We are well and truly in the throes of festival season! With Coachella concluding for another year, I originally thought to sit down and rate some of the festival outfits that graced our feeds over the past two weekends. But then I realised I’ve never even been to a festival before (I know) so I didn’t really feel like I could play armchair expert (yet always feel qualified to review the Met Gala even though I’ve definitely never attended, go figure). So! I decided to turn to not one but five incredibly fashionable creatives who I do consider experts on the matter!
Sharing their thoughts is owner of festival fashion boutique Stardust Disco Melody McCarthy, creator of custom denim label Shy Denim Cheianna Jade, Esperanto magazine editor and blogger Maggie Zhou, Melbourne-based musician Evangeline, and lifestyle YouTuber Aliesha Wyatt.
Check out their answers below to see what they think makes a great festival outfit, where they find their festival threads, and what they don’t recommend wearing.
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COACHELLAAA BABYYY! 🎪🎡 Scored tickets a week ago, jumped on a flight to LA and here I am back in Palm Springs living my absolute best life!!! Day 1 was insane – total out of mind/body/soul experience, and I don’t think I’ve ever danced so hard for 12 hours straight! Bringing @stardustdisco to @coachella was a dream that I didn’t think I’d get to do only 2 years in! I’M SO HAPPY & LIFE IS AMAZING 🥰🕺🏼🎶💕⚡️
What makes a great festival outfit?
“Something bold, something different, something that turns heads. I’m a firm believer in wearing clothes that make you feel good as well looking good. Whether that’s a rainbow crochet dress or an all black ensemble, you do you. In the wise words of Ashley aka @best.dressed, “if at least 10 people don’t think your outfit is absolutely hideous then it’s not worth wearing because you’re not taking enough risks.” – Maggie
“To me what makes a good fit is expression of your very own personality and effort in the details. I don’t care if what your wearing isn’t trendy – if I see you and think ‘wow I get you’ and I don’t even have to speak to you, I love it.” – Evangeline
“ACCESSORIES are key! In my opinion, the more the better, and the bigger wow factor it will have for your outfit. I always pick a colour theme and work my whole outfit and accessories around that colour palette to bring it together. Also always stick on theme with your styling so that it works coherently.” – Melody
“To make an outfit truly stand out you have to add accessories! This year I’ve been loving the butterfly style capes! I love shoes, belts, bags and jewellery! All those things really elevate a look!” – Aliesha
“I think a great festival outfit is something super funky, unique & if you’re going with a boyfriend or bestie… I LOVE epic co-ordinated fits!” – Cheianna
Your biggest tips when dressing for a festival? What items wouldn’t you recommend wearing?
“Dress for your body shape so that you’ll feel as confident as possible, show off your best assets and cover areas you aren’t as comfortable with so you don’t have to be self conscious at the festival. Always wear covered-in-shoes, and wear platforms not heals to still achieve height without pain.” – Melody
“My biggest tip for festival dressing is to have a good balance between fashion & comfort. When putting my outfit together I always make sure I find a jacket to match for when it gets cold at night. Then I work out how I’m going to carry this & other necessities around. A small bum bag is perfect for dancing, however it doesn’t hold much. So at a festival like Splendour we usually camp, so I leave my jacket at the tent then collect it later. At Coachella however, we didn’t camp, so we booked lockers. This way we didn’t have to drag around our jackets, sunscreen etc. all day. When the sun went down we went and put our sunglasses away & had back-up water in there as well as the lines for the re-fills were super long!” – Cheianna
“My biggest tip for festival dressing is to have a good balance between fashion & comfort. – Cheianna
“I think at the end of the day to be comfortable and confident. You want to feel good in what you are wearing (always important to be feeling’ yo’self) At the end of the day though you want to be comfortable so you can enjoy the bands! The last thing you want when enjoying the good music is to be feeling sick because your pants are too tight or your shoes are killing you! If you are on a budget I tend to go with one statement piece! You can always find clothes on a budget and then find a piece of jewellery or bag that people can focus on.” – Evangeline
“My top tip would be wearing platform boots because personally I don’t like boots without any heel so it’s that compromise between a heel and a comfy flat boot! Also a lot of my local festivals can end up being muddy, for example Splendour in the Grass almost always turns into Splendour in the Mud! So that extra lift can help in that situation too!” – Aliesha
“You’re going to be on your feet all day so be prepared! Open toed shoes? Heels? Don’t make me laugh. A solid pair of boots will do the trick. My biggest pet peeve for festivals is strapless bras. You’ll be tugging on it all day and struggling to keep it in position. Not fun when you’re being throttled in a mosh. A small bag is essential for your wallet, phone, sunnies and WATER. Don’t forget water. I’m team bumbag. A bit controversial I know.” – Maggie
Your go-to places when searching for festival items?
“My friends’ wardrobes! Being in a design course, they all have killer stuff. Borrowing items is good for your wallet and good for the environment. That’s a big concern for festivals; buying outrageous clothes for a one day event, which are ready to be thrown out the next day. Op shops are a go-to for my festival gear, you never know what to expect. Besides that, my own wardrobe is where I turn to first! If you wanna buy something new, maybe stick with one snazzy new piece and utilise the rest of your ‘drobe as a base for your look.” – Maggie
“I try and create really unique outfits when I go to any festival. I usually end up making something from scratch – especially now that I have my own brand, I want to share this with the world and the easiest way for me to do that is wear it myself. Some places I buy festival accessories though are Dolls Kill, Tree of Life, Topshop and last but not least good ol’ Ali Express. This way it doesn’t matter if I lose or break something as everything is so cheap!” – Cheianna
“Vintage always! You are never going to feel like you will run into someone in the same fit …and there is something about the way those pieces fit to your body in a way a new piece can’t.” – Evangeline
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My fave photo taken of me playing live pretty sure @rage_against_the_dentist took at my first show in France playing to 25k people (lol wtf). Feelin’ super reflective as I haven’t released any music from my own project in literally over a year and I’m currently preparing for a release and excited af. Like hold me back I’m too happy Rn.
Finally, any tips for surviving the actual festivals?
“Pace yourself, girlfriend. From one nap addict to another, I get tired very easily. Like home from parties at 10pm sleepy. Get there a bit later if you can, bring a refillable water bottle and suss out the food trucks (and plan out when you’re gonna eat between sets!) Other tips? Bring a disposable camera. Compliment strangers’ outfits. Don’t be that dickhead in the crowd. Sing as loudly as you want. Dance as wildly as you can.” – Maggie
“I’m a huge pre-planner for festivals. I like to know who’s playing and when so I can (try to at least) arrive early and get a good spot for the gig. Portable chargers are a must! Bring lots of snacks if you’re camping because food is expensive!” – Cheianna
“Drink water! This is advice I should probably take onboard for my next festival too (oops!). But in terms of fashion, always bring a bag that fits the essentials!” – Aliesha
“Hydrate, we all underestimate water. Our bodies need it and will be so grateful.” – Evangeline
“Hydrate, take Panadol, take touch up makeup, wear sunscreen, wear double socks and bandaid your feet.” – Melody
Massive thank you to Aliesha, Cheianna, Evangeline, Maggie and Melody for letting me pick their stylish brains to find out everything about festival fashion 101! I said at the start of this post how I’d never been to a festival before, but I have a feeling that’s definitely going to change after this!
What are your thoughts on festival fashion? Feel free to comment below!
– Jessica xo