If you asked us to describe the perfect warm-weathered afternoon, chances are it would involve a picnic of some sort. Whether it's on the beach or in the park, dining alfresco is one of our favorite activities! That said, we were thrilled to find that so many designers and brands interpreted classic elements of this beloved daytime adventure-think: gingham prints, woven accessories, and bright colors-in their spring collections, albeit with refreshing, contemporary twists. From a printed peplum top to a darling bikini, we've culled a selection of standout pieces with that perfect picnic spirit, all of which are unquestionably stylish, one hundred percent on trend, and completely accessible!
While picnic-inspired outfits were present on a number of S/S 12 runways, the inspiration for today's story started at Marc Jacobs, where the designer showed a mix of dark gingham prints and lots of patent leather-very downtown picnic, if you will. In the look above, we particularly like that the Green Gingham Crinkle Organza Short Sleeve Shirt ($650, 323 653 5100) is relatively sheer, giving the otherwise preppy pattern an edgy update, while the Mint Jacket with Ruffled Cuff and Fringe Detail ($3995, 323 653 5100) and Ivory Pencil Skirt ($1900, 323 653 5100) offer a dash of cool sophistication. The use of gingham at Jil Sander is also worth noting, especially the matching Jacket ($2630) and Trousers ($970) combination featured above. The sky-blue checked print makes it obvious that designer Raf Simons drew inspiration from the outside dining experience, yet the outfit's plunging neckline and lean silhouette keep it feeling quite sophisticated and definitely modern! In addition to all of the picnic-style clothing we spotted on the runways, we noticed a handful of on-trend accessories too, like Fendi's B. Fab Handbag ($3000, 310.276.8888), which, with its woven design and relaxed shape, is the perfect carrier for casual spring afternoons!
Dying to incorporate some picnic spirit into your daily rotation this season? Well today's your lucky day, because we've got a spectacular assortment of pieces sure to inject your wardrobe with serious style. For those seeking items swathed in gingham, we'd like to direct you to Claudia Schiffer's Fine-Knit Silk and Linen-Blend Plaid Dress ($500). This easy-breezy frock is perfect for weekend outings, not to mention the sunny hue will instantly energize your look. We're also fond of Julia Haus' Micas Skirt ($380), thanks to the asymmetrical draping and exposed zipper, and Lisa Curran's retro Ashei Bikini ($108)-Beach Blanket Bingo anyone?
As you might have gathered, gingham prints aren't the only way to address today's outdoor look! A floral pattern makes an excellent alternative, especially in a mix of pretty colors as seen on J. Crew's Peplum Top in Fresco Floral Sateen ($350) in Midnight Green. We adore the femininity of the bold botanical print and peplum silhouette, and think the top would look smart worn with a pair of cropped trousers now or American Eagle's Denim Boyfit Midi Shorts ($39.50) in Medium Vintage when temperatures begin to heat up. Of course, no picnic outfit would be complete without a pair of chic yet practical wedges! Our vote is for Old Navy's Mixed-Pleated Wedges ($30) with their playful shoelace ankle ties and cork heels.
As for accessories, San Diego Hat Co.'s Seagrass Bag ($60) is an on-point selection. Its structured, picnic basket-like shape embodies the spirit of today's theme perfectly and even better, woven accents are a key trend for spring! Since your clothing will do most of the talking, we recommend sticking to minimal, fuss-free jewelry, like Sarah Chloe's dainty Ella Bangles ($98 each). Available in rose gold, yellow gold, and silver, these little baubles are chic on their own and great for stacking. Finally, our beauty recommendation for today's look is MAC's Tendertone Lip Balm ($15) in Purring. The tangerine gloss offers a hint of sheer color while simultaneously conditioning your lips, making it the perfect complement to all your sprightly picnic-inspired ensembles!-Jessica Baker