Now that we are allowed to meet one person for a picnic, the empty spaces in our diaries are starting to fill: chats on park benches, coffee catch-ups beneath the cherry blossom — and from March 29, groups of six can meet outside too.
As well as an opportunity to dust off our rusty conversational skills, it’s also a chance to wear something more exciting.
Suddenly, repeat-wearing our favourite outfit is no longer an option. So, what makes a great alfresco look? Jumpsuits or trousers, or a midi/maxi hemline are wise, so you don’t have to worry about flashing your knickers when sitting on the grass.
Pictured left: Jacket, £155, reiss.com; jumpsuit, £250, lkbennett. com; sunglasses, £165, aspinaloflondon.com; bottle and bottle bag, £135, londonvelvet.co.uk; shoes, £45, marksandspencer.com. Pictured right: Dress, £189, hobbs.com; belt, £75, reiss.com; shoes, £90, dunelondon. com; flask, £25, fortnumandmason.com
Pictured left: Dress, £195, seraphinalondon. com; shoes, £85, boden.co.uk; Two-person picnic hamper, £275, fortnumand mason.com. Pictured right: Jacket, £395, and trousers, £225, thefoldlondon. com; bag, £75, lkbennett.com; shoes, £195, russelland bromley.co.uk
Speaking of which, if your picnic blanket took a battering last summer, consider a top-notch replacement, such as the Fortnum & Mason check rug with a leather carrier (third from right). It’s not yet warm enough to go sleeveless, but a fresh, bright palette — sunny yellow, pale pink, crisp white, sky-blue — gives your outfit a spring-like lift, even if you’re quite covered up. Take Hobbs’s long, buttoned-up shirt dress in daffodil yellow (second from left), for instance.
Park bench picnics demand a touch of whimsy, with woven bags, broderie anglaise, floaty florals and gingham. If you want to wear checks in a grown-up way, the lightweight Italian wool jacket and matching trousers from The Fold (middle) hit the right note. Just add gold hoops.
Blouse, £59, hushuk. com; trousers, £205, essentielantwerp. com; shoes, £80, dune london.com; picnic rug, £70, fortnumandmason.com
And if you’re after good-quality dresses with a difference, try Seraphina London’s striped style with a bib front (third from left), or Lily and Lionel’s silk floral print (second from right).
For nippier days, you’ll want a denim jacket, such as Reiss’s mid-blue wash style (far left). A trench is another spring staple — I love the pastel colour-blocking twist on Palones’s design (far right).
With the world starting to open up, everything feels more hopeful, and even choosing what to wear to sit on a park bench is a thrill. So fill a flask with coffee — or grab paper cups for some rosé — and pray the weather stays fine.
Pictured left: Dress, £360, lilyandlionel. com; headband, £7.50, marksand spencer.com; shoes, £80, dune london.com. Pictured right: Coat, £145, palones official.com; blouse, £49, monsoon. co.uk; skirt, £195, chinti andparker. com; bag, £550, aspinal oflondon. com; shoes, £69, hobbs. com
Jewellery worn throughout: earrings, £22, and bangles, £25, orelia.co.uk; ring, £99, daisy jewellery.com; bracelet, £320, monicavinader.com