Music was my first love.
While fashion quickly became a close runner up, the effect music had was more profound than the others. I can still remember the first time this realization set in. I was about five years old and outside playing in the yard on a particularly windy day. I had just watched The Little Mermaid, so Ariel’s “ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah..” melody was on the brain. I began singing Ariel’s tune aloud, and somehow the strong winds magnified my voice, the sound of my own voice echoing in my ears magnificently. I was elated. It felt like magic. To this day it feels like magic. And I’ve never forgotten it. My love of music grew exponentially from that day forward and it became one of the greatest joys of my life.
So when I moved to California, with nearly every artist at my disposal, I quickly familiarized myself with the music scene. In addition to attending concert after concert, I knew long before I moved to the West Coast that I wanted to take on the big guns of Coachella. I had a taste of Outsidelands while I was visiting grad schools a few years prior, and Coachella seemed like the next step in the progression.
Perfectly the art of festival attire can feel a little complicated. While I am all for embracing my inner bohemian, I have no desire for anyone to question whether or not I’m actually homeless or if I just teleported from a scene out of Dazed & Confused. I regularly envy the chic festival styles of Kate Bosworth, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Sienna Miller, the refined, sleek approach to festival wear. My personal style is more polished, but still carefree, so channeling hippie-chic does not suit me. Since festival attire can be seemingly difficult to master, I assembled a few of my best festival style (and survival) tips to keep you feeling laid-back yet put-together.
1) Show an appropriate amount of skin
Between short shorts, crop tops, and strategically-placed cutouts, it’s pretty easy to get carried away and end up showing too much skin. As with any outfit, stick to showing a hint of leg or decollate, but never both. Balance out a crop top with a flowy maxi skirt or bright shorts with a long-sleeve striped tee. I tend to opt for an air of mystery, so I aim for combinations that allow me to feel sexy without being overexposed (like the peak of black lace under this muscle tank).
2) Layer up
My preferred festival wear always includes a few textured pieces, usually of the leather, eyelet, and lace variety. Layering becomes a balance of style and function. Temperatures tend to drop off in the evening, especially in the desert and along the water, so plan accordingly. I’ve been known to wear shorts during the day and pack a maxi dress/jacket combo for evening so I can focus on the music rather than how chilly I am.
3) Prints are your friend (but don’t overdo)
A dose of floral, a hint of polka dot..festivals are the perfect opportunity to embrace bold, colorful prints (check out tips for mixing patterns under #4 here).
4) Think of your feet
As tempting as it is to use a festival as an excuse to pick up some new sandals, the Polo Field (or Golden Gate Park, etc.) is not the right venue for breaking in a new pair of shoes. Reality check: mud, sand, and 12+ hours on your feet will not end well in brand new kicks. Stick with tried and true sandals, boots, and consider packing a brightly-colored pair of Chucks.
5) Have fun with accessories
Pile on rings, bangles, and don your favorite hat! Swap out your spendy shades for a less expensive yet equally stylish pair. There is a slew of incredible options out there for less than $15 (a few favorites here, here, & here).
KARMA MUSCLE TANK (SOLD OUT – OTHER MUSCLE TANKS HERE AND HERE) | LEATHER SHORTS (OLD – MOST SIMILAR HERE WITH BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTIONS HERE AND HERE) | BALCONETTE BRA | WHITE SANDALS | LIGHT BLUE CLUTCH | SAFETY PIN MIDI RING (SOLD OUT – SIMILAR OPTION IN GOLD HERE) | LIPSTICK (SCHIAP) | NAIL POLISH (HAVEN’T THE FOGGIEST)
Photos by Mike Avery