What does it say about me if my Pinterest feed is dominated by soft linens on grass, wine glasses catching a glint of the sun, straw baskets filled with flowers, and rosé under dappled light? I don’t even have to type “picnic aesthetic” into the search bar—it just knows. I am a girl on a mission to romanticize my life and when it comes to snacks under the sun, do not even come at me with that red gingham print.* I need soft and supple. I need chunks of baguettes and wide-brimmed hats. I need a dress that declares, “I am the main character in a love story.”
And the thing about these charming picnic situations is that they all scream one thing: effortless. However, therein lies the problem for me. I’m known for rocking up to a picnic table with a Yeti cooler filled will an assortment of snacks, “just in case.” I want alllll the aesthetics of a dreamy picnic AND the simplicity.
Thankfully, Camille and the team were on board to bring this Pinterest-worthy vision to life. Could this picnic aesthetic truly be so easy and yet so inspiring? The answer, I’m thrilled to say, is oui! Armed with a handful of perfectly Parisian picnic outfits from (where else?) Sézane and a paired-down spread of five simple items, we set off for an afternoon surrounded by the sounds of summer and the magical Texas wildflowers.
*Don’t be fooled, I’m a full gingham girl for the entire month July.
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French Girl-Inspired Picnic Outfit Ideas
Before we pack our picnic basket, let’s talk attire. Surprisingly, what you decide to wear might just be the most important part of this entire picnic ordeal. Though the psychology of fashion is science-backed, I think we can all agree anecdotally that our clothing has an impact on our moods. And while there are some practical non-negotiables when it comes to a picnic outfit (something you can easily sit in, for example), what you choose to wear sets the mood for the entire experience.
When it comes to channeling effortless romance, no one does it better than the Paris-born Sézane. The high-quality, feminine pieces go beyond the trends. Dresses, shirting, pants, and accessories are timeless closet staples—for picnics and beyond.
Outfit Option 1: A Billowy Dress That’s Made for Easy Movement
A go-to dress is essential for summer. Personally, I’m always looking for something with a little romance to it—a frill, lace, a puff sleeve—so that I can dress it down with a sneaker or up with a strappy sandal. When it comes to a picnic, you want something that doesn’t pinch or ride up, so the more volume the better.
Outfit Option 2: A Shirt and Shorts Combo That’s Classic and Refined
One thing I know for sure is that every chic Parisian has a classic button-down hanging in her closet. And it’s likely this exact one. Channel those summer days of old, running around the neighborhood in denim cutoffs, with a more refined look—perfect for picnic-ing.
Outfit Option 3: A Shirt Dress That’s the Best of Both Worlds
When you can’t decide between a dress and a casual button-down, there’s a clear answer—the shirt dress. Both breathable for a hot day and chic for aesthetics, it’s a clear option for a picnic outside.
What to Pack for an Aesthetic Picnic
I like to think of the picnic aesthetic as impulsive yet poised. It’s “Oh, look! The sun is shining and I absolutely must be outside!” mixed with, “But first, a trip to the market because this kitchen is empty.” Your picnic affair can be a party of one or a date—significant other or otherwise. Either way, all you need for a spread that’s both delicious and (let’s be honest) photo-worthy are these five no-prep items:
- Chilled Rosé. A bottle of wine or champagne is easily the crown jewel of any picnic. Sip it slowly and let its effervescence transport you to a world where wildflowers and poetry become your entire personality.
- A Fresh Baguette. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the French is that a baguette is not a baguette unless it is fresh from the boulangerie. But if there isn’t a bakery en route from home to your chosen field of flowers, I won’t tell.
- Cheese. Of course, there must be cheese. Grab a single favorite or get crazy and pick up one soft cheese and one hard cheese for contrasting flavors.
- Stone Fruit. It’s robust, it’s colorful, and it doesn’t require any slicing. Of course, if you’re picnic-packing outside of summer, choose a seasonal fresh fruit so it tastes best. (Jam also works in a pinch.)
- Salty Nuts. Every good spread needs a salty punch to truly make it all sing. We unapologetically packed shelled pistachios for both flavor and color aesthetics.
Grab the Necessities
To truly capture the romantic vibe of your picnic, grab a few additional items that will set the stage. First, ditch the traditional picnic blanket for a neutral sheet or tablecloth (this linen table throw was practically made for picnics). Pro tip: we’re after aesthetics but we’re not here to ruin our nice things. Bring a waterproof mat to put underneath your cloth—they’re light and easy to throw in a basket. Next, pack only the essentials to bring your spread to life: a small cheese board, cheese knives, and, of course, a wine glass (or two).
Final Touches to Capture the Picnic Aesthetic
Finally, take your picnic to the next level with the two most romantic things on God’s green earth: words and fresh flowers. Pack a novel or a collection of poetry. Or better yet, bring a journal to write down your own words. And there’s no shame in buying yourself flowers or picking a few along the way. Even a few blooms will add a touch of whimsy to your picnic spot—as if you’ve stepped into your very own secret garden.
To wrap it all up, let’s keep it real. Life is far from romantic all the time. Did we step in multiple ant piles on the way to our ~dreamy~ field location? Absolutely. But this is your moment to embrace the wonders of everyday life, pesky ant piles or not. At the risk of sounding sappy, the joy of living is truly in the journey, and more often than not, it’s in our choices. It’s the lens through which we choose to see life. So, put on rosé colored glasses. Wear the dress. Pour the wine. Pretend to understand the poetry. And embrace the singular moment for what it is—utterly romantic.
The joy of living is truly in the journey, and more often than not, it’s in our choices. It’s the lens through which we choose to see life.