Festival season is well underway. Every year, we see tons of weird, wacky and wonderful festival outfits ranging from full fancy dress to chic favourites that are perfect for the UK summertime.
As everyone probably knows, sun and dry weather are far from assured in the UK! So festival wear needs to blend fashion and practicality while also not taking itself too seriously.
This is a guide to dressing for festivals.
The Many Types of Festivals In The UK
Firstly, let’s pay homage to the many, many types of festivals we have in the UK.
If you want a full list of festivals in the UK, go no further than this enormous Wikipedia list that contains literally hundreds of photos divided across different genres and styles.
Unfortunately, many aren’t still active, so if you’re looking for new and exciting festivals, you’ll have to cross-check them to see if they’re still running.
A short, curated selection of top British festivals includes:
- Beautiful Days
- Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
- Boomtown Fair
- Cambridge Folk Festival
- Camp Bestival
- Download Festival
- End Of The Road
- Fairport's Cropredy Convention
- Glastonbury Festival
- Green Man
- Isle of Wight Festival
- Kendal Calling
- Lovebox Festival
- Parklife Weekender
- Reading & Leeds
- The Great Escape
- TRNSMT Festival
- Victorious Festival
- Wilderness Festival
- Wychwood Music Festival
To be honest, this list barely scratches the surface!
Every festival has its fair share of types and stereotypes. So let’s break them down:
- Festival posh: Throwing on nice blue jeans with expensive welly boots, a plain top and a green country-style tweed jacket (think Barbour) is the quintessential festival posh.
- New-age hippie: Take old-school hippy fashion and brand it up with Nike, Adidas, etc, to create the new-age hippie. Complete with wacky sunglasses, bucket hats and neon accessories.
- Grunger: Rock and metal festivals obviously have their own distinct style, but you’ll see plenty of people rocking simple Nirvana or Iron Maiden t-shirts (but how many songs do they know?!)
- Glitterhead: Tons of glitter, tons of sequins, and some fancy dress clothes to match. Spot at Bestival and Boomtown.
- Urban: Think 90s hip hop vibes with baggy clothes, caps, and more baggy clothes. Add some oversized shoes and black jackets.
- The utilitarian: This one is ready for whatever the elements can throw at them. Walking points combine with hiking brand jackets and tech-fabric leggings. Most likely spotted at Glastonbury.
- The pretty one: Super-clean with white tops, simple jackets and generic summer fashion. Looks good, if a little unadventurous.
- The raver: UV, glitter, dyed hair and neon OR black, black and more black..with fake leather, chunky boots and latex.
None of these are bad choices - festivals enable anyone to pretty much do what they want, which is part of the experience. However, space is often at a premium at festivals and it’s tricky to know what to pack.
Here are our suggestions:
1: The Weather Really Matters
First and foremost, ignoring the weather is a rookie mistake that can have catastrophic consequences. If you’re a) cold or b) wet, then you’re going to struggle to have a good time.
It’s usually best to pack two pairs of shoes; one dry pair and one all-weather pair. Even if you’re wet, having dry shoes to put on in the morning makes a big difference. Socks are small, and it’s worth packing loads as you can double up if you’re cold.
Never forget a jacket, preferably a waterproof one. A large, proper waterproof jacket can keep most of your body warm and dry. Don’t bother with small or undersized jackets that don’t provide much coverage. Welly boots are stylish and functional - a must for festivals likely to be wet.
Warm base layers are a good shout - they can help you keep warm day and night. You can easily conceal vests behind t-shirts and jumpers, and they’re easy to pack.
If it is guaranteed to be sweltering, then clothes become less of an issue.
Cool cotton fabrics are the best shout. Graphic t-shirts go with leggings or shorts and you can wear your bottoms high across your waist and tuck your top in if you want to avoid the baggy look.
2: Hats And Accessories Rule
Most festivals have one thing in common: an abundance of weird hats, sunglasses and other accessories.
Each year, thousands of people shop for crazy sunglasses; these are an amazing way to make any outfit more festival-y. Hats are a staple too, especially bucket hats, which are incredibly in-trend (perhaps too much so!)
When it comes to accessories, cheap out and leave expensive pieces at home. That means affordable bags, affordable jewellery, affordable everything.
Gorjus London has some awesome bags suitable for festivals. Check out our bazaar fabric collection!
3: No Heels!
Bringing heels to a festival is a bad move, regardless of whether it’s Cheltenham Jazz or Henley Rewind or Download or Reading Festival.
This is an obvious one, but sometimes people think they can still get away with just a little heel.
In reality, festivals are about sturdy shoes, wellies, trainers and sliders/sandals only if the weather is hot-hot. However, that still leaves people with plenty of options that won’t
jeopardise their feet, ankles and dignity.
4: Gym Clothes Go Festival
You’ll see loads of people in gym clothes at festivals, meaning sports brand leggings, tights, shorts, cycling shorts, and tight-fitting cropped tank tops. It makes sense - festivals are a workout, and many gym clothes are designed to protect you from both warm and cool weather.
Plus, you can easily jazz up a sporty look with bright accessories and a cool jacket. Think about contrasting gym clothes with a vintage cardigan or jumper, or sling a denim jacket over some Adidas leggings, for example.
5: Best Dresses For Fests
For those who wish to flaunt their body, a simple bodycon dress will really rock it at a festival. Abstract, bright or psychedelic patterns really work too, and work perfectly with a cool hat, a bumbag, high socks and some snazzy trainers.
A plain black bodycon with boots and black accessories is a great choice at EDM and rock festivals - both suits that industrial look.
You can also go the opposite direction from bodycon, and go for an oversized dress. Oversized t-shirt dresses look cool, are cool, and work with practically any festival genre from rock to pop.
Of course, any floral dresses work very well too and can look chic and casual with a pair of white trainers.
Feeling bolder? Try asymmetrical or cut-out dresses that show more skin.
Summary: How To Dress For Festivals
And there we have our top 5 tips for dressing for festivals.
Of course, dressing for festivals is about the fun factor, so don’t take it too seriously. The only thing you should take 100% seriously is the weather, which can ruin things if you don’t pack accordingly.
Other than that, it’s an open playing field!