The Utterly Inessential Wimbledon Shopping List: It’s good news for linen lovers called Andy

We've rounded up all the utterly inessential products that you absolutely do not need (top hats for Ascot aside) to enjoy this summers season of festivals, shows and races. This week: Wimbledon.

If there’s one thing that truly spells summer, it’s the appearance of strawberries in the supermarket, picnic blankets from the back cupboards and a tennis racket by the front door waiting to be put back in the attic, unused, once the last ball has been served.

Yes, all these things spell the event that people all over the world willingly devote their neck muscles to for two whole weeks, something so quintessentially British that it’s a wonder it doesn’t have the world ‘royal’ attached to it yet.

As with every occasion in our fair nation, Wimbledon comes with the expectation of a dress code – competitors are sternly reminded that ‘white’ does not include off-white or cream and tailored shorts for spectators are now ‘permissible’.

No, there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules besides no dirty trainers, torn jeans or running vests (you’d think people would’ve guessed). This isn’t Ascot, after all. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If it’s good enough for the future king…

First of all, if you don’t like the linen look I’m not sure what you’re doing out of doors during an English summer. Championed by The Prince of Wales (the best dressed man in Britain) on the cover of Country Life last November, a good double-breasted linen jacket will do nicely to keep the heat off on a summer’s day.

If you need a hat (red ears are painful and should be avoided, whether they burn from exposure or embarrassment) go for a wide-brimmed panama.

Evering jacket, £590, Favourbrook,; G. R. Norton sunglasses, £250, Frescobol Carioca,; Glasses case, £90, Ettinger,; Panama, £160, Frescobol Carioca,;Long Pantherella Cotton Socks, £15, Oliver Brown

Alexa, how do I change my name?

All I’m saying is that if it didn’t work, they wouldn’t have put vinegar in ice cream.

The ‘Break The Serve’ dessert is an edible chocolate tennis ball filled with balsamic vinegar, strawberries and cream ice cream. It’s served (that is, indeed, a pun) with a tennis racket that you use to smash through the chocolate and reach the ice cream.

The best/worst part? If your name is Andy, you can get one ‘Break The Serve’ a day for free every day on every day of Wimbledon. That’s 14 incredibly crafted ice creams for free. Please find a helpful name-change guide linked here. 

Mazetti Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Four Winters Ice Cream Parlour’s ‘Break The Serve’ is available from 1st– 14th July 2019 at the Four Winters  Gloucester Road store, priced at £5.

Don’t hate the player

active posture t shirt

When a shirt is medically approved to help activate muscles in the back and shoulders for improved posture, my first thought is to wear it under a dress when visiting elderly relatives, not to wear it during any actual sporting event.

Funnily enough, the Posture Shirt is actually perfect for sedentary jobs as well as for exercise, so if watching Murray inspires you to pick up a racket, you know what you’re wearing for that first session.

The Active Posture shirt now for £74.95 from

The fabled shorts

Linen Short

Do you dare to bare? It’s so warm today that you wouldn’t be blamed for taking fashion cues from our five-year-old prince. Even if you don’t wear them to Wimbledon, summer calls for garden parties and garden parties call for tailored shorts.

Linen Short in navy by Schöffel Country, £69.95, available from

Is there anything worse than a stray cuff?

Lapis Lazuli Round Cufflinks

Just in case your linen shirt doesn’t have buttons.

Lapis Lazuli Round Silver Cufflinks, £95 by Emily Mortimer Jewellery, available at

Who doesn’t need a trophy?!

If you do have a picnic blanket (and I can promise you, even if you think you don’t, you probably do) then you should use it. After all, with this week’s issue of Country Life being our first ever Sustainability issue, it would be impertinent to advocate disposable culture. If, however, by some blasphemy you have never picnicked before, what better way to do it than on an official Wimbledon blanket?

The other elements fall into place quite neatly. There will be Pimm’s, there will be linen shirts and although ties aren’t required in many of the Wimbledon sections it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And then, you may as well buy a trophy too. After all, who’s the real winner: the person sweating on the court or the guy relaxing on his own Wimbledon blanket?

Picnic blanket, £70, Wimbledon,; Trophy, £160, Henry Gregory,; Shirt, £54.95, Oxford Shirt Company,; Tie, £120, Emma Willis,