10 Items That Are Perfect for a Summer Spent Outdoors


(Image credit: MarieJedig)

There's nothing like months spent inside to make you crave the great outdoors. After spending most of 2020 in a second-floor flat with no balcony or outdoor space, I've been dreaming of fields and walks that don't involve dodging people on pavements. Whether you're isolating in the Cotswolds or Clapton, the lockdown has brought on a nationwide appreciation of nature. I've personally been pressing daisies I've collected from the banks of East London's canals and now class a bike ride as my perfect activity. Turns out I'm not alone, and this has a name: cottagecore.

It's an internet aesthetic that started trending on the platform TikTok which The Guardian defines as "a visual and lifestyle movement designed to fetishize the wholesome purity of the outdoors." Holiday pictures on Instagram have been replaced by images of freshly baked sourdough, bikes with baskets filled with hand-picked flowers and art-directed picnics. This social media trend is also impacting how people dress, with a return to nostalgic countryside styling. Think Princess Diana on a weekend away in the country with vintage floral tea dresses, basket bags, colourful gingham and shorts sets.


(Image credit: Hill House Vintage)

Keep scrolling to see the 10 items that are perfect for a summer spent outdoors—whether you're in the countryside or just pretending you are. 

1. Floral Minidresses


(Image credit: Lucy Williams)

Look for minidresses in vintage floral prints that look straight out of a Laura Ashley catalogue. 

2. Gingham Prints


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Gingham is a print that will always remind me of summers spent outdoors. Don't just stick to a classic navy check—play with colourful ginghams for a real picnic feel. 

3. Cute Hats


(Image credit: ASOS Lotte)

This is an item many of us won't have worn since we were 6 years old, but printed hats look so cute with white sundresses or shirts. 

4. White Linen


(Image credit: Thandimaq)

Cottagecore is all about simplicity, and when it comes to getting dressed, nothing is simpler than a white summer dress. 

5. Shorts Sets


(Image credit: Aimee Song)

This is practical yet cool and so perfect for all outdoor activities—from cycling to rounders.

6. Hair Accessories


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Bows! Shells! Pearls! A hair clip is a lovely finishing touch to any outfit. 

7. Basket Bags


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A basket bag is a cottagecore essential. You need something to carry your freshly baked sourdough and sweet peas, after all.

8. Green


(Image credit: Dronme)

This is an obvious one, but opt for colours that you'll find in the countryside.

9. Pretty Collars


(Image credit: Alexa Chung)

You can't talk about nostalgic fashion trends without mentioning a frilly collar. In our books, the more lace the better.

10. Pastel Knitwear


(Image credit: Lena Farl)

For those unpredictable days, knitwear is a countryside essential at any time of year. Opt for pastel colours and cropped cardigans for a more summery feel.

Next, see our guide to the key trends for spring/summer 2021.

Emma Spedding