Garden Party Finery

We’re excited to announce that this year, for the first time in Garden Party history, we’ll be selling limited edition Garden Party t-shirts emblazoned with our very own tool dog mascot!

Get them at the welcome table!

Pick up one during the party, then show your love for the Forklift by wearing it around town. Proceeds from shirt sales will help fund our nonprofit programs, so don’t miss your chance to snag
one of these snazzy tees!

Before you can get your t-shirt,

what should you wear for the party?

Each year at the Garden Party, we award prizes and gift certificates to well-dressed adults, kids, and (friendly, leashed) pets.  Those of you who have a closet full of seersucker suits, frilly dresses, or fancy hats probably don’t need our advice on Garden Party attire. But if you want pointers on how to win prizes, we’ve asked Ruthie (our Outreach & Education Director, and one of the contest judges) for a few style tips.

Q:  What colors should I choose?

A:  The party is celebrating the arrival of spring, so go for pastels and bright colors like pink, lime, light yellow, baby blue, and lavender. Floral patterns are great! Think pastel or seersucker blazers; ties and pocket squares; and dapper boaters or Panama hats.

Grover looked very handsome in his bow tie.

You should AVOID black, or autumn colors such as dark brown, dark purple, maroon, etc. Gray, dark green, and navy blue are risky if you wear too much of it, but they can work if you pair it with light colors.

Michael wore his regular blue jeans, but he styled them for the Garden Party with a salmon flannel, a straw hat with navy trim, and a nicely-fitting jersey blazer with elbow patches.

Matt made a green plaid blazer work with a polka dot tie, light pants, and a jaunty hat.

Remember that maxi skirts and long dresses are great because you can wear leggings or sweatpants underneath for warmth.  Hats with large brims will help keep you dry if it rains.

I don’t know if anyone will ever top Matt’s rabbit outfit.

Q:  Speaking of warmth, what else do you recommend if it’s cold or rainy?

A:  It’s supposed to be pretty chilly this weekend!  I look for warm fabrics in spring colors – bright corduroys, sweaters, jackets, and scarves.   

I always choose an outfit that is a little loose, so I can layer long johns and fleece underneath if needed. But, if you don’t have time to find warm clothing in bright colors, look for good accessories!

It’s hard to get out of the habit of wearing black when it still feels like winter, but these folks added a touch of spring with bright scarves.

Q:  What are some ways I can stand out from the crowd?

A:  Our judges love old houses and antiques, of course, so you can’t go wrong by dressing in a particular period or style. We’ve awarded prizes to everything from antique lace outfits and Art Deco menswear to patchwork pants from the 1960s, wild prints from the 1970s, and sweet florals from the 1980s.

If you make yourself an impressive topper, you might win the hat category.

This Forklift Fan won the hat category in 2016.

She won again in 2017 – we spotted actual Easter eggs in this one!!

Q:  What if I don’t like your silly rules about fancy outfits – does that mean I don’t get a prize?

A:  We love creatives and rebels! As long as it relates to gardening or spring in some way, the judges are interested. Past costumes have included an incredibly detailed Dreams of Spring, Mariam the Flower, Pooh and Hunny, Johnny Appleseed, the Rising Sun, a spring fairy dog, some kind of cute bat creature, Robert the farmer, the Make-It-Rain-Seeds group, and a family with Boy Scout and a ladybug.

Q:  Can I make my friends or family dress up too?

A:  Oh yes, there is a category for group outfits. so bring a bunch of pals.

Bring your best friend!

Bring your kids!

Bring the whole gang!