Fun, Festive Fashion: The Rules of Dressing Up for Festivals


It’s been a long while coming, but festival boho is officially over. The time has come to cut up the crochet and hang up your flower crown. Dodgy headpieces and costume-y bohemian pieces have been relegated to times past, and today, doing festival style right means going for more practical pieces.

If you realize that your music festival fashion has been boho all along, don’t panic! Coordinating your clothes isn’t exactly rocket science. There is, though, a fine line between being stylishly dressed and looking like an out-of-place, scantily clad cowpuncher.

You want equal amounts of style, fashion, and practicality. Because, after all, there is no place like music festivals to face all four seasons in one day.

Here are the five rules of festival dressing:

1. Layer up

You will be spending a lot of time in the field and that said, layers will be your best friends. Pack up knits, plaids, and toasty layers that you can drape over your shoulder or tie around your waist when the weather turns warm. A lightweight scarf or a neckerchief can also come in handy when warding off the chill. On day four, when your hair does not anymore look as freshly quaffed, these compact companions can be useful in masking the grease.


2. Forget flimsy footwear

There’s a time to slip on cute sandals or your favorite pair of flip-flops, but that time is definitely not at a festival. You are likely to spend a considerable amount of time walking from stage to stage, and it’s almost a given that at one point, you’ll get your foot (or two) trodden on. Protect your toes with something sturdy, like boots or a pair of sneakers.


3. Go for just one statement piece

When it comes to festivals, you can never go wrong with a rock and roll ensemble or a bohemian vibe, right? Well, actually, you can. A themed outfit, in fact, can make you look as if you’re trying too hard. Dodge the Halloween party aesthetic by picking one statement piece, and mixing it with basics from your closet. Balance out the look with some texture or hardware. In nonstylist speak, it could be as simple as opting out of a top-to-toe boho in favor of lace-up sandals, short shorts and a cool jacket. You still get to incorporate a bohemian element with the sandals, but that’s it.


4. Keep it real

As I have mentioned earlier, by going in a “vintage” band tee, you’re not fooling anyone. We know that’s from Urban Outfitters, and you might just risk looking fake instead of cool. You can wear a rock and roll T-shirt, pin roll the sleeves, pair it with jean shorts, throw on a beat-up leather jacket, and complete the look with Converse — but only if the shirt feels authentic. So forget about shopping for band tees online. Head to your local vintage shop and scour the racks for a rad old tee from the ’70s or ’80s. Tip: if you have absolutely no time for secondhand shopping, try Etsy, where you can score some surprising vintage duds.


5. Leave you’re a-list clothes at home

V and Kenny et al may be gracing festivals in designer gear, but don’t be fooled. They inhabit the sterile and sacred backstage zone where they won’t ever fall victims to humidity, dust, mud, and changing weather conditions. When dressing up for festivals, leave your prized sartorial possessions at home. That is, unless, you’re fine with them getting splattered with mud, sloshed with beer, or ins some bizarre turn of events, sliced in half.  You simply won’t get to have the time of your life if you need to worry all the time about snagging your favorite cashmere dress or scuffing the precious leather of your designer handbag.


The most important thing is, maintain your own sense of style. Again, you’re not attending a Halloween party, so you don’t want to arrive in a costume. Take your own style, and meld it with a bohemian element or a festival-worthy accessory to push your regular style to the next level.

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