The new out-leisure essentials

The new outleaisure essentials
Karen Dacre,-Fashion Editor at Large

With outdoor socialising back on the agenda, here’s everything you need to enjoy it, whatever the British weather throws at you…

Prince sang ‘sometimes it snows in April,’ and it did – just days after the government put outdoor socialising back on the menu. Of course, as we took to our parks and gardens in groups of six, the sun shone too – and then the gale force winds came along…

A quick audit of the long-term forecast suggests we can expect more of the same for the next month as the changeable beast that is the great British weather (don’t you just love it?) seeks to play havoc with our plans for al fresco celebrations and outdoor reunions. Don't worry about it, though – here’s our guide to getting out there in style, come rain, shine or snow…

The ‘any weather’ anorak

Whether you’re embarking on your 8,000th walk of the year or are bound for the beer garden at your local pub, outerwear is everything. Those wanting to embrace this season’s countryfile aesthetic should consider a padded style (channel the Queen at Balmoral), while for anyone seeking a genuinely sensible solution, it’s all about the lightweight parka. Opt for neutral shades and oversized silhouettes, and you’ll end up with an anorak that stands the test of time.

The overshirt

The overshirt

For those dry spring days when the wind still bites, an overshirt is ideal. Seek out light or neutral shades and layer over anything from a chunky knit to your favourite pair of city shorts. A well-chosen shirt will also work beautifully over a floral-print dress, making it the perfect accompaniment to any picnic hamper.

Footwear to suit everyday

If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it is that footwear comfort is vital. Soggy walks demand welly boots – spring brings with it the opportunity to experiment with ankle-length styles. A pair of sandals you can pound pavements in is also a wise option. To update your beloved hiking boots try experimenting with accessories: a vibrant sock choice can work wonders on even the most lacklustre of looks.

The beer-garden knit

Supersized sweaters and cardis are about to become as critical to your night-out attire as the clutch bag once was. Seek out seasonal shades and layer over everything from pleated skirts to playsuits for a result that radiates effortless elegance and rivals even the most ferocious of firepits for warmth factor.

The hoodie to huddle in

The hoodie to huddle in

No longer an add-on to your sportswear but a wardrobe classic, a decent hoodie is worth its weight in gold. Throw yours on under a denim jacket for a laidback look that fends off the chills. Or layer your hoodie over a pretty floral dress for an outfit that has youth on its side. While hoodies in neutral shades are the most versatile option, colour need not be avoided. Lavender is a dreamy alternative for anyone who has finally tired of grey. 

The essential layers

The essential layers

If April 2021 were to come with a dress code, layering would feature heavily. Indeed, it’s with long-sleeve T-shirts positioned under slip dresses or fine-gauge turtle knits peeking out from under our overshirt of choice that we will see out spring with ease. Top up your collection of base layers with super-soft basics in shades you love. You’ll find they become the hardest working additions to your wardrobe. 

Jeans for days – and nights

Full-length jeans in a light-wash or sugary shade are a foolproof solution for anyone seeking a spring look with the power to keep the chills at bay. The key here is to opt for styles that give full leg coverage –there is no room for frozen ankles here. Summery hues will give the illusion of a warm summer’s day, even when your teeth are chattering. 

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