Festival Style: My 5 Festival Outfit Commandments

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With the music festival season just on our doorstep, I thought I would take the time to share my hints and tips on choosing, what I consider to be, festival appropriate attire…

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Minkpink jumpsuit | Evil Twin jacket | KMart Shoes | Le Specs x Craig and Karl sunglasses
Photos: Tristan Ceccato

2 weekends ago, I attended my first outdoor music festival of the season, Listen Out. Listen Out is always memorable for me, as it is the first festival of the season that all of my friends come together and party on in the sun. I shimmied away to Odesza, jumped and boogied my way through Alison Wonderland, and grooved out to the smooth vocals of Childish Gambino… good music, good friends, sunshine and cold beverages. Bliss.

After almost 10 years of festival going, I now have my festival outfit prep down to a fine art. For a lot of people, festival prep involves heading out and buying a brand new outfit (complete with barely there top and butt cheek showing denim cut-offs) and a big pack of stick on bindis/diamontes/metallic tattoos. Each to their own (and I am clearly generalising here), but this is not me at all. I am going to sound like a complete fashion-blog contradicting nanna, but when I am faced with a 12 hour day of festival going, looking super stylish isn’t my main priority. Sure, everyone wants to look good at a festival, but I generally take a more practical approach to looking good on the day, prioritising comfort over ‘perceived coolness’ (if you can find something that satisfies the both, you are onto a sure-fire winner!).

Festivals are a hot, crowded, dusty and long affair that no amount of stick on face jewels is going to get you through comfortably. In the name of dressing practically, I have devised my own (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) “5 Festival Outfit Commandments” to stick to when prepping for a day of live music in the sun. Follow the 5 commandments, and you will be dancing away hassle free in no time!

  1. Thou shalt wear appropriate shoes
    • 8 hours of standing, walking and dancing takes it’s toll on you, so prepare your poor little soles as best you can by choosing sensible footwear. Flat sandals with zero padding on the base are not going to be ideal (sandal wearers will be having the last laugh if there happens to be a little flooding in the port-a-loo!), thongs open up your toes to all sorts of injury and are also at risk of being lost, and anything with the slightest hint at a heel makes for some very sore tootsies post festival. For years, my go-to festival shoe has been a comfortable sneaker or some running shoes. In fact, I don’t even wear my favourite sneakers anymore (spilt beer and dirt are not friends of your favourite white cons).
  2. Honour your mother and father
    • For heavens sake, keep your ‘bits’ covered. If the display of outfits at previous festivals I have attended is anything to go by, it seems that ‘festival outfit’ can be loosely translated to ‘wear as little as possible’. This applies to both men and women (lads, “shirts off for the girls” isn’t a thing). There is nothing practical about having to contort your body into all sorts of weird shapes just to take a breather and sit down on the grass without disgracing your parents. This rules out skirts and tiny short shorts, revealing/loose tops, and anything that does not contain more material than a bikini. Making sure you are adequately covered also becomes super practical when we start talking sun protection.
  3. Thou shall not covet thy neighbour(‘s jacket)
    • If you don’t take a jumper or jacket you are a dolt. It may be sunshiney and 35 degrees during the day, but as soon as the sun falls beyond the horizon, the temperature plummets. If you haven’t followed commandment 2 OR 3, you are pretty much screwed. Nobody wants to be that person who is shivering away in an outfit that once looked cool but is really just freezing. It may seem like a hassle to lug extra clothing about, but most festivals have a cloak room for you to store your extra items while it is still warm (just be smart and get to the cloak room just before sunset to avoid the rush). If you pack something lightweight like a chambray jacket, then you can keep it tied at your waist or tucked into a backpack until needed.
  4. Honour the will to dance
    • If you can’t shimmy and shake freely in it, don’t wear it. You are going to a music festival – it will be cloudy with a chance of meatballs and DANCING. There is nothing worse than having to hold back because your outfit won’t allow you to go crazy to your favourite song. Opt for something that is not too tight fitting and that doesn’t ride up or slip out of place (or, ahem, slip off the parts it should be covering).
  5. Thou shall get dressed, and then undressed, and then redressed before leaving the house
    • Put your outfit on in it’s entirety and then take it all back off again in the safety of your own room. If you can’t mimic the motions of undressing to go to the bathroom without being 100% nude, or without your outfit touching the floor, then it is probably time to reassess the get up. Visiting the port-a-loo whilst being completely exposed from top to bottom is not the most comfortable. Tip: if you are wearing a jumpsuit, always wear a crop or bra underneath.

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