Both weekends of Coachella have already flown by, but festival season is just beginning. Whether you’re hitting up Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Outside Lands, Made in America or any of the other music festivals going on over the course of the next few months, you can’t deny the recent obsession with dressing for the occasion.
Perhaps a result of the street style phenomenon, everyone’s paying more attention to what others are wearing to these events than ever before. And just like the former, a lot of ridiculous, over-the-top styles are sure to be seen. Regardless of what you choose to wear, there’s a lot to consider when putting together your most stylish festival look. What are the weather conditions? Would this “tribal” accessory be considered offensive? (yes, most likely). Sure, it’s easy to just throw on your wreath of flowers and John Lennon-inspired shades and call it a day, but no one wants to look generic. And while picking out an outfit for whichever huge festival you choose to attend may seem like the most important thing in the world, it’s necessary to remember that these events are basically like huge parties – there’s no need to get so serious.
While we could present countless tips on how to put together your outfit, here’s a handful of Do’s and Don’ts regarding festival dressing:
Pretty much all of these music festivals are taking place in North America over the summer, and in case you forgot, this usually means heat. No matter how you choose to facilitate the party, it’s essential to stay hydrated and healthily nourished. Of course, what you wear is just as important; that suede fringe jacket might be awesome, but is it really worth the heat stroke? And even if you dress according to the weather, you still have to keep comfort at least somewhere in your mind. These three or four day-long parties can often be energetic and exhausting, and you’re probably going to be doing a lot of moving around. Simple shorts and stylish sneakers make for a casual cool look more than a silk skirt and strappy sandals, while graphic prints look just as good on a t-shirt as they do on a (relatively inappropriate) cocktail dress. There’s always a way to incorporate a unique sense of fashion into a look without compromising safety or enjoyment.
This is kind of a recurring theme when it comes to style tips, but it’s essential to address. It seems like there are a few things that show up at just about every music festival. Fringe, studs, flower headbands, round sunglasses, acid wash denim shorts, those fuzzy leg warmer things and plenty of other pieces just won’t go away. While there’s definitely a way to add your own twist to any of these belabored concepts, sometime’s it’s better to just avoid them at all costs. The “basic bitch” is a real thing, and no one wants to be categorized as such. Instead, opt for subtle yet interesting embellishments on tops and bottoms or pops of color for monochrome ensembles. There are so, so many ways to get your outfit in the festive spirit without getting literally lost in the crowd.
The right way, that is. In the pursuit of the balance between style and comfort, an outfit can often become relatively lackluster. While many accessories can launch you into “basic” territory (see above), there are plenty of fun ways to liven up a look. From streetwear-inspired snapbacks to ladylike sun hats, headgear is the perfect addition to a simple ensemble. While piling on wristbands and multicolored “candy” beads is less than favorable, tastefully quirky jewelry can also spruce up what you’re wearing. And sunglasses in different shapes and colors can also bring something extra, given that they’re not the same styles seen throughout the crowd.
It’s stupid that this even has to be considered as a relevant style tip, yet Native American headdresses and war paint still seemed ubiquitous at this year’s Coachella. One accessory to definitely never wear, the feathered garnish has a deeper cultural meaning than just a funky hat, and wearing it represents a complete disregard for the ongoing struggle faced by the Native American people throughout U.S. history. Even after the backlash regarding the outfit Victoria’s Secret put Karlie Kloss in and the equally offensive gear recently shown at Chanel, people still don’t get it. Regardless, wearing one of these is worse than looking “basic.” Instead, you’d simply look like an insensitive asshole. It goes without saying that carelessly wearing pieces from other indigenous tribes across the globe would be equally tasteless, i.e: don’t wear a shuka unless you’re actually a Maasai tribesman/woman. Moral of the story: if you question whether or not something could be seen as offensive, it probably is, and you probably shouldn’t wear it.
There are plenty more Do’s and Don’ts of festival dressing, but sometimes it’s better to explain things visually. So, here are a couple examples of appropriate festival dressing for both girls and guys (click on the thumbnail of each item for more details):
Of course, remember to always make a look your own, and enjoy whichever music festivals you’re attending this summer!