Some Fashion Advice for a Music Festival First-Timer

One of my favorite parts about attending a music festival is picking an outfit to wear to it. Be creative– you are encouraged to express yourself through your sense of style and can rock it without judgment from anyone because it’s all about peace, love, unity, and respect. In this day and age, modern society encourages women to be proud of their bodies and express themselves in any way they wish. At festivals, women are in an environment where they are not sexualized. They are not looked at as a piece of meat. Men and other women respect each other, and it’s empowering to express yourself through an outfit you wouldn’t typically wear outside festival grounds. However, there are some things you should avoid for the purpose of cultural appropriation, functionality, practicality, and comfort. As someone who has attended five music festivals and countless raves (no, seriously– I’ve gone to so many that I’ve lost count), I have a little bit of fashion advice I’d like to share for a festival first-timer.

1. Anything Offensive is Off Limits

Sorry, Lana. Culture is not a costume. Headdresses, bindis, Native American war paint– just, no. You will encounter these on Pinterest and Instagram while searching for outfit inspiration, but understand they are prime examples of cultural appropriation (S/O to Electric Forest for including headdresses on their list of “Prohibited Items in the Venue Area”). On top of this, anything offensive and discriminatory in general is not okay. 

2. Take it Easy on the Glitter

I promise you, a little goes a long way. Maybe you’ve seen the trend of glitter butts going around, and I’ll be honest– I think it looks kind of cute. If you’re into it, go for it! But warning: You’ll be washing glitter off you for days. Weeks. Maybe months. It stays with you forever. So, maybe a little around your eyes is the way to go.


3. Backpacks Aren’t Always Ideal

Most music festivals don’t even allow backpacks past a certain size– typically, nothing larger than a basic drawstring bag. These are fine if you want to carry stuff with you, but they can get in the way and be uncomfortable. If it’s a one-day festival, a fanny pack is perfect! You can fit your phone, keys, money (not all of it, of course), and ID in there. If it’s a multi-day festival, you may want to look into getting a hydration pack. I got one on Amazon for $30 that doubles as a backpack. It holds all my basic necessities, 2 liters of water, and still has room for extra supplies. Plus the waist strap adds to the comfort. 10/10 would recommend.


4. Don’t Wear Shoes You’ll Want to Wear Again

They will get ruined. People are likely to step on your feet a lot, and you there’s a high chance you’ll step in some type of gross substance– Ice cream? A slice of pizza? Puke? Leave the cute Vans at home. Wear shoes that are comfortable and can handle mud in case it rains. I prefer combat boots that are easy to clean. And be sure to break in any new pair of shoes before wearing them to a festival. Dancing with feet covered in blisters is not fun.


5. Beware of Bodysuits

If you’ve rocked a sexy bodysuit on a night out, then you understand how difficult it is to go to the bathroom while wearing one. Now, picture struggling to button your bodysuit inside a small, dark porta-potty as someone tampers with the handle from the outside. It’s a terrifying situation. Most bodysuits made for raves and festivals don’t button at the bottom, which means you have two options: 1. Pull the bottom to the side and risk peeing on yourself and your outfit, or 2. Strip naked and pray no one mistakes the porta-potty as vacant. Think twice before buying that sequin bodysuit; it may not be worth the hassle.


6. Comfort > Beauty

You are going to be on your feet all day. You are going to dance more than you thought. You are going to sweat a lot. It’s crucial to your festival experience that you’re comfortable. Those heeled platform boots may look cute, but will the rocky terrain of the festival grounds agree with them? You may be comfortable in a super cropped top that just covers your breasts when you try it on, but what happens when you start dancing and jumping? Fun pasties are adorable to wear with a mesh top, but what if the adhesive wears off? You can still look cute and be comfortable, but consider worst case scenarios. I always carry a bralette with me in my hydration pack just in case of a wardrobe malfunction up top.


7. If it’s Expensive, Leave it at Home

It’s almost inevitable that you’ll lose or break something at a music festival. Wear a pair of cheap sunglasses instead of your Ray-Bans. Don’t bother with the jewelry because it will just get in the way. Why be fancy when you could be dance-y? Unfortunately, even in a place of positivity and love, thieves still exist amongst the attendees. Don’t risk getting something valuable stolen from you. Be sure to only bring enough cash to last you the weekend and not your entire wallet.

As long as your outfit doesn’t offend anyone (with the exception of conservatives who are appalled by you showing– dare I say– skin), there are no limits when it comes to designing a festival outfit. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and wear something unique. Contrary to old-fashion belief, you can show off your body and still have respect for yourself. Whether you prefer an oversized t-shirt with patterned leggings, or pasties and booty shorts, all are accepted on festival grounds.


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