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A Refresher Course on Planning a Kickback


As we spent most of last year indoors, making our way through one virtual party after another, we may all be a bit rusty when it comes to hosting and hanging this summer. With the recent reopenings, we’re all looking forward to going out and catching up, even if it might not be as inherently familiar as it once was. So, if it’s time for you to plan a post-pandemic get-together, maybe you need a lil’ refresher on the logistics, attire, and what have you when it comes to a kickback. Fresh Clean Threads is here to remind you of the basics, since, well, we love basics.

Group huddle on kicking this thing off.

To kick off a kickback, you have to know what you’re actually kicking off. There’s no big purpose or epic celebration, though we’re on our way to toasting the end of a once-in-a-century global pandemic. Your kickback could be a movie night, a day of gaming, a pool party, some karaoke, maybe a bonfire; you name it. Blow up the group chat and see what everyone’s feeling. Everyone’s either feeling cooped up or more free than they ever have in their lives, so get a read on what your friends are in the mood for. If you go at it alone, you might have too many unexpected moods at this thing. See what everyone’s feeling.

Keep it relaxed.

Given all the excitement of (finally) catching up, you may feel some pressure for this kickback to be extra, extra, extra special...which can tack on the stress. With a kickback, remember you don’t have to go all out with decorations or a theme. It’s not a holiday party — and even then people mostly just want booze anyway. Have a friend in the group with a spacious backyard? Ditch the theaters for an outdoor screening. Hell, maybe revisit your skills at beer pong for a goofy sense of nostalgia. Really, though, after so much time apart, simply lounging with food, drinks, and music will make it feel like the party of the year.

Figure out who and what will be there.

Before going crazy with invitations, really think about who you want there. You don’t want to repeat Adrian’s Kickback, a birthday party that went viral on TikTok earlier this year and saw thousands of party-crashers causing chaos in Huntington Beach. Keep your get-together a bit intimate for conversation (and avoiding a citation for noise disruption). After finalizing a guest list with the group, put together a grocery list that won’t stress you out. Feeling fancier than your typical barbecue? Adorn a table with a charcuterie spread of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, and the like. Keep it even simpler by sticking to the classics with a potluck. Maybe do it up at the nearby beach or lake, which means two people should arrive early (with firewood and fuel) to score a spot before they run out. Also, and maybe most importantly, remember to check everyone’s food allergies and dietary restrictions so you don’t end up throwing a party in an emergency room.

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Dress fresh as hell.

What I love about kickbacks is not having to worry about overdressing for such a fun, casual occasion, even though most of us spent more than a year dressing extremely casually at home. Many of us likely got used to that sweet, sweet comfort and want to carry it over into our return to normalcy. Pairing a crew neck t-shirt or a v-neck t-shirt with a nice jacket and a solid pair of dark pants or light shorts, depending on the hour, is such an easy, breezy move that really delivers. It’s cool without overdoing it. One of my favorite looks on a guy is a heather grey crew neck t-shirt with a black bomber jacket and black joggers. Meanwhile, I personally love a white crew neck t-shirt with high-waisted shorts or ripped boyfriend jeans.

Sure, you may not have forgotten how to party in lockdown — honestly, there’s a chance you even got better at it — but trying to go too big this summer may prove all of our downfalls. Play it cool, catch up, and have yourself a lovely lil’ kickback.

— Katherine Abando

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