There are three T’s to selecting what to wear to a boat party, no matter your gender – theme, time, and temperature.

Going to glamorous yacht parties on the open seas in a tuxedo is far different than a holiday on the casual Lake Travis surrounded by limestone cliffs lined with cedar trees. We’ll save sailing fashion for another day and stick to what we know – boat party outfit ideas for this neck of the woods!

Before you consider outfit colors (and umm hi, reserve your boat rental with us), consider the three T’s:

  • Theme: Take into consideration the theme and reason for the party. A birthday party or 4th of July party is far different than a bachelorette party or company gathering.
  • Time: Also take into account the timing – a rowdy afternoon demands different options than a late afternoon that turns into a night party.
  • Temperature: Hitting the lake in the fall means some extra accessories the summer simply doesn’t demand, and summer requires less clothing overall.

Regardless of theme, time, and temperature, most boat parties on Lake Travis are fairly casual and effortless. The informal dress code tends to be shorts and a top over a swimsuit.

But you’re not reading this because you want to slap on a t-shirt, you’re reading this because you want to look fly af, but also like you didn’t just spend $60 on a bottle of sea salt spray for your hair (you’re just this cool, your hair always looks this boat ready).

Because we’re all dressing up for the pictures anyway, let’s keep it fresh. We’ll start from the top and go down to the bottom, shall we?

Fresh Up From the Neck Up

No matter the time or temperature, you’re going to want a hat to complete your outfit. Parody trucker caps or baseball hats are great for a casual party and large rimmed hats for more formal events.

But remember – it can get windy and there’s a chance it could blow off and become the property of the crappies (calm down, that’s a type of fish), so don’t wear your grandfather’s priceless John Wayne replica cowboy hat you inherited.

And on the hat tip, we have to insist that the fellas know that a Panama hat is rad, but a fedora or trilby screams “m’lady” – think Kentucky derby, not an awkward middle school dance.

Next, let’s discuss sunglasses. Eyewear fashion has gotten so wild, beyond just the need to protect your eyes, that we vote for you to just wear whatever is comfortable and will look good on the Gram. But again, they could be dropped and lost forever, so keep that in mind. Bring a backup pair – we’re sure you have those standard freebie glasses with some tech startup’s logo on them, we all do.

If you’re cruising at night or in the fall, throw a scarf in your bag. A thin scarf can hold back hair or go around your neck for a touch of warmth. But it’s Texas, so unless it’s winter, it doesn’t freeze here, so don’t overthink this accessory.

Speaking of accessorizing, wear inexpensive jewelry that you can stand to break or lose. It’s what often stands out in pictures, so grab replica costume pieces if you normally wear oversized statement pieces – don’t risk it! We’re seeing a lot of chunky gold necklaces layered with more dainty chains for ladies, and the guys are still wearing statement wristwear.

And friends, if your watch or smartwatch isn’t waterproof, avoid wearing it. Leave it at home or in the car!

Time to Talk Torso

Torso time! We know that’s not a thing, just keep reading. You’re going to be tempted to choose something blue and white because you’re a human and are thinking boat time equals nautical, but don’t limit your options. Thin fabrics are your friend – linen and cotton rule the day on a boat!

Folks that identify as females will typically wear a thin coverup over a swimsuit. But for parties on the water that don’t involve getting in the actual water, a summer dress or maxi dress or skirt is common. Shorts and a cute top can also be easier to manage if it gets windy (especially with a tank top or an off-the-shoulder thin knit sweater). If you’re a champ, go for a jumpsuit, why not? Just remember that almost anything can be made more adorable with a chambray or a cute belt.

Folks that identify as males usually shoot for shorts above the knee and a t-shirt or polo (especially if you want to take a parody shot with a popped collar and you’re doing duck lips), and for fancier shindigs, a thin blazer. But never a tie unless it’s a boat wedding (but even then, unless you’re the father of the bride, you probably won’t need a tie).

Flip Flops or Boat Shoes?

Your choice of shoes will be strongly dictated by the type of outfit you’ve chosen. Flip flops or boat shoes are the most common choices, but if you’re a person that lives in heels, a chunky wedge is acceptable.

Think about what happens on a boat – water is involved, so it could get slippery. You’re not on level ground, so you’ll need enough support to not fall over (especially if you’re drinking). Logical can still be fashionable.

When in doubt, grab a good boat shoe, even if you’ve never worn a pair before. They’re pretty fail-proof for most outfits and comfortable.

Extra Things to Toss in Your Bag

You’re going to want to bring a bag because extra items you need definitely won’t fit into your pockets (if you even have any). Go for a beach bag or a breathable fabric canvas – don’t bring an expensive vintage leather bag on board, it’s going to get splashed and your desire to look cool will melt before your eyes and you’ll probably just sulk for the rest of the party anyhow.

Okay, so what goes in the bag? Sunscreen and maybe a flask that is definitely only apple juice are necessary, but an extra outfit and a pair of flip flops can come in really handy if you swim or get splashed (or it rains). Also an extra pair or two of socks – if you bought new boat shoes, the socks could get wet, or the shoes unfresh.

Throw in a hat that can be rolled up, your backup sunglasses, and a towel. Consider adding a windbreaker to the equation because you never know what will go down.

Remember: In case of an emergency, you might have to wear a life vest, so don’t wear anything that would impede that.

Go for comfort and follow the three T’s to look like the fashionable person you are, and enjoy how badass you look in those party pics (don’t forget to pose like a pro)!