Blanket blanket – what to wear for a perfect picnic
Although much of the UK’s restaurant terraces and pub gardens opened in mid-April, if you’re like me, you’ll have tried half a dozen places and failed to make it out. find a reservation in one of them. The only way forward, in my opinion, is to start eating al fresco in the parks, gardens and hills of this green and pleasant land.
So on to our picnic blankets we move around, but what to wear once we’re settled down, scottish egg in hand? For sartorial inspiration, there is the immortal moment of 1955 To catch a thief, when Cary Grant and Grace Kelly stop for a sarnie drive on the road between Nice and Monte-Carlo, Grant wearing one of his favorite charcoal flannel suits and a navy blue tie.
And then there’s the great mid-safari picnic of the 1985s Outside of Africa, in which Meryl Streep and Robert Redford share more sneaky glances at their massive linen blanket than bite-sized snacks. The latter ensemble over white jeans and a green corduroy overshirt is a thing of excellence for the outdoors, despite the potential grass stains.
When it comes to your own trans-seasonal picnic outfit, a good place to start is your base layers. The understated T-shirts from Swedish underwear brand CDLP are crafted from heavy lyocell and Pima cotton, and are surprisingly insulated.
A shiny, oversized heavy Oxford cotton shirt would be my suggestion for the next layer. One of the preppy Oxford styles from Ralph Lauren polo shirt (£ 115, ralphlauren.co.uk), Drake (£ 175, drakes.com) or Japanese brand Beams More (£ 175, mrporter.com) will look both summery and, if worn under a sweater, will keep that all-important prosecco-induced heat inside your body where it belongs.
When it comes to sweaters, there’s excellent Sebastian Flyte-infused allure on the periwinkle, dusty pink and heather sweaters from the Californian knitwear brand. The elder statesman (£ 695, mrporter.com), while Tom ford makes an excellent lilac crew neck sweater made from fine gauge alpaca and silk (£ 670, mrporter.com).
On top of that, my recommendation would be to invest in a puffy version of a work jacket. British men’s ready-to-wear brand SMR days has a wonderful embroidered option in faded cobalt cotton (£ 325, smrdays.com), while for something a little warmer the Italian brand Aspesi and the internal label of Mr Porter Mr. P both make smart versions of a corduroy chore jacket (£ 412, farfetch.com; £ 195, mrporter.com). The latter offers one in a delightful shade of teal that will look nicely appealing with your lilac cashmere underlay.
On your legs it must be some Redford-inspired white jeans. High street mark Arket is a great place to go for a pair of the more affordable side of the picnic blanket (£ 69, arket.com), while Jil sanderStraight-cut white carpenters are (expensive) denim perfection (£ 460, matchesfashion.com).
The final finishes of your outfit should be sunglasses (PersolSteve McQueen’s new special editions are both chic and masculine (£ 319, persol.com) and a cover. The best of these can be found in the classic tartan at Fortnum and Mason (£ 110, fortnumandmason.com) and terry cloth in snazzier patterns at Pendleton (£ 120, mrporter.com).
You can go further with a fashion blanket from Raf Simons (£ 440, matchesfashion.com) or Loewe (£ 450, loewe.com), extravagantly draping it in the style of a shawl to tone down the fact that you’re drinking sparkling grape juice from a plastic glass sitting on cold English soil, instead of eating on a panuzzo mortadella on the Grande Corniche. Sigh.
Teo van den Broeke is the styling and grooming director at GQ magazine
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