There's no better time to get your picnic outfit ideas in check. With the warmer weather officially upon us, bring your socializing outdoors for a spot of alfresco dining and have your summery ensembles ready to go.
Picnics are the ideal way to boost your time outside this summer. A quintessentially sunny activity, putting together the best picnic outfit ideas will ensure your transition from couch to picnic blanket is a smooth one, as there is a certain level of practicality needed. Picnics in general require sitting on grass, or a picnic blanket, meaning planning your outfit ahead of the event is wise.
Starting from the ground up, sensible shoes are a must, as heels and grass is not a mix you'll want to contend with. A sneaker or a summer sandal will help you navigate grassy terrain, and ideally, something that slips on or off easily if you want to stay extra comfy. As you will likely be sat on the ground, when it comes to picnic outfit ideas, hemlines are important. The safest bet is shorts or a pair of jeans or pants with plenty of give. However, if you want to wear a dress or skirt, opt for fuller, A-line shapes as these allow you ease of movement, and ensure you have a midi or maxi hemline so you can sit on the floor and cross your legs if you choose.
Picnic outfit ideas for a chic summer look
Your existing summer capsule wardrobe is likely to already be packed with plenty of pieces that will translate well to picnic outfit ideas, but we've pulled together some of our favorite picnic-ready looks so all you need to worry about is the sandwiches.
1. Midi dress
For a throw-on-and-go outfit that requires minimal styling, a midi dress is hard to beat. Just add comfortable flats and a roomy bag and you’re good to go. The longer length of the best midi dresses makes them perfect for covering your legs when sitting down on a picnic blanket. While any midi dress will fulfill the brief, A-line designs will allow you to sit cross-legged more easily than straighter designs. Embrace summer with full-bloom prints and romantic pastel shades, or keep it simple in more muted tones. The best summer dresses are the ones that go with everything and will take you anywhere, so they're well worth the investment.
RRP: $84 / £69 | The hand-painted motif makes this poppy print extra special. Wear trainers for a picnic and trade for heels for special summer occasions, as this would also make one of the best wedding guest dresses this summer.
RRP: $110 / £65 | A tea dress is a classic silhouette that will never date. Denim is a truly timeless pick too, so this piece is sure to last you for years to come. Dress up with statement jewelry and strappy sandals.
2. Wide-leg jeans
Picnics are great fun, but we’re fierce advocates of the fact that it’s very hard to enjoy a good meal comfortably while wearing skinny jeans. Enter instead wide-leg jeans and pants. Stylish and remarkably comfortable all at once, this roomier style looks just as good teamed with a romantic blouse as it does with your best t-shirt or sweatshirt. If you’re worried about what to wear with wide leg pants, or are concerned the wider shape will overwhelm your frame, choose a pair that are cropped at the ankle and team them with a form-fitting top to keep everything perfectly proportioned. Perfect for transitional weather or cooler summer evenings, the best jeans won't let you down.
RRP: $31 / £25.90 | Marks & Spencer makes some of the best jeans and this wide leg cut is super flattering. Fitting snug at the waist and hips, before becoming looser on the leg, they're available in four washes so you can find your perfect match.
RRP: $57 / £47 | You don't just have to stick with classic blue. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with different colored denim, and we can't get enough of this pink pair for a hit of seasonal dopamine dressing.
RRP: $48 / £40 | '70s-inspired, these jeans have minimal stretch to ensure they keep their distinctive shape. The dark wash gives these jeans a smarter finish, so you can pair them easily with a shirt and blazer, finishing off with dressy flats.
We’ve all been there, holding a top and bottoms in the mirror agonizing over whether they “go together”. With a co-ord, there’s no need to wonder, as these pieces are designed to be worn as a set - and they're ideal for answering how to dress like Carrie Bradshaw. Shorts and pants win for practicality over skirts, but both will look equally chic as you soak up the sunshine. You can consider mixing and matching both parts of your co-ord with other items in your wardrobe too, to max out your cost-per-wear - capsule wardrobe dressing at its best.
RRP: $121 / £65 for the set | For adaptable pieces that answer what to pack for a beach vacation, this co-ord ticks every box. Lightweight but with full coverage, it is ideal for sunny and cloudy days alike. Wear this absolutely anywhere with trainers or heels come evening.
RRP: $171 / £108 for set | This sophisticated co-ord gives the illusion of a dress, making for an ideal look for more formal picnic or outdoor dining occasions. Simply add your best sandals in timeless tan to complete the look.
Craving sartorial simplicity? A flattering jumpsuit is one of the best picnic outfit ideas. The all-in-one shape means there’s no need to worry about matching tops and bottoms, as well as offering added comfort. One of the big denim trends 2023, a denim boilersuit is a smart choice for cooler picnic days, as the thicker fabric will help keep you warm. When it comes to denim washes, the lighter the denim, the more casual, and more summery, your look will feel. Utility jumpsuits in easy-breezy cotton and linen are great for warmer days. Look to safari-inspired shades of khaki and sand for a laid-back feel.
RRP: $49.99 / £34.99 | If you prefer a looser silhouette, try a wide-leg jumpsuit. With delicate frilled sleeves and a cool linen blend fabric, this is a piece that you will wear again and again this season come rain or shine.
RRP: $73 / £59.99 | It’s always worth investing in pieces that can be worn for multiple occasions, and this fits the bill. Style up with the best designer heels and a minimalist clutch bag and you've got a formal look in an instant.
5. Statement sweater
Wind starting to bite? No bother. A stylish slogan sweatshirt will keep you warm when the sun is hiding behind the clouds as well as adding a point of difference to your look. Neutrals like black, white, and grey are guaranteed to go with any outfit, but for a summery feel, we love bright, look-at-me colors. Not sure what shades go with what? If you’re already wearing a print, look to see which colors feature within it and choose your best sweater in the same, or similar, shade. White jeans always make the perfect base for an outfit with a bright sweater, particularly in sunny weather.
RRP: $108 / £89 | Whistles is our go-to for fun statement sweatshirts. A key spring/summer fashion trend 2023, it's less about wearing our hearts on our sleeves this season and more about messages emblazoned across our chests. Use this one to add some Parisian flair to your summer looks.
RRP: $39 / £22 | The perfect way to liven up a neutral outfit, this playful sweatshirt is cool and cozy. Opt for a size up for a comfy throw-over piece that will give your best loungewear a run for its money, or go more fitted to balance out wide leg pants or a flowy skirt on the bottom.
RRP: $60 / £50 | This is a true season-less piece that you are guaranteed to wear month after month. In a neutral color palette but with a lighthearted slogan, it is the ideal balance of chic and casual. Dress up with white linen trousers and some sparkly earrings for an evening picnic date.
6. Straw bag
There’s something very whimsical about taking a straw bag to a picnic, and they're great for holiday outfit ideas too. A modern take on the classic picnic hamper, a generously sized straw bag will make room for all your essentials, plus your contribution to the food and drink. The open shape means all your belongings are within easy reach too. Black, white, or tan leather straps feel traditional, with the added bonus of coordinating with any outfit, while bright straps and pops of color will add extra interest. Style up with the best linen dresses or some wide-leg pants and sandals.
RRP: $157 / £129 | One of the best sustainable clothing brands, Baukjen have great accessories too. The neon blue strap gives a modern update to the traditional basket bag. If you want a color that feels instantly more summery, there is an orange strapped version too.
RRP: $42 / £35 | One of the best tote bags for everyday use in the summer months, this rectangular raffia iteration benefits from a magnetic popper closure, allowing you to draw the sides together. We love the standout bold stripe for added detail.
Shorts and summer go together like strawberries and picnics. Although denim cut-offs are essential for a travel capsule wardrobe, when it comes to shorts for picnics, opt for lightweight linen pairs to keep you cool as the mercury rises. Shorts with a more tailored shape (think front pleats, high waists and a built-in belt) will instantly feel smarter, while elasticated waists and curved hemlines add a sporty feel. Wear with a linen shirt over the top (make sure to half-tuck if it's an oversized design) and finish with chunky sandals or platform white trainers for a cool smart casual outfit idea.
RRP: $59 / £45 | Tip-toeing the line between smart and sporty, these beige shorts look smart but have a relaxed, comfortable fit. A great alternative to tailored pants or a tight skirt, the slightly longer leg on these shorts make them easier to wear day to day.
RRP: $35.90 / £22.99 | Thanks to the drawstring fit, these shorts can be adjusted for a looser or more form fitting look. Light and airy, they'll pair beautifully with an oversized white shirt or tank top for scorching days. Style with a matching pink handbag for a cohesive look.