Picnic outfit ideas: How to dress when eating alfresco this summer

Looking for picnic outfit ideas? This is what a fashion expert recommends for outdoor dining this summer

Picnic outfit ideas holding shot
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It's time to get those picnic outfit ideas sorted. With the sun shining, get ready to dust off your baskets and bring out your blankets, alfresco snacking season is here. 

Whether you’re meeting up with friends, spending time with your significant other, or enjoying time with your family, there’s something joyous about eating outside. And, while good food and company might be guaranteed, the weather isn’t always quite so reliable. This, coupled with the fact that you’re likely to be perched on a blanket, rather than sitting on a chair, makes choosing what to wear to a picnic that bit trickier.

Starting from the ground up, sensible shoes are a must. Leave your heeled espadrilles at home and instead opt for a flat sandal, trainer, or ankle boot. To steer clear of a wardrobe malfunction when sitting down, keep hemlines midi or maxi, or, for the safest bet, stick to trousers or jeans. When it comes to picnic outfit ideas, layers are key too, giving you the option to add or take away depending on whether the sun is shining or the wind is starting to whip throughout the day. 

Picnic outfit ideas for a chic summer look

picnic outfit ideas midi dress

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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 Fully 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.

picnic outfit ideas wide leg jeans

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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.

picnic outfit ideas coords

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3. Co-ord

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. Shorts and trousers 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.

picnic outfit ideas jumpsuit

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4. Jumpsuit

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 2022, 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. 

picnic outfit ideas sweatshirts

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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. If you've opted for jeans or a pair of wide-leg, block-color pants, then embrace dopamine dressing and go bold. 

picnic outfit ideas straw bags

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6. Straw bag

There’s something very whimsical about taking a straw bag to a picnic and they also double up as some of the best beach bags for twice the wear. 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 in 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. 

Picnic outfit ideas with shorts

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7. Shorts

Shorts and summer go together like strawberries and picnics. Although denim cut-offs are ideal as part of your holiday outfit ideas, 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. Layer 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 everyday look. 

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.