Every meal you eat should be a special, delightful occasion – a celebration of life, the fruits of the Earth, and beauty. The scale can be grand or modest, depending on the time and means you can invest in each particular mealtime, and it is indeed best to enjoy variety when possible. There is hardly a more wholesome, cheerful and charming way of arranging one’s meal than the picnic. Eating outside, in the shade of trees, on the softest and most charming lawn or field of flowers, naturally elevates the spirit to a joyful plane. Staging an impromptu picnic is commendable whenever the chance presents itself, and the most commonplace meal ingredients are magically transformed into a gorgeous feast in garden or wild nature. A planned picnic is one of the most pleasant ways to spend an afternoon, and as an added bonus, it allows ladies to indulge in the sweetest modes which would in other circumstances be out of place. Even those who have not recognized the call of Beauty, often feel an indescribable pull towards pretty dresses with swishing hems, when preparing for a picnic.
Trailing skirts are naturally out of place, as they might get torn and soiled, but pretty fluttering ribbons may be worn, and are effective. Light, fresh colors, happily blended or contrasted, are perfectly appropriate. Some ladies elect to display a coquettish taste in a dainty little white apron worn while dinner is preparing and eaten, and then packed away in the lunch-basket.
French cambric is one of the prettiest materials that can be selected for a picnic dress. It is light and cool, yet stout enough to bear some pulling and straining; it washes well, and can be made in pretty fashion. White embroidery alternating with rows of pintucks and Valenciennes lace is excellent plan for those whose type is dreamy and a bit fragile. Swiss-dotted muslin is a perennial classic, which exudes summery air and suits many types and ages, as is good broderie anglaise (be on your guard when selecting broderie anglaise material, there is unfortunately circulating plenty of inferior produce). A serviceable chintz fashioned into a wide-skirted dress suits the more active and energetic lady. Everyone should accessorize with a broad hat, which stays securely on the head even in the case of a sudden gust of wind. If gloves are worn, they are best of white cotton, that may be afterwards washed, but gloves at a picnic are not de rigueur, and may perfectly well be left at home – being in Nature in fair weather is in a spiritual sense akin to being at home, via the similarity to Paradise our spiritual home, and so gloves feel a bit excessive. Regular leather handbags look invariably too stiff, and should be substituted with a woven basket of some kind. Each lady should decide between rattan, straw, willow, birch-bark and various other materials according to her type and preference. The hand-basket should in no case be so large as to become cumbersome. Also crocheted pouches are suitable for picnic.
Picnics can be enjoyed not only in the height of summer, but also when the days are growing shorter and air is pleasantly crisp. Autumnal picnic is a very different affair from the summery one, and requires a more sportive air from the participants and also from their outfits. Autumn picnic is a pleasant climax to a day of frisk outdoor exercise. Hand-knitted cardigans and wide skirts of stout material are the logical choice, but do not forget to add a touch of gaiety to this practical ensemble with perky colours.