I've just been invited to an outdoor engagement party where guests are instructed to dress "summer chic." I have no idea what this means for me or for my boyfriend, plus it's going to be really hot out. Help!
Though I like being outdoors, I really dislike outdoor parties that are anything other than an impromptu get together with friends (or the occasional Shabbat picnic lunch). As I said when planning my own wedding, "I have enough to worry about without also worrying about the weather every day for the next year." Nonetheless, your friend has chosen to have an outdoor engagement party and has burdened her guests with an ambiguous dress code.
When I answered the question about formal attire a few months ago, I suggested googling the term for pictures and suggestions, so I took my own advice here. Alas, both eHow and wikiHow approach the term from an every day dressing perspective, and I suspect your friend has something more specific and less comfortable in mind. Still, because, from my limited research, there are no specifics associated with summer chic, you have some leeway to wear what makes sense for you and helps you feel your best in the heat.
I would recommend wearing a sundress that's a little nicer than something you would wear out to brunch in Center City. Wear wedges or sandals, but not heels, so you can avoid sinking into the ground. Put your hair up to help combat the sweat factor. Also avoid any fabrics or colors that will show sweat and any jewelry that could stick to your skin in an unflattering way. Your boyfriend will do fine in khakis and a button down. I can't imagine anyone wearing a jacket or tie, but he could leave those in the car just in case. Stay hydrated and don't drink too much alcohol, and I'm sure it will be a lovely party.
Readers, if you're planning to name a dress code, consider using more well-known terms or providing some other guidelines!