Thinking about what to wear to festivals is one of the most fun things about actually going to them, right?
If you’ve got any booked for the next few weeks then I’m going to assume festival fashion is playing on your mind. We’ve got that awkward conundrum of comfort vs fashion vs awesome vs practicality, and what do we come out with?
To be honest, most festivals have a clear ‘uniform’. You’ve got your tie-dye and sunflowers at the hippy ones. Your Hunters and Ray-Bans at the middle class ones. Your crochet and fringe at Coachella. Your glitter and feathers at the ravey ones, and finally, anything, at Glastonbury.
I’ve been to over 50 festivals now, I’ve been around, I’ve seen things. If you’re wondering what to wear to this years festivals to look awesome, here’s a rundown of the key items you need in your backpack.
One of the biggest parts of going to a festival is the fashion. Once you’ve sorted out what you’re taking to eat and how you’re going to sneak your alcohol in you’ll need to give your festival wardrobe some serious thought.
It’s all part of the fun right?
Festivals like Coachella are pretty much all about the fashion, and then comes the music. Photos of Vanessa Hudgens, Cara Eyebrows, Kate Moss and Kate Bosworth looking beautiful in their tiny shorts and tshirts are printed worldwide. As the first major music festival of the year it sets the trend for the festival fashion year to come. So if you want to be bang on trend, look to them.
Alternatively, if you just want to create a festival capsule wardrobe, then check out the following advice…
Festival Fashion Packing List
1. Sequins and sparkles
– Feeling like a disco ball at Wilderness Festival
Honestly, from Glastonbury to Henley Festival, sequins and sparkles win every time. They look so good when the sun shines, and you stand out from the crowd so your friends can find you. The sparklier the better in my opinion. I mean, check me out at Wilderness 2016 ^.
I picked this gold number up from a charity shop, especially for Wilderness’ ‘gold’ themed day. For Glastonbury this year I had this awesome sequin jacket from Azbro for our mermaid theme (see also ‘Mermaid’ below). There’s so much sequin and sparkly stuff out during festival season, check out the pickings below.
Sparkles are a great way to liven up boring clothes, so you only need one key piece to really look awesome. Think, a sparkly top with black jeans. A sequinned jacket with denim dungarees or a sparkly dress and wellies. Winner! The magpies will love it.
Read more: The Best Make Up for Festivals
2. Go tropical
– Loving my tropical shirt at BBK Festival
So on trend right now. Flamingos, palm trees, neon – all goes great at festivals. I had this tropical palm tree shirt for getting into Glastonbury, and although I was absolutely boiling with my wellies and black jeans in the 28C heat, I did love the shirt. This was from H&M a few years ago, but the shops are full of Tropicana style right now.
3. The fringe
– I don’t have any pics of me in fringe, so check out Mel Blatt’s jacket from the Henley Festival
Melanie Blatt, aka Mel from All Saints, looked awesome at her recent closing gig at the Henley Festival. I want a jacket like this for next year.
Fringeing is just soooo Coachella though. I went to Coachella in 2011 and every second girl was channelling her inner Vanessa Hudgens. Fringing on tees and jackets looks awesome at festivals. Not so good if you’re planning on getting mucky though – bit of a nightmare to clean. Best to keep your fringey fashion for those summer days.
Get it on your shoes, on your bags, on your jackets, everywherrrreeee. Works for hippies, grungers, and anyone just wanting a bit of movement when they dance.
5. Flower crowns
– Mum and I getting our flower crowns on at Eroica Britainia
Oh it’s a classic look isn’t it? Go to a festival, buy a garland, stick it on your head – yay, festival ready!
Mum and I bought them at Eroica Britannia, £3 each to get us in the spirit, although, I think we were the only ones at Eroica Britannia wearing them. It wasn’t really that kind of festival. Got my money’s worth at Glastonbury though.
You can buy flower crowns from Amazon here.
Some festivals – I’m looking at you Isle of Wight Festival – are all about the hippy love sunflowers kinda theme. At IoW Fest they were selling charity sunflowers to attach to whatever you were willing to put a safety pin in – I thought it might be a little overboard to add one to the outfit above.
I picked up this sunflower playsuit from Monki, and love it. I fit right in at the IoW Festival, and brought it out again for Glasto. Super comfy, can layer up over tights and a tshirt, and it’s baggy enough to not have to take the whole thing off when you go to the toilet.
Sunflowers are the happiest, hippyest flower – get involved.
8. Glitter up
Glitter is an absolute festival essential. I’m now the proud owner of a whole bag of about ten different kinds. There’s just something about being able to walk around all day with glitter on your face, and having other people doing the same and no one blink an eyelid.
I bought the Unicorn glitter below for Glasto and although £5.50 for a little pot seemed like a lot, it does go a long way. That’s the one I’ve got on on my cheeks above.
The other one is a little cheaper at around £3, but don’t you think it looks better the chunkier it is? Whether you just want a little nod to the glitter trend on the side of your face or full on cheek full of the stuff, life’s always more fun with it on your face.
This was our vibe at Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi anyways.
Read more: Beauty Tips for Festivals
9. Fancy dress
– Me and the bezza following the Summer of Love theme at Bestival
Ooo you can’t beat a bit of fancy dress, can you?
Some of the best festival fancy dress I’ve seen is when a group of you dress up with a theme. At Glastonbury there was a group that had just worn all gold – they looked awesome. A flexible theme like this also means everyone can get involved no matter what your budget, body shape, and time. Loved it.
At Bestival one year I saw a group of 8 dressed as Love Hearts, and they actually later went on to win the fancy dress prize, meaning all of them won Bestival tickets for the following year. Brilliant!
Some festivals, like Wilderness and Bestival, have official themes, but even if they don’t, you can always make up your own.
Of course, this whole list is weather dependent. The guaranteed hot desert weather of Coachella is going to need completely different footwear to the questionable seasons in one day at Latitude Festival for example.
Either way I’d recommend you take some comfortable sandals, and of course I like to take a pair of flip flops too. Havaianas are definitely my favourite.
If you’re going to any festival in the UK you’ll (probably) need some wellies on your festival packing list. And, if the seasons are in between and you don’t fancy bearing your soles to the muddy ground or feeling trapped in some high wellies then get yourself a comfy pair of trainers to keep you comfy as you walk the grounds. Personally, I like hiking boots, or super comfy studded black Western-style boots – for the fashion.
You can always change into your hiking boots when it gets dark.
If it’s trainer and welly weather, don’t forget your funky socks. And take plenty of them. In a world where it’s difficult to feel clean, a fresh pair of socks can do wonders.
READ MORE: Best Festival Footwear for Glastonbury et al
The thing is with festival fashion, no matter how pretty and cool you try to look, you need to think about the practicality of your outfit. A pair of trousers or shorts are best for minimal time in the toilet, for sitting on the ground between bands, sitting on people’s shoulders and raving into the earliest hours too.
Multifunctional, practical and cool, that’s what you need in your festival trousers. A pair of jeans would do just as well, and denim shorts are pretty much an absolute must for festivals.
BUT playsuits and dungarees are just cool. Personally, I just don’t see how short skirts are practical – but is that just me being old? Floaty long dresses are a great idea – hides a multitude of sins.
And always, always pack a pair of leggings and tights for if the weather should quickly change.
A few cool tees, a hoody, and a dress or two is all you need, really.
The best idea for your festival fashion packing list is to keep what you take to a minimum and make sure it all matches with each other so you’re not foraging around in your tent searching for the right top. You can just pick it up and go.
If you really want to keep your festival wardrobe to a capsule, think about just wearing denim and black or white, and then take a few accessories to add some colour in.
Always, always take layers to pile on for when the weather inevitably turns. Remember that festival raincoat.
You’ll definitely want to take a bag or two with you to store any warm clothes, cool clothes, food and drink as you go. A fringed bag is always a good idea, although if you’re planning on taking a lot into the main arena then a rucksack might be better as you’ll be wearing it all day. Gotta watch that back…
If you can, go as simple as possible. I mean, the dream festival fashion bag situation is just a bum bag. Take the bare essentials, keep them close to you and keep them to a minimum – that way you have less chance of losing them.
READ MORE: The Festival Accessories You NEED This Year
I love a good pair of sunnies. In fact they’re basically the sole reason I want to have laser eye surgery. Take a few pairs of sunglasses with you, they can totally transform your look quickly and easily.
Did you ever really go the festival if you didn’t put something ridiculous on your head? From flower crowns, to pirate hats, to trilbies – it’s fun to expand your festival fashion horizons with some headwear.