With Coachella now long gone, and other favourites like Glastonbury, Reading, Primavera Sound and Hideout only but a mere few weeks away now, it’s really time to start gearing up for festival season!
Festival fashion gets a bad rap, with many expressing their indignation at the notion that festivals have become more about the clothes than the music. But whether we like it or not, festivals have firmly nestled themselves in the centre of the fashion social calendar. Despite this negative perception, the way I see it is that clothing is a way of expressing yourself; it allows you to manifest your personality and mood on a physical, and some would say, artistic level, so I really do think that fashion goes hand in hand with music.
Because festival fashion has become a global industry, and we pretty much can’t go a couple of days without being inundated by over-the-top and often-too-polished looks donned by the likes of the Jenner sisters and their supermodel pals on social media, it can be difficult not to feel pressured to look a certain way. I can’t help but think that although social media should be a great tool to inspire and encourage others to be themselves and not be afraid to break the mould, it’s also sucked the joy out of fashion in many ways. But if you can block out the noise, festivals are an opportunity to go the extra mile and feel totally free in fashion. That’s not to say you can’t do that in your everyday life, but festivals definitely provide a space to be all the more creative.
Having said all of this, festivals are not all a breeze, with many exposing you to polarities in weather and terrain. Safe to say, you’ll be battling the elements in some form, no matter where you are, be it the intense heat and dust, or the outbreaks of heavy showers and mud! Practicality and functionality in fashion is still of vital importance, especially at festivals! So keep reading if you’re looking for festival fashion inspiration; there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Accessories are the perfect way to take your outfit to the next level without much effort. If you don’t like going for outlandish outfits, but still want to embrace the creative freedom that festivals offer, why not go ham on the accessories?!
There’s no need to ditch the hair garlands and face glitter if you don’t want to, but this year, it’s all about bold statement jewellery. From hair rings to body chains and face gems, but also jazzy sunnies and funky bags, accessories are the perfect way to make a statement without going overboard.
While last year saw the renaissance of the bum bag (my inner six-year-old was loving that one), this year we’re trading in that iconic 90s piece for smaller – but still perfect – varieties of another practical classic: the backpack! I’m pretty sure these have been around for quite a few seasons now, but this season, they’re coming in all colours and textures, from mohair and pastel, to grungy studs and wild prints.
Bohemian styles always have a place in festivals, especially in terms of practicality and comfort. Aesthetically speaking, boho is probably one of my all-time favourite styles, and if you’re looking for ideas, look no further than the likes of Alexa Chung or Kate Moss, who nail this feminine and laid-back look time and time again.
I absolutely love a good pair of cowboy boots, and although bohemian styles and Western styles go hand in hand, as much as I’d love to rock a cowboy hat down Main Street, I think a festival may be a better suited occasion for a first-timer. From tassels to suede and denim to my wardrobe staple; my trusty pointed-toe boots, don’t be afraid to experiment a little with a style that is out of your comfort zone!
Flowy cuts like baby-doll dresses and bell-sleeved playsuits always strike a great balance between showing some skin and a gorgeous yet understated silhouette. Opting for a more neutral palette will allow so many styling options, and depending on your preference, you can go for a more minimalist look like a flowy maxi dress, or equally something a little bolder, like a cut-out crochet body-suit, paired with a suede mini skirt or denim shorts. The possibilities are endless, but what’s absolutely certain is that boho styles never fail to spark up some interest and conversation.
The bomber jacket has probably been one of the most successful and popular trends we’ve had in years, and will forever have a place in the festival-goer’s wardrobe arsenal. The best thing about a bomber jacket in my opinion (other than sheer aesthetics of course) is that, not only is it a practical choice with regards to potential rain and evening chilliness, but if you find yourself becoming a little overheated, you can just wrap it around your waist and look just as awesome.
A military-inspired khaki style is a guaranteed winner, in fact, everything khaki or military will be a winner this festival season, but the high-street will be sure to have something for you even if military is not your cup of tea. For a perfect pairing, team your jacket up with a slogan t-shirt; another trend that has been rocking the festivals over the past month.
One of my favourite things to do at festivals, which I often feel I can’t get away with on a daily basis, is to go for totally contrasting styles. Believe it or not, this will make your life easier if you just don’t know what to wear!
Think glitzy embellished dresses paired with chunky military boots or an over-sized denim jacket. Or for something a little safer, why not go for a grungy band tee, and team it up with a feminine denim skirt and fluffy sliders or gladiator sandals? Contrasting is easy and can be so much fun; there’s really no better way of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Mix clashing vibrant colours, and if you decide to go for a neutral outfit, try and make a cool contrast with a bold shoe. Most styles are versatile and will look great with other styles, no matter how opposing you think they may be. What’s absolutely certain is that festivals are a place to have fun with fashion, and not to take yourself too seriously. There are no rules and no dress codes!
words | Julia Coelho