Let’s be honest. The fact you’re even going to Coachella – or Splendour or Glasto – is a miracle. Tickets to the major music festivals are about as ‘available’ to the public (not very), as they are ‘cheap’. So, congrats. Now, it’s imperative you make the most of every lip-syncing, hip-shaking, head banging-moment when there.
It’s a given that music festivals require some serious cash, pre-approved holiday leave and a good group of friends to get you through the sudden downpour of rain (yes, even in summer). But, what does one wear to a multi-day festival?
While the festival spectrum is far and wide (attending the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, anyone?), we’ve identified 9 don’ts of summer festival style. We can’t promise you clear skies, but we can help you look good during -and after- an unexpected shower; a little muddier and slightly sunburnt too. But hey, think of the tunes.
#1 Don’t: Bank On Sunshine
Summer days can be horrendously humid. And then broken by a flash storm at the end of a hot day. Which leads us to our first point: there’s likely to be a down pour at some point. And it’s likely to be when you’re outside with no protection, rocking out to your tune. Anorak, parka, rain coat: these are all versatile and valuable outerwear options for festivals.
But don’t look past a thin, water resistant bomber. Clean and athletic in shape, its the ideal day-to-night jacket and it comes in an array of classy shades this season: desert-neutrals, navy and black. Or for serious festival vibes go bolder, sportier colours such as orange, yellow or green. Look good, stay dry.
#2 Don’t: Succumb To Clichés
Short denim cut-offs and neon tanks? Forget it. There’s no need to dress like it’s Halloween come festival time. Nor, should you deck-out in farcical fashion items, which you’ll never wear again when you return to real life.
There’s a shift in festival garb this year. Less ‘boho’ and ‘cowboy’, more active/lounge-y, streetwear and beach-grunge that forgoes wellies, a straw hat, some wooden beads and a rayon Hawaiian shirt.
So, look to off-duty pieces – your fave denim jeans and saviour sneakers, which already take up space in your wardrobe. And then add some tasteful and practical accessories. That way, you’re not having to sacrifice your signature style to appease the festival gods.
#3 Don’t: Sacrifice Your Feet
There’s no time on the jam-packed schedule for footwear blow-outs at a festival. So, flimsy thongs, flip-flops and jandals should be avoided. Instead, look to sandals, which are far more comfortable, durable and stylish. From sliders to Birks, team a neutral-coloured pair with cropped chinos and a linen shirt or simple shorts and a t-shirt.
Not a fan of exposing your feet? Low-cut sneakers or slip-ons are lightweight and go with everything. Just don’t pack your expensive Givenchy kicks. Festival sneakers will get dirty. Keep your city-slickers sneakers at home.
#4 Don’t: Forget Your Basics
A lightweight sweater, and plain shirts and tees are practical must-haves come festival time: worn in the tent when resting or outside at night watching the headline act. Best of all, casual cotton tops – in neutral colours – are perfect layering pieces that can be worn on rotation over the days ahead.
As long as they’re kept clean and body-odour free (air tops and pants out in the sun for some DIY freshness) nobody will ever know. And you’ve managed to pack less. That’s a big ‘yes’.
#5 Don’t: Ditch Your Pants
While shorts are practical. Think beyond cut-offs and swim shorts. Jeans, tapered sweat pants, and tailored chinos (denim, cotton and linen) are your festival go-to’s for dressing your dancing derriere. Because, these days pants are comfortable! The secret lies in silhouette: tapered so not to impede on dance moves, and made from active cotton-poly blends or soft-touch jersey with elastic waistbands.
And don’t ignore functionality: pockets with zips will be a huge help keeping valuables safe and secure as you dart from the food truck, to the mosh pit to the loo. And you’re less likely to get pick-pocketed with zips.
#7 Don’t: Dis’ The Dark
Black doesn’t scream ‘summer’. But, the go-with-everything shade is exactly what you need at a festival – packing less and getting more from your camping carryall (which has unashamedly taken the place of your closet these few days).
The key is to opt for pieces made from lightweight materials and in looser fits. Breezy longline and oversized t-shirts, and breathable linen-blend varieties are your best bet. Then, add some grey shorts or jeans for a chic monochromatic take on warm-weather get-up.
Finally, black masks a multitude of muddy festival sins, and they add a chic-edge to a summer look.
#8 Don’t: Ignore The Details
It goes without saying: pack enough socks and jocks. But the other finer things – that will lift your festival look – are accessories. While we’ve already warned you about the dangers of looking cliché, a piece of tasteful jewellery – a chunky ring, metal cuff or silver chain, adds some sparkle and personalises your outfit.
Other essentials include a pair of sunglasses and a wide brim hat or flat-cap. Both these play a functional role at festivals too, shading you from the sun’s harmful rays. Double win.
#9 Don’t: Over Expose
Last but not least: avoid unsightly flesh. Haven’t got the arms to rock a singlet or tank? Or the pins to don above-the-knee length shorts? Don’t do it then. Stick to items – classic tees and jeans or shorts – that flatter your physique and make you feel confident and comfortable.
Maybe you’ve been slaving away at the gym and do have the guns to prove it? Don’t succumb to muscle-gripping racer back singlets or nipple-slipping spaghetti tanks. And toplessness with short-shorts is forbidden. Not even the free-spirited festival goer gets away with this one. Final word of warning? Say no to fake tan. That is all.