Howbeit, let's dive straight in shall we…
Ideally framed (and staged) within the borders of an enticingly picturesque locale such as a (city) park at sunrise, a lush meadow at brunch, or a beach at sunset, it can take on a range of characteristic forms from that of a guarded intimate affair for two in a secluded hallow to an overcrowded social gathering/public event replete with scenic views, social camaraderie, and the likelihood of some form of entertainment — from open-air theatre performances and evening movies in the park through various sporting events in the rowing and polo realm — aplenty.
Now as equally maligned as it is revered by the masses at-large (seemingly being a polarizing event that instantly divides opinions), the centuries old legacy of the picnic nonetheless remains a popular social draw as well as a cultural pillar world-round that can be capably staged most anywhere and for any passing or pressing social reason (or perhaps calling).
Being rather fluid and conceptually open to individualistic interpretation, it can consequently be tailored to thematically (as well as socially) suit any passing fancy (in cuisine, music, etc) or desire, a point in which (in regards to personal dressage and style) makes for a wide birth of possibilities in matters strictly sartorial; In truth, a picnic can result in you fashionably wearing anything from beach-friendly attire through formal smart-separates (but rarely, if ever, full dress or suiting). As such, and if otherwise left unsure as to the requirements tied to its staging locale and/or social purposing, simply ask the host as they will most often prove the most capable in regards to sorting out your explicit needs.
Thereafter slowly gaining popularity wherever polite society presided as it gracefully crept its way across various borders and the English channel (where specialized Picnic Societies were formed) before eventually landing on the other side of the Atlantic (where the American Independence Day is now regarded as one giant picnic/cookout in which typical picnic fare eating contests reign supreme), it is of particular note that (much like many other things to follow; i.e. the American Revolution and the founding of the middle-class) picnicking did not truly become a fully-fledged movement with its sights on global permeation until after the culmination of the (world-shattering) French Revolution in 1789 wherein royal parks were released from the socially restrictive bounds and pronounced open to the public at-large for the first time (anywhere) in history.
Consequently, the cultural significance of such an evolutionary event all but precipitated the falling of like-minded dominoes in other countries as picnicking in the park continued to further mold and cement itself into both the popular activity de jour (at the time) and the revered weekend tradition that it has become today amongst all classes and (most) cultures.
The rest, as they say, is history. A history that has afforded the picnic cultural reverence and social pride of place from Hawaii and Japan through London and Brisbane — and everywhere in betwixt.
Indeed, you could say it is difficult to go anywhere in the modern age where picnicking is not in the least bit popular in one (interpretive) form or another. Take for example France where Bastille Day reigns supreme as the revered picnicking day of choice or rather to that of the U.S.A. where its picnic/cookout driven 4th of July Independence Day celebrations have become quite possibly the most renowned nationwide picnicking/cookout celebration on the perennial social calendar. Ditto goes for Canada and its Canada Day celebrations as well as Italy and (its religious picnicking on) Easter Monday.
Those, of course, are but a few immediate examples that come to mind amongst what I imagine to be countless others from East to West.
Taken in as a whole, you could say each of the curated looks to follow below has a unique, underlying charm that properly channels the spirit of its prescribed destination whilst it bestows upon its bearer a properly considered sartorial touch that will play off well in tastefully befitting an elevated grown up picnic occasion rather then those of the nefarious pic-a—nic basket (although Mr. Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo do deserve note for their rakish pairing of naked neckties and hatting) or messy elementary sort.
Think smart-separates and sartorial summer staples such as elegant (and rollable) Optimo Panama’s and sleek (cashmere or merino) knit polo’s rather then board shorts, tank tops and snap-backs and you will begin to gather a picture of what awaits next…
Ralph Lauren O.C.B.D. ($120) | United Colors of Benetton Lightweight Corduroy Trousers (or J. Crew 484 Fit Chino; $70) | H&M Tortoiseshell Sunnies ($7.99) | Gucci Horsebit Smoking Loafer ($295) | Brooks Brothers Summer Plaid Scarf ($ ) | ELEVENTY Wide-Brim Panama ($95) | Vineyard Vines Hook & Slice Needlepoint Belt ($140; not shown)
Bose Sound Link Bluetooth Speaker II ($149.99) | Vintage Limoges 8-Piece Porcelain Tea Set ($125) | Rubinacci Beach/Picnic Towel ($240)
If you are cut from that peculiar cloth of individuals who is easily swayed by the (endearing) notion of marrying the beauties of Mother Nature — a meadow of flowers as far as the eye can see, a park full of freshly cut blades of grass, or endless amounts of warm sand between your toes -- to that of the prospect of good company, fine (portable) cuisine, relaxation, and halcyon days in the sun, then the picnic is undoubtably a seasonal occasion tailor-made for you.
Historically depicted in countless works of classic art and literature whilst being traditionally underscored by a quintessential laissez faire attitude as well as a charming sense of bygone romance and insouciant sartorialism, picnics are undoubtably celebratory affairs (in spite of those who believe they are a disappointing seasonal cliche) that are typically reserved for late mornings/early afternoons (i.e. brunch) but that have been known to be held during the latter stages of the afternoon and at the dawn of a day (i.e. sunsets) as well.
: A Few Rakish Moto Essentials :
Autodromo Stradale Watch ($895) | Belstaff Roadmaster ($318) | London Undercover Brolly ($67) | Forzeiri Driving Gloves ($120)
All that having been said, and irrespective of whatever form your picnic takes (i.e. on a blanket/towel, in lounging chairs or set upon an actual picnic table) or what its locale or entertainment (wireless speaker, bocce, croquet, etc.) of choice may be, you should now be able to rest assuredly in knowing that you have the sartorial know-how and the consequent self-confidence in dress to tastefully (and rakishly) conquer any picnic whilst you are properly bedecked in your finest occasional leisurewear.
Prepared, in other words, for most any picnicking affair come rain or shine.
Share your thoughts, anecdotes and opinions…
Feel free to chime in below should the inclination arise…
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