When preparing your festival wardrobe, you generally have two goals in mind: to be comfortable in the climate and surroundings, and to look good. Anyone who has had to balance these ends against each other will know it’s no easy business. Things like the weather, dust, mud and/or spilled drinks tend to interfere with even the best laid plans, so that unless you’re kitted out for every eventuality – drought, hail, tropical storm – you end up too hot, too cold or covered in unidentifiable gunk with nothing else to wear. To help you to effectively organize your gear, I’ve done some research and trawled my own experience to put together 7 steps to dressing for a festival.
1. Plan for Hot and Cold
Unless it’s literally the middle of winter and guaranteed to be arctic outside, it’s a good idea to include outfits geared towards both hot and cold weather. Even in the height of summer, you shouldn’t neglect the jerseys and jackets; remember that when the sun goes down, the temperature will drop and if you’ve got nothing but a little dress with you, you’ll be in for a long cold night.
It’s always a good idea to start thinking about your clothes a few days in advance. This sounds a little pedantic, but it’ll help you out in the long run. Try to put together an outfit for each day and night, and bring along an option geared towards freak bouts of hot or cold weather. This way, you’ll avoid those terrible tent moments, when you realize you’re not sure what to wear and there’s no full length mirror available to check whether you look ok.
3. Staples to save Space
Remember, you don’t want to lug your entire wardrobe with you for the weekend. Try to build your outfits around a few, versatile staple pieces. A denim waisted skirt can, for example, be worn during the day with a vintage tee and sandals, and will work equally as well at night paired with tights, boots and a leather bomber.
4. Bring Durable, Well-Worn Items
Remember, it’s not a good idea to wear your most expensive designer gear. Also, leave your important jewellery at home. Instead of valuable items and brand new pieces, stick to your well-worn basics. At festivals, things go missing and get broken or stained; don’t risk the most precious contents of your wardrobe by bringing them along.
5. Remember Your Hat
There are a million reasons why a hat is important at a festival; in summer, the brim will shade your face from the sun, in winter a woolen cap will keep your head warm, and in either season a hat can be used to cover up terrible, tent hair. I usually pack two: one for the daytime and for the night.
6. Choose Good Strong Footwear
I’m not suggesting your come to a festival in hiking boots, but bear in mind that your footwear should be both weather appropriate and useful in your surroundings. In winter, this usually means Wellies or Uggs; remember that canvas sneakers will get soaked through in a second, leaving you cold and uncomfortable for the duration. In summer, consider basic rubber flip-flops over fragile, embellished sandals and bring warmer shoes to wear after dark.
7. Get Creative
Festivals are about enjoying yourself, letting go and having fun, and for many people, this sense of freedom is reflected in their outfits. Don’t be afraid to go a little wild with your clothes: now is the time for that out-there blue leopard print dress, or those giant, colourful shades.
A successful festival experience is one in which you’ve felt comfortable and confident throughout, and to achieve this, it's necessary to pack an intelligent combination of clothes that are both aesthetically pleasing and also practical. Hopefully, my list of 7 steps to dressing for a festival will help you to bring the right selection of outfits along with you; do you have any tips to add to it?
Top Photo Credit: pasotraspaso