What To Wear To A Clambake Wedding

Clambakes often take place in the fall or winter months, but you can enjoy them year-round by hosting one yourself. If you’re attending a clambake as a guest, it’s important to dress appropriately so that you don’t stand out from everyone else. Be sure to wear warm clothing since clambakes take place outside and sometimes at night. You’ll also want to bring along extra layers in case it gets chilly while you’re there.

Lindsay and Garrett's Clambake Rehearsal Lunch in Massachusetts | Martha  Stewart

What Can I Wear?

While it’s best if everyone wears something similar so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb, there are still many options when it comes to choosing an outfit for this type of event. It’s important not to stick with just one type of style because your guests will appreciate seeing how each person expresses themselves through their clothes.

It’s that time of year again. The air is crisp and the leaves are changing colors. But there’s something else in the air: the smell of a clambake.

Clambakes are one of those quintessential fall activities that everyone loves. They’re great for socializing and bringing together your family and friends to celebrate another successful harvest season.

But what should you wear to a clambake? We have some suggestions on what to wear for an evening clambake — from casual to formal — so you can look your best while eating delicious food with your favorite people.

Travel: Clambake at Harborview Nantucket | Palm Beach Lately

What you can Wear to a Clambake

Clambakes are casual events, so dress as you would for most summertime gatherings. For women, this means wearing something that’s comfortable and not too dressy. A short-sleeved blouse or T-shirt with jeans or shorts is appropriate; tank tops, bathing suits and other revealing clothing should be avoided. You may want to bring along a sweater if the weather turns cool. Men should wear shirts with sleeves and long pants or shorts.

What Can I Wear to a Clambake?

If you’re attending a clambake at someone’s home, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear whatever you would normally wear when visiting friends — jeans, shorts, T-shirts and sandals are fine choices for men and women alike. However, if you’re attending an outdoor event such as a festival or carnival where everyone else is dressed up in their finest attire (which is often the case), then you might want to consider wearing something more dressy such as slacks or khakis paired with a button-down shirt or blouse.

There are many ways to dress up for a clambake. You can opt for a dressy look or keep it casual.

If you’re not sure what to wear, here are some ideas:

Dressy outfits

If you’re looking to make a statement, consider wearing an elegant outfit like a cocktail dress or evening gown with heels. Add gold accessories and don’t forget the lip gloss! You can also choose to wear a fancy hat or fascinator.

Casual outfits

If you want to keep things simple, choose from pieces in your closet that are comfortable and stylish. For example, try pairing a blouse with jeans or pants and a cute pair of shoes for an effortless look that’s sure to turn heads.

A clambake is a celebration, so it’s important to look your best. The first step is to choose the right outfit for the occasion. When it comes to clothing choices, there are no hard and fast rules. However, there are some guidelines that you can follow to help ensure that everyone has a good time.

What to wear as a wedding guest for every type of dress code

First things first, do some research on the wedding venue

The dress code listed on an invitation or the wedding website is your best indicator for what you should wear to a wedding. Beyond that, Sabatino and Brown recommend taking a sneak peak at the wedding venue before you pick an outfit. It’s as simple as googling the website for pictures of the property. 

“It’s always important to look at the venue because dress codes and venues should be somewhat in alignment,” Brown said. “Let’s say it’s a barn wedding that’s black tie. That’s probably not your New York City hotel black tie because maybe you’ll be on grass and maybe you’ll be somewhere a more country.”

That goes for casual attire too. It could imply two totally different visions based on where the wedding location.

“If it says ‘casual’ for the Thursday night clambake and you’re on the beach, you can certainly show up in khaki shorts and a button down or a polo,” Sabatino said. “But if it says ‘casual’ and you are in New York City at a restaurant, then the dress is different.”

Jeans aren’t appropriate at a casual wedding

If you are invited to a casual wedding, appropriate attire includes dresses, jumpsuits, khakis, and lightweight jackets, according to Brown and Sabatino. Not included? Denim jeans.


“Regardless if a wedding is casual or formal, it’s respectful to dress nicely for your hosts,” she said. “I would not wear something that you’re going to hang out in on Saturday afternoon.”

Brown suggests a sundress or other look that feels breezy. The trick is to style it more elevated than day-to-day casualwear. 

A side-by-side of casual wedding attire options.
Casual wedding outfits include linen blazers and jumpsuits. 

“Something in a floral would be really lovely, especially in spring and summer,” Brown said. “You could also go for a linen suit or a lightweight tropical jacket. It’s something you could style with a t-shirt underneath, instead of doing the button down or tie. You can loosen it up and even pair it with a sneaker.”

It’s a broad range, but comes with a stipulation: Sabatino recommends avoiding everyday fabrics like denim to show respect to the couple. 


There’s little difference between cocktail attire and a semi-formal dress code

Although they have different titles, semi-formal and cocktail weddings basically call for the same type of outfit, say both Brown and Sabatino. It means dressy and stylish. 

“That’s when you can go a little bit more glitzy,” Brown said. “Instead of a cotton sundress, you can look for more luxurious fabrics or fun jewelry to take it up from casual attire.”

A side-by-side of three cocktail attire wedding outfits.
Cocktail and semi-formal attire are the same. 

Sabatino agreed, recommending guests wear “a nicer dress or a nicer pant ensemble” to a cocktail or semi-formal wedding, though a dress wouldn’t need to be floor-length.

“There are a lot of cute jumpsuits out there these days, so I don’t want to rule out the pants entirely,” she added.


Men can don a button down shirt with a suit. You don’t need a tie, Brown said, but it could be accessorized with a pocket square or trendy loafers. 

Formal and black-tie optional weddings call for similar attire

Like cocktail and semi-formal, formal and black-tie optional weddings imply similar levels of dress, according to Brown and Sabatino. 

“Black-tie optional means that you can wear a tux or a gown, but you won’t be underdressed if you wear a formal cocktail dress or a suit,” Brown told Insider. “But definitely, it means suit and tie, if not a tuxedo.”

A side-by-side of three black-tie optional wedding outfits.
Black tie optional is just a step down from black-tie. 

Sabatino also said tea-length dresses are appropriate for a black-tie optional wedding.


“I wouldn’t go super short, but ankle length or tea length are more appropriate today than they have been in the past,” Sabatino said. 

Also welcome? Costume jewelry, glam makeup, and pocket squares.

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