The number one accessory on your summer chic list, which will allow you to carry everything you need, is the beach bag. However, it has to meet some practical and aesthetic criteria. So forget about that nasty free bag (the one you got because you bought three bottles of sun cream - not chic) that won't last the summer anyway. You can also forget about your favourite designer tote bag (the one you got for your birthday - too chic), it won't survive the mix of salt + sun cream + sand. The ideal bag? A strong basket large enough to carry everything you need. And there are plenty of beautiful ones to choose from.
Once you've found your ideal spot, be sure to place your basket in the shade. Staying nearby or travelling by car? Why not bring along a lightweight folding chair so you can sun yourself in comfort. Sitting in a chair means you can happily read all day long avoiding pains and strains (not chic). And your sand-hating e-book will thank you too.
And of course you can always use your straw mat for a little post lunch siesta. Its credentials? Unlike a towel, it's easy to de-sand and can be rolled up neatly and placed in the basket. And don't forget to bring a sarong! This magic versatile (and chic) accessory can be worn around the waist or used as a portable changing room.
So, you've read your book, had lunch, taken a little nap and sunbathed, by our calculations the day is drawing to an end. So, what's the verdict? Still looking chic?
Arriving at the beach or camp site looking chic is easy, staying that way is not so simple. Here are a few simple tips for maintaining your dignity on the beach or under canvas.
At lunch time, your picnic will resemble a Victorian summer luncheon party rather than a refugee camp. What do mean, you don't like sand in your salad? Be prepared and make sure you have the right kit for the occasion: a sealed picnic box, rigid plates (we can't praise melamine enough) rather than paper plates that tend to get soggy and disintegrate. And finally, arrange your picnic on a straw mat covered with a tablecloth. (Don't forget to bring along a bag for all your rubbish and another for your rinsed plates, etc.).