After a long and difficult year without enjoying live music and the fashions of music festival clothing, plenty of people are ready to dress up and dance the weekend away. With CDC protocols finally allowing music festivals to open their gates, festival goers are eager to creatively express themselves through dance while donning the latest inspired-by-Coachella outfits. If you’re new to festival fashion and aren’t aware of the latest trends, don’t worry – there isn’t only one right way to dress up for musical festivals.
Though the days of handmade flower crowns and tie-dyed crochet crop tops are mostly outdated, the unique styles behind festival clothing have evolved throughout the years. Showcasing everything from the trendiest, comfortable athletic wear to an updated bohemian style, the diversity of music festival clothing has continuously transformed thanks to ever-changing trends in fashion. So if you’re wondering what to wear or where to buy music festival clothing in 2021, here are some quick fashion tips for your next music festival.
Things to consider when choosing festival clothing
Don’t know where to start? The first thing you should ever consider when planning an outfit for any festival is the weather. Weather is probably the most important factor when it comes to both comfort and looking fashionable.
Not being prepared for the weather can make or break your weekend, so stay updated so you can coordinate your festival clothes accordingly. Download a real-time weather app for the most up-to-date information and plan for good and bad weather so you have backup options. Whether you’re opting for a three-day weekend in the sun soaked desert of Coachella Valley or visiting Lake Tahoe among some fresh powdered snow, preparation is key if you want to be comfortable.
Once you’ve figured out the weather, start outlining your outfit from the bottom up. Remember, everyone has their own unique way of expressing themselves, so stay true to yourself and rock it. Although it can be easy to get caught up in the newest trends, festival clothing doesn’t always have to include designer brands or pricey kimono fringe.
The art of thrifting has taken over the way younger generations shop, and although the treasure hunt among the racks of local thrift stores and vintage shops can be a process, the satisfaction of piecing together an outfit from scratch is always rewarding. Your outfit is sure to be one-of-a-kind and you can end up saving big bucks, not to mention avoiding the pitfalls of fast fashion by upcycling some previously-loved duds.
If you’re planning for a full three-day festival, some would say it’s easier to go for a theme each day. Whether you’re going for the full 60s punk rock look, embracing the styles of the modern day bohemian or just rocking a specific color, a theme can make the process easier – and fun.
Start off with your main pieces of festival clothing, then accessorize. You’ll find that accenting your outfit with accessories is a lot easier after you have the main pieces worked out. If you only have to choose festival clothing for one day, decide whether or not you want to have a thematic “statement” piece or would rather just embrace your own personal aesthetic.
Where to buy music festival clothing for 2021
If you’re a guy trying to stand out among the crowd, know that your favorite button down floral and board shorts aren’t necessarily the best choice if you want all eyes on you. It isn’t a bad idea, but you’re more likely to blend into the scenery. If you’re looking for double takes on what you’re wearing, there are plenty of alternatives for fashionable men’s festival clothing.
It doesn’t always have to be the bare basics or based on everyday menswear; try on some overalls for something different. Or why not see what a new mesh vest looks like over a cool band tee? The funkier and more uncommon you look, the better. Check out shops like Urban Outfitters for unique patterns like the Without Walls Gauze Stripe Shirt (US$49) or throwbacks like the Dumbgood X Space Jam UO Exclusive Tee (US$36).
If you do feel more comfortable with your board shorts and uniquely-patterned button down, trust the process of using accessories to really highlight your outfit. Consider accessories like handmade straw-hats, grungy bandanas, transparent or brightly colored fanny-packs, bracelets and cool rings, and anything else that adds diversity to your fit. Finding the right balance of add-ons to a two piece outfit can be difficult, so don’t shy away from that bucket hat you’ve been dying to wear, or throw on trendy socks that match the color of your new transition sunglasses.
When it comes to festival clothing for women, your imagination is the limit. Although you may be obsessed with the most current trends in celebrity fashion, you don’t have to base your style on what other people are wearing. Wild Thing is a popular hub for all-things-festival, from colorful kimonos, like the Rainbow Dollique Kimono (US$134.05) to a ton of fun catsuits, like the Ride of your Life Catsuit (US$84.66). Better yet, support your local shops and small-scale designers for something unique that you feel great about wearing.
It’s common to see girls nowadays rocking high-waisted shorts, sequined kimonos, loose-flowing rompers or ripped denim with crop tops or lacy bralettes. Options are limitless, but the trick to an enjoyable music festival experience isn’t all about the brand.
Substance over style
The key to having a good time is not how you dress, but how you feel while you’re dressed. Nowadays, people have perfected the art of being comfortable and still looking stylish. Comfort is key – so if you’re thinking about wearing flip-flops, heels or open-toed anything, you should probably consider something more supportive, like some high-top platforms, hiking shoes or even your beat up Converse, depending on the venue.
Likely, all the steps you take throughout the weekend will be on cement, grass or in worst cases mud, so choose comfort over style when it comes to your feet. As stylist and festival regular Anita Patrickson told Allure magazine, “for a festival weekend, the more beat-up your shoes, the better.”
Another thing to be wary of – both guys and girls – is adding another layer to your festival clothing so you don’t freeze later at night. Despite the 100 degree weather during the day, the nighttime may not be as warm. Consider bringing something you can fashionably wrap around your waist; a long sleeve, cardigan, denim jacket, light button up or even a body scarf.
Most music festivals allow you to bring a decent sized bag or backpack (which can even be another component to your wardrobe), so pack appropriately. Also, don’t be afraid to familiarize yourself with the quirky variations of bags or mini packs you can find when shopping for festival clothing.
With every new generation of music enthusiasts always comes a new era of not only music and artists but also a new age of fashion. Because these world renowned festivals have become so integrated into pop culture, more and more people around the world attend for the live music and to express themselves freely. Although everyone may seem dressed to impress, the most important thing to remember is that you feel good about yourself. Fashion comes in all forms, so don’t overthink it – just go with it.
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