What I wear to open-air theatre

In the UK it’s nearly always about bringing enough layers to keep up with the plunging temperatures - Sarah Brick
In the UK it’s nearly always about bringing enough layers to keep up with the plunging temperatures - Sarah Brick

You’d expect me to say that clothes matter – but when it comes to enjoying an outdoor theatre expedition, as opposed to merely surviving it, they’re make or break.

In the UK it’s nearly always about bringing enough layers to keep up with the plunging temperatures, without ending up looking like a blanket installation at Tate Modern. Tricky if you’re going straight from work and the day has been hot.

Normally I like to dress up, at least a bit, for the theatre. Not a tiara, but I wouldn’t wear jeans. Even a fancy pair seems a bit too casual – but that’s more to do with self-imposed dress codes, the goal of which is to make the all-round experience as enjoyable as possible. It’s personal.

For me, comfortable but tailored trousers – with a long-sleeved T-shirt and cashmere jumper – fit the bill nicely. Taupe trousers are suddenly everywhere this summer and I’ve been living in my Jigsaw ones: they’re a sophisticated, summery shade, more practical than cream, and lovely with brown or khaki. This quilted AllSaints jacket’s a year-round gem: warm, light and reversible.

There are a few Very Important Pieces you can smuggle into a small bag. Uniqlo’s Heattech vests, a cashmere scarf and a pair of socks – even if you’re wearing sandals – should ease you into the second act.

lisa armstrong - Sarah Brick
lisa armstrong - Sarah Brick

Lisa wears: Padded denim jacket, £275, Sessùn; recycled-cotton blouse, £230, Saywood Studio; linen trousers, £130, Jigsaw; leather sandals, £250, Me+Em; leather bag, from a selection, Marina Raphael; pearl earrings, £120, and pearl rings, from £80, all Olivia & Pearl; blanket, Lisa’s own

Speaking of socks, have you noticed how weird we are about them? According to a survey for English Heritage, more than 70 per cent of us still think they shouldn’t be worn with sandals – this despite Gigi Hadid and Miuccia Prada’s best efforts. We pretend we’re not wearing them even when those little trainer socks we bought are hiding in plain sight. And then we have the gall to dismiss them as boring presents.

They’re only boring because we don’t pay them the respect they deserve. A lot of socks just don’t cut the mustard, fading or disintegrating after a few wears. Falke and Pantherella are the places to redress that.

Make-up wise, in summer, it’s all about the sun-kissed effect. That doesn’t have to mean bronzer. Clean beauty brand RMS has just launched Re Dimension Hydra Blush Powder (£29, spacenk.com), a game-changing new blusher. Then there’s an array of new highlighting sticks that are much subtler than the previous generation – Victoria Beckham’s Reflect Highlighter Stick stands out. Meanwhile Embryolisse Lait-Crème Multi-Protection (£20, cultbeauty.co.uk) contains SPF, leaves a lovely gleam and, if you do want to add foundation, works as a primer.

I’ve always loved that dewy, rosy-cheeked effect you see on 20-year-old models in editorials – very Juliet – but used to assume it was strictly to do with the bloom of youth. Glad to be proved wrong – the glories of modern make-up.

Six of my favourite buys...

merch lisa
merch lisa

Clockwise from top left: Leather bag, £285, Kaai; reversible padded jacket, £169, AllSaints; lambswool blanket, £69, Linnéa Andersson at Arket; Merino-wool socks, £15.50, Pantherella; Reflect Highlighter Stick, £36, Victoria Beckham; cotton blouse, £29.90, Uniqlo

Read last week's column: What I wear to host a dinner party