There is only one place to be seen on a weekend morning, and it is not at a yoga class or brunch – 2017 and 2016, respectively – but at the market. This summer, if you are not spending your Saturday morning floating between stalls, squeezing peaches and gently flirting with artisan cheesemakers, then you need to at least look as if you are.
Pack away the athleisure, and dress as if for a trip to the market. It’s a reasonably practical aesthetic, but firmly sighted on a dream lifestyle. You may be going to buy potatoes and an overpriced pain au chocolat at a farmers’ market in a primary school playground, but should look as if you’re in Provence, browsing brocante in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, or handing over your euros for waxed paper parcels of pissaladière to take home for lunch in Lourmarin.
It starts with a basket. The girl with the straw basket is the new domestic goddess: one part homely and relatable, one part glamorous and aspirational. A day in which a straw basket is appropriate is, by definition, a good day. It requires no heavy lifting: you can only fit a couple of baguettes and a bottle of rosé, max, so someone else is going to have to go to Tesco and get the dishwasher tablets. Unlike the drearily useful cloth tote, it is unwieldy once filled, suggesting your outing is a brief potter before returning to the sofa, rather than a day-long endurance test. The straw basket has evening-bag attitude – this is playtime; practicality be damned. This bag is for a jaunt, not a chore.
What to wear with the basket? A jumpsuit, like this one, has the right insouciance. As does a full skirt, or a shirt dress. Off-the-shoulder is very market dressing (quite French, a bit dressy but in a nonchalant way). Also market dressing are: culottes, clothes that button through, lightly tanned skin, big earrings, hats, ponytails tied with silk scarves. But not all at once, please. This is important. You want to bring a soupçon of Françoise Hardy to your stroll out for coffee and the papers, not look as if you are in drag as Bardot.
Market dressing, like its Saturday morning predecessor athleisure, works for the weekend because it combines practicality (a skirt or jumpsuit you can walk in, reasonably sensible shoes, easy-going fabrics) with enough stardust to honour your leisure time as the precious commodity it is. Market dressing is for days off which do not include long journeys or early starts or complex scheduling. The best kind of days, in other words. And well worth dressing up for.
• Jess wears jumpsuit, £179, and earrings, £29, both whistles.com. Bag, £29.99, zara.com. Heels, £50, office.co.uk. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Management.
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