Colgate Couture : How to Do Festival Fashion

One of the best things about warm weather is all of the music festivals that start up in the spring and summer months. Though the fashion sensibility varies slightly per event, it seems like a lot of festival-goers try to recreate the flower child vibe of Woodstock, creating a general festival aesthetic that can be described as gypsy-hipster-pirate chic. Stores and e-boutiques like Free People, Wasteland, Threadsence and Urban Outfitters all currently offer festival-ready look books to help you get inspired. Whether you’re going to Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork or just plan on taking part in Spring Party Weekend, get in style with festival fashion essentials.

Faced with the prospect of spending hours in the sun to see various bands and musicians, it is obvious that items like shorts should be implemented heavily into your wardrobe. But don’t just settle for your old denim cut-offs! Get weird and wild in a variety of printed, multi-colored or spiked shorts. As part of a special capsule collection of festival-inspired fashions, Forever 21 offers colorful Serape pattern shorts, two-tone denim cutoffs and pale blue shorts featuring palm trees and pink clouds – all under $20. Pair with a graphic muscle tee or eyelet top for maximum hippie appeal. Equally popular at festivals are breezy maxi skirts in chiffon, crochet and lace. Stretch the outfit’s potential by wearing your maxi as a skirt one day and belting it as a dress the next day.

A common mistake made by festival first-timers is to wear a cute pair of shoes to the shows. But since overzealous fans inevitably stepping on your toes makes wearing sandals impossible and the grassy set-up will cause the downfall of anyone who dares to wear wedges or heels, it is best to stick with a sturdy pair of boots or stylish sneakers like classic Chuck Taylor Converses.

With all these simple pieces that make up the basic festival outfit, the dose of whimsy and weirdness that festival fashion is known for comes from the accessories. Always popular at events like Coachella is the hippie-favorite flower crown, though it is up to you to choose whether to wear real wild flowers in your hair or go the faux-flower route with a wreath purchased from any number of websites like Urban Outfitters or ASOS. If flowers aren’t your thing, opt for a wide-brimmed floppy hat or tie a scarf into a front-knot turban-style for a similar boho vibe. Add fun extras to your look like decorating your face with stick-on jewels or star-shaped stickers, or adorning your hands and feet with henna ink designs. Load up on large stone rings to wear on every finger and, when you run out of fingers, wear thin midi rings on your knuckles! Layer necklaces, wear oversized earrings and stack your arms with a variety of bangles, charm bracelets, cuffs and woven fabric friendship-style bracelets as well. The look should be haphazard but stylish – on the edge of being too much. Though the classic Aviator and Wayfarer-style sunglasses are always fashion favorites, try other eyeglass trends like mirrored lens or rounded John Lennon-ish frames to stand out in the crowd. A helpful tip I’ve learned from my many festival experiences is to pack a large, lightweight scarf in your bag to help shade from the sun and double as something to sit on during shows.

The fun of festival fashion is that anything goes, so take these suggestions and go crazy with them. Create a flower child look that is all your own. I look forward to seeing all the wild fashions for SPW.