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
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.
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: $47 / £39 | A tea dress is a classic silhouette that will never date. One of the big fashion color trends 2022, lilac is everywhere this summer. In a cute floral print, the V-neckline and button front offers a flattering finish.
RRP: $84 / £69 | Simple and oh-so-chic, this relaxed, stone wash, classic wrap linen dress is understated dressing at its very best. An ideal choice for what to wear in the heat, the linen fabric will ensure this dress has added breathability.
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.
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 | An extra kick of fabric flaring from the knee, when it comes to how to style flared jeans, the rules are similar to wide leg pants, as it's about balancing proportions. The bleached denim will pop against a white t-shirt.
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.
RRP: $120 / £99.98 for set | The intricate paisley print looks more premium than its price tag. Wear the shirt open with a cami layered beneath and team with denim skirts or shorts for a more dressed-down feel. The high waist finish on the pants make it ideal for teaming with tucked in tees or cropped tops
RRP: $119 / £98 for set | Bring a spot of coastal chic to your picnic with this coral-printed two-piece. With the appearance of a dress, the fluted hemline is super flattering and will put a stop hemline tugging when sat on a picnic rug. 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 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.
RRP: $30 / £24.99 | If you prefer a looser silhouette, try a wide-leg jumpsuit. With a summer-ready short sleeve, figure-flattering V-neck and front button detailing the elasticated waist also puts comfort high on the agenda.
RRP: $73 / £59.99 | It’s always worth investing in pieces that will take you from season to season, and the khaki hue and flowing fabric will ensure this jumpsuit does just that. Nail how to wear high top Converse with this jumpsuit too.
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.
RRP: $108 / £89 | Whistles is are our go-to for fun statement sweatshirts. A key fashion trend 2022, 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: $65 / £54 | Picnic weather can be unpredictable, but at least in this sweater your clothes are guaranteed some sunshine. The perfect way to liven up a monochrome outfit, this bold yellow design with repeat pattern can be teamed with jeans or skirts for happy but cozy feel.
RRP: $46 / £38 | Wear your favorite Austen on your chest thanks to this super soft jersey sweatshirt. The dark forset green hue means this jumper can easily find its way into your fall outfits too, teaming well with all autumnal and neutral hues for a fun and literature-loving finish.
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.
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 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.
RRP: $42 / £35 | Tip-toeing the line between smart and sporty, these vibrant apple green shorts are sure to brighten up your outfit. A great alternative to the best green dresses the slightly longer leg on these shorts make them easier to wear day to day.
RRP: $66 / £55 | Thanks to the tailored shape and weighty linen fabric, these mid-thigh shorts hang beautifully. A smarter silhouette, depending on your office dress code, you could wear these to work too with a white shirt and a pair of trend-led cage sandals.
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.
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