re done flipping burgers, you can lose the extra clothing and cannon ball into the pool.
  4. Skirting the edge of decorum. Serving drinks and steaks while wearing a string bikini can make you feel like a Hooters employee, and guests probably shouldn’t be thinking about Brazilian waxes while you’re scooping potato salad onto their plate. Choose a one- or two-piece suit with a skirted bottom for a cute-but-covered pool party option. Keep things even more modest by donning a colorful print mini-skirt that matches your suit, or wrapping yourself in a sexy sarong.
  5. Think vintage. If you don’t like seeing yourself in a bathing suit in the dressing room mirror, let alone as the center-of-attention hostess at a pool party, consider a vintage look. Think 50s glamor, with a structured black swimsuit that covers nicely but highlights your curves, a big floppy hat to cut out the blazing sun, and giant retro sunglasses to keep a sense of mystery. Still feeling self-conscious? Add a gauzy tunic or floral robe-style cover-up.
  6. A time for sensible shoes. Flip-flops are the go-to choice for pool party footwear, but be careful. Look for solid construction and rubber bottoms; flimsy foam styles can be a real slip-and-trip hazard. Try little strappy sandals that buckle around the ankle for added security. If you’re set on the sexy lift you get from heels, skip the stilettos and wear a wedge sandal or espadrille.
  7. Limit the bling. Dress up your look by choosing swimsuits with metal or jeweled accents, and add beaded or metallic sandals. The chlorine in the pool is harsh on jewelry, and necklaces and bracelets will leave you with funny tan lines.
  8. Waterproof your face. If you’re a fresh-faced beauty a la Evangeline Lilly from “Lost,” by all means go without makeup. For the rest of us mortals, a nice tinted moisturizer with sunscreen will help protect the skin while evening out imperfections. Add some sunscreen to your tender eye area, even if you’ll be wearing shades. Choose waterproof liner and mascara to highlight your eyes after the sun goes down, and dab on a colored lip balm or gloss with SPF protection.