Perfect Festival Outfits: Tips for Music-Loving Fashionistas
Festival season is a big deal; in recent years, they have come to be about so much more than the music. They have become cultural contributors in their own right.
Fashion is a huge part of this phenomenon. Festivals are for turning looks. Finding the right outfit isn’t easy; it is all about striking a balance between fashion and function. You want to look good, of course, but you also need to be comfortable too.
Striking this balance is not easy, which is why we have put together this comprehensive guide, which covers the following:
So read on to learn more.
Festival Fashion: The Origins
Festival fashion has a long history. It all began in the 60s at the iconic Woodstock Festival, which saw the best of hippie fashion.
Then, it was all about tie-dye, fringe and flower power. However, this wasn’t the intention of the attendees at the time. In fact, Woodstock represented a specific set of ideals.
It was a protest against the mainstream. Capitalism and commercialism were the enemies; freedom reigned supreme.
Glastonbury Festival soon took up the baton in the 70s. Again, it was about a break from the norms of society and the expectations forced upon people. Hippie fashion was still in full swing.
The first Glastonbury festival could be seen as Britain’s answer to Woodstock, although on a far smaller scale. Woodstock was attended by almost half a million people, whereas Glastonbury’s attendance was only a few thousand. A connection with nature was also important, which is why at the time, a lot of festival-goers didn’t wear shoes.
It continued from there. Genre festivals have diversified since then, meaning there is a festival for almost every genre of music, each representing a different subculture with its own fashion.
However, the biggest difference between the festivals of today and those of yesteryear is that the festivals today are arguably a celebration of commercialism and capitalism, not a rejection of it.
As a result, ticket prices have increased exponentially; people spend thousands to attend some of these festivals today, they have created a huge consumer market in and of themselves.
Planning Your Festival Wardrobe: What to Consider
When it comes to planning your festival outfit, there are a lot of variables that need to be taken into consideration. Firstly, the genre of the festival. For example, Coachella has a much different vibe to Aftershock and, therefore, different fashions. However, your choice of music festival will likely be represented in your personal style anyway, but it is worth thinking about.
Next, you need to think about who you are going with. Some people like to match their friends or partner at a festival.
If you don’t want to match exactly, you could instead try to match vibes or wear complimentary colours. Take this into account and hit up your friends to see what they want to do.
When planning for any outfit, regardless of the event, it is necessary to factor in the weather. Most festivals take place in the summer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be sunny or warm.
Come up with a few options that would work in different weathers, and you can make your final decision on the day of.
You also need to think about how far you are going to have to walk throughout the day. Most festival venues are quite large, which means that a lot of walking is required. Comfortable shoes are a must; nothing dampens a day like blisters. Avoid new shoes. They need breaking in before you wear them to an event like a festival.
It isn’t only your shoes that need to be comfortable; your clothes need to be too. Festivals constitute a lot of movement whether in walking or dancing, your clothes need to be able to move comfortably with you. Clothes that are too stiff or too tight can be uncomfortable and even painful as the day wears on.
Lastly, you need to have a budget in mind. A lot of people buy items of clothing specifically to wear to festivals, and they have no use for them otherwise.
This can be a big financial drain. One way to save money is to thrift pieces first. Or if you are going to splurge, then do so on things that you will get a lot of use out of.
Festival Staples That You Can Use for Every Outfit
Speaking of pieces that you can get a lot of use out of, there are a few common festival wardrobe staples. Festival fashion is often a style in itself, incorporating elements of your personal style represented in similar executions. These pieces form a base of a lot of potential outfits. These pieces can be used in different ways, and they can be made to work with most people’s personal styles.
It could be a material like crochet or lace.
They are festival classics for a reason because you can work them into most outfits. Crochet tops or bralettes have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. Before that, it was all about the lace maxi skirt. These materials tend to endure the changing seasons and festival fashion landscape.
Depending on how you choose to incorporate this material, it can work for a range of festival genres too.
Denim shorts are a festival classic. There are a lot of different styles of denim shorts to work with all personal styles. Think prints or colour blocking. They can be dressed up or down depending on your preference. They are incredibly versatile. You can pair them with a bodysuit, bralette or graphic tee. They can also work across festival genres.
Finally, there are a few accessories that you need to pack for your festival. Firstly, a good pair of sunnies. Find the ones that work best for your face shape and aesthetic.
They can be worn with every outfit for the entirety of the festival. Satin scarves are also a great addition to your festival wardrobe. They can be used in your hair, as a top, as a belt, as an ascot – the possibilities are truly endless. You also need to pack a good pair of hoop earrings, they go with every outfit, and they always add pizzazz.
Festival Style Ideas
Your festival style should be an extension of your personal style. What would you label your style as? Some personal styes do not necessarily lend themselves well to festival fashion, but you should always dress how you feel comfortable.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with wanting to try something new. There are a few styles that lend themselves to festival fashion really well.
Firstly, vintage fashion. Something has to be around twenty years old before it can be classed as vintage. The turn of the century Y2K styles have made a comeback in the last couple of years, as has 70s fashion. Visit a few thrift stores to see what cool vintage pieces you can find and create festival looks around them.
By buying vintage fashion items, you can be assured that no one else at the festival will be dressed in the exact same outfit as you because the pieces are unique.
You could also choose to dress in an artsy, avant-garde style. It is all about making a statement with your clothes. The idea behind this style is to be bold. Opt for unconventional styles or patterns.
This style is all about creativity. It can work for anyone regardless of gender or body type. You simply need the confidence to pull it off. Accessories are key; they can make or break a look.
For those headed to a rock festival, it has to be grunge. This style is all about creating an outfit that is designed to look like you didn’t try at all. Layering and oversize styles make this style easily wearable and comfortable too. Think denim and leather, graphic tees and fishnets. Grunge was big in the 80s and 90s, and you can find some cool looks from this era while thrifting.
Finally, the bohemian style can easily find a home at most festivals. It is a modern iteration of the hippie styles worn at the festival that started it all: Woodstock. This style tends to prioritise comfort with free-flowing materials that aren’t tight or restrictive. Think flares or maxi dresses. Natural materials also play a huge part in this style.
Festival Fashion Icons
When it comes to trying to find your festival style, it might be easier to find someone to emulate. Luckily, there are a number of people that you can use to inspire your looks this festival season.
Firstly, the arguably undisputed queen of festival fashion: Vanessa Hudgens. Vanessa has long since been turning looks at Coachella; she is a regular attendee at the festival. Over the years, it has become clear that her festival fashion is heavily influenced by the bohemian style, which makes her a great example for anyone who wants to try this style.
Rihanna is a style icon in her own right, but she is also a great example of festival fashion. She marches to the beat of her own drum, wearing whatever she feels like. Her style ranges from low key to avant-garde, meaning that she has a wealth of looks to choose from when you are trying to find inspiration.
Next, there is Kate Moss, who over the years has made several appearances at Glastonbury. The supermodel cultivated a reputation for looking effortlessly chic. Her festival style tends to skew more towards the grunge style, which makes her a great style icon for anyone wanting to emulate that style in their looks this year.
The Kardashian/Jenner clan are also big into the festival scene, particularly Coachella. Kendall always seems to opt for the off-duty vibe, keeping it relatively simple and accessible for those who want to emulate her.
Kylie takes things further; she goes for bigger, bolder looks. The other sisters, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe, have all also made appearances over the years. Each of them has a unique personal style expressed through their clothing choices.
Then there are some celebrities whose style doesn’t quite fall into one of the clearly defined categories, but it is effective nonetheless. Take Solange Knowles as an example. She always makes a statement, wearing bold and bright clothes. She tends to mix patterns and colours, which in theory do not necessarily go together, but she marries them in such a way that they do.
If none of the above style icons speaks to you or your personal sense of style, then you should pick a celebrity whose style you like or whose style more closely reflects yours and check out their festival looks.
You could also pick a celebrity with a similar body type and see how they accentuate their figure with the styles of clothing that they wear.
Festival Fashion for Men
The truth is that men are often far luckier when it comes to festival fashion, and fashion in general for that fact. There aren’t the same expectations placed on them to outdo other people. It is far more acceptable and maybe even encouraged that they put less effort into their appearances. The truth is that men can get away with a pair of shorts or jeans and a T-shirt.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t bolder choices out there if you want to stand out. The same rules still apply; you should still consider the weather, your comfort and your budget, but there is nothing to stop you from experimenting with your look a little.
Honestly, a festival is probably one of the best places to do so; you will be right at home with the other big and bold looks on display.
You do not necessarily have to go too wild. For example, you could pick a shirt in a jazzier print than you would usually go for. Or accessorise with some jewellery that you wouldn’t usually wear. If you do want to try new things, but you aren’t too sure where to start, then use the advice above.
Find a celebrity whose style you admire and take inspiration from them. Check out the trends; for example, ‘romp-hims’ – rompers for men – were the pinnacle of male festival fashion a few years ago. Overalls are a good option. They are fashionable without trying too hard, although they do make it a lot harder to go to the bathroom.
Where To Find Festival Outfit Ideas Online
Looking for festival outfits online should be relatively simple. Once you have an idea of the pieces that you are looking for, it is simply a case of finding them. Start by searching your favourite online stores; you already know that they speak to your sense of style.
Remember that festival fashion is all in the styling. You can make most things work. So there isn’t necessarily a need to look for stores specialising in festival wear.
That being said, if you want to check out your options, then most online stores tend to create a festival edit as the summer approaches. Think Asos, NastyGal or Boohoo.
Although the pieces are versatile, and most stores will stock the basics, things like denim shorts or sunglasses aren’t exclusive to festivals; they are wardrobe staples too, which means that most stores will stock them.
Typing ‘festival outfits’ into a search engine will bring up an overwhelming number of results, any of which could have just what you are looking for. However, you can narrow down your options by having a better idea of what sort of style you are looking for.
As the festival season draws nearer, you are likely to find that influencers will begin to promote different clothing stores.
Again, if there is an influencer whose style you admire, you can follow their links and shop at the store that they are promoting either to copy their outfit or to find similar pieces.
Shopping from smaller stores is also a great way to ensure that your pieces are more unique because not as many people will have bought from them. This helps to eliminate the risk of running into others wearing the same outfit as you.
It comes down to you: your personal style and your preferences. Instead of following the latest trends, stay true to yourself. Choose styles and pieces that you like and feel comfortable in a large part of looking good is feeling good; if you truly feel confident and happy in your outfits, it will show.
Start by creating a mood board of your influences and pieces that you like. Don’t forget to consider the factors listed above, like your budget and the weather, et cetera. You should also keep in mind that festival fashion is not the be-all and end-all; it is about having fun. To get more lifestyle and fashion inspiration and tips, sign up for our newsletter.