Just because it looks good doesn’t mean you should wear it to a music festival. We all know that fashion plays a huge role in the concert scene, and everyone has an opinion about what you should buy and wear during music festival season. Magazines seek to guide you with trend lists, stores attempt to sell you with festival-themed duds and your fashion-focused friends aim to control you with rigidly color-blocked group costume ideas. And while these outfits and items may look cute, not all of them are ideal for a day out in the mud navigating crowds and pissing in port-a-potties.
So, before you go hunting through Pinterest boards or evaluating slideshows from last year to prep for round two of Coachella 2017 this weekend and other summer fests, take a moment to heed these warnings about fashion trends that are more trouble than they’re worth.
Bodysuits look cute, but picture this: You are at a festival having a great time. You’ve had a beer, maybe two. Your friends are all hanging in the crowd but you realize you won’t be able to last through the next set without a quick trip to the bathroom. The long line puts you in a panic; why did you wait so long to empty your bladder, are you a masochist? Finally, it is your turn and you are forced to enter the one porta-potty that is sitting directly in the sun. As you struggle to lower your shorts you remember you have a bodysuit on. You balance on one foot, attempting to avoid the mud all over the floor. You are shaky in the heat, sweat beading on your upper lip as you remove your shorts and begin removing your bodysuit. You are now fully nude as you finally relieve your bladder. You begin to feel lightheaded, the heat and bathroom smells and general coffin-like atmosphere have you talking to yourself, convincing your body to stay upright. You accidentally drop your shorts on the floor but soldier on. Finally, just as you are ready to give up, you emerge back into the field and gasp for breath. Everyone is looking at you. Your bodysuit is on backwards.
2. Flip flops
Do you like to take risks? Then wear flip flops to a music festival. Relying on a single thin strip of plastic or leather between your toes is really taking a gamble, considering that over the course of a full festival day they will probably get stuck in some mud, stepped on by a surging crowd, or pulled apart during a dance party. If you are determined to expose your toes then opt for a more strappy sandal, something that attaches around the sides or back of your feet. Just make sure to stress-test them first. Maybe jump around for a whole song at home, walk a mile and then see how you feel. Make sure the straps won’t give you a blister and the soles aren’t too thin to offer any support. You don’t want to be that person dragging one foot behind you like a wounded animal in an attempt to keep your shoe on. And just stay away from high heels because, come on.
3. Leather or pleather
There is always that one guy at a festival in a pleather hat, or that one girl in leather shorts. Wearing anything made from these materials to an outdoor music festival is just a bad idea no matter the weather. If it is hot, leather and pleather heat up in the sun and won’t absorb your sweat. If it rains, leather and pleather can shrink up. Stick to clothing items that won’t disappoint you during inevitable weather fluctuations.
Sadly, jumpers are pretty much the same story as bodysuits; an adorable item that looks great but does not give you the easy access you need at a festival. Additionally, aside from the issue that you have to get almost fully nude to use the bathroom, most jumpers come complete with a zipper or tie or button in the back that you can’t reach without some help from a friend or a kind stranger. And pretty much the last thing you will want to do after hours of dancing is wander around a maze of porta-potties while possibly in the dark, trying to find someone to zip the back of your jumper. It is a heartbreaker because they look great, but if we are going for efficiency, these are on the no-go list. Save it for a night out where you can visit a proper bathroom with light and air conditioning and have a friend standing nearby to help you button up.
5. Very short shorts or dresses
Everyone should wear whatever they want, whenever they want, so if you want to rock that short skirt then more power to you. But, unless you scored a VIP ticket, chances are you will not see a single chair the entire time you are at a music festival. And while most of your day is spent standing, walking or dancing, it is inevitable that at some point you will need to take a break and sit on the ground. Regardless of whether you choose to seek out a patch of concrete, dirt, or grass, finding a comfortable position while wearing a short skirt, dress or pair of shorts can be pretty tough. Just think of how much easier lowering yourself into the grass would be if you had a few more inches of fabric. Or imagine all the cross legged and spread out positions you could arrange yourself in if you didn’t have to worry about everyone seeing your underwear. And no one wants a dusty butt. Just make it easier on yourself and skip the micro-skirt unless you are wearing some shorts underneath or you are just really committed to your outfit choice.
6. Any item that will give you a strange tan line
There is nothing like day three of a music festival when the weird tan lines show up in full force. Kind of makes you wish you rethought those sparkle stickers you placed all over your arm. Or that one-sleeved shirt you wore on Friday. Or that bandana you tied around your forehead. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your heart and finally wear that half-mask that gives you a half-tan. Just be prepared for some stares once you remove it.
7. Large brimmed hats
Sometimes the urge to wear a dramatic hat is so strong that you will actually build an entire outfit around it. But let’s just say that halfway through your day at a music festival the temperature starts to soar and your trendy hat is now making your head sweat like crazy. Or it starts raining and the brim of your big floppy hat is now hanging limply into your line of sight. Or someone behind you gets angry that your hat is blocking their view and casually edges it off your head and onto the ground where it instantly becomes a metaphor for your crushed dream of designing your own line of hats. Basically, the last thing you want to worry about at a festival is how to fit something else into your bag, and there is never a good way to shove your hat in a bag without ruining it. A good rule is that any sort of accessory you can’t see yourself wearing all day is just not a good choice for a festival. Adhere to that classic Coco Chanel quote, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Nine out of 10 times, that thing you take off will be a floppy hat.