8 Tips for Practical Festival Fashion

Festival Fashion

Festival Fashion


Article by Cinthia Singleton 
Photo credit: Christina Cernik
Featuring: Carley Page Interiors
Magazine: Issue #37

Practical festival fashion. That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it? Generally when one thinks about dressing for, say, Coachella (really, any concert venue during the warmer seasons), they aren’t thinking ‘practical.” It is, after all, as much a stage for the attendees as it is the performers. Dress to be seen. Show what you got. And stand out!

But let’s face it. It’s going to be a long day and any number of great ensembles might not hold up to its adventures. The day can be as much about the experience (a hike, view or sunset) as it is about the band. So your granny’s beautiful, hand-crocheted afghan that you’ve fashioned into a sarape might not be the best choice, dramatic as it may be. How can you make memories tangled in a blanket statement? lol Here are some ways to dress the part au courant and stand out, and what’s going to be seen on The Green in the coming months. Best part? Some of the elements you just might already have in your closet.

1. Shorts. Sounds obvious but the right kind of short is making the scene this year… a cross between military and what Garth’s babe mom would wear; slightly high-waisted and short, and if not short enough, rolled up at the hem. Rompers are still expected to make the scene just with a little more embroidery than in years past. Either way, both are no fuss, allowing you to sit down wherever you like and climb every mountain.

2. Uncomfortable showing that much leg? Add a hippie prairie skirt that buttons up OVER the shorts with this twist, just buttoning the top few buttons a la Ava Gardener. It can later be removed and used to throw on the ground picnic style. Oh my!  

3. Another piece of apparel to consider is the kimono. Unbelted, as if you just rolled out of bed. Sexy! Layering is the way to be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you.

4. If you must “belt one out,” belts are not being threaded through the loops. They’re big and boho, ethnic if not tribal, and being worn just under the loops, slung on the hips. Got no waist? A big belt worn this way breaks up the line.

5. Skin is always in fashion at the festivals. Show it off but in a way that showcases it rather than bears it all. What feature do YOU like to show off. Legs? Shorts (or shortie romper) are your friend as is that old body con skirt you’ll wear with a sheer or lacy ‘street’ blouse. Arms and shoulders are your thing? Halter or bathing suit top. Some great ones - crocheted - are hitting the stores. Your stomach is super ripped? Crop tops like Monica wore on Friends are especially happening. Breasts… sigh… and aren't they spectacular? Most certainly, there are still the bikini tops and plunging necklines calling out your name but even more attention-getting are the fantastic statement bib necklaces a la Studio 54.

6. Gotta have something on your feet but why are all the cute shoes too dangerous for dancing and stomping about? Re-boot. You’re there for the experience; dress for the preverbal “4-wheelin’” you’ll be doing. Fringe is festival ‘in’ so how ‘bout some fringed booties? Or perhaps some high top sneakers. You can always toss a pair of cute strappy flat sandals or into that bag of yours. Speaking of…

7. Bag. Mama need a bag. Festival fashion looks easy but not even the best Girl Scout may not be prepared for its antics. Gotta bring sunscreen, bottle of water, lip gloss, cash and cards, snacks, sunglasses… see where this is heading? In what will mama stuff her stuff? A cross body? Maybe but not some urban school girl kind but the fringed hippie one… or crochet… with a looooong strap. Throw it on and over, and away you go. Need your arms free for dancing, Mountain Girl? There’re some stylish backpacks hitting the scene, very mid 1990s.

8. Gotta keep the hair out of your face and protect yourself from the sun. Hat with a floppy brim but not your auntie’s gardening hat rather your fab 70s straw hat. A bandana can keep the hair back. So will the goddess Art Deco head band. Flowers will still be seen but not as ‘goddess-y’ as in previous years.

In general, fashion is limitless and we live in times when we can pretty much dress as we, and our bodies, want. Festivals just happen to encourage more creative expression than, say, the 9-5 world. Be sensible with the basics - your deal breakers, i.e. got to wear comfortable shoes or that groovy yet practical sun hat - and the rest is individuality, and good times with friends.

So if the devil wear Prada. Adam, Eve wear nada. I’m in between but way more fresher. - Kanye West

The Empress Festival

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