Street Fashionista: Summer Festival Fashion

Categories:      Fashion
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Street Fashionista: Summer Festival Fashion by Lili Morton

As summer begins to wane, we can be grateful that the season’s music festivals continue to jam on. Yes, live music is the draw, but fashion is an accompaniment all its own. Over the years, festivals have developed their own style, so much so that retailers have gotten in on the act. Many of the crochet, bandeaus, lace shorts, free-flowing floral frocks, and tanks on the racks likely got some of their inspiration from summer festivals. 

But what exactly is festival fashion? And how can you make it work for you? 

Festival fashion is all about creating a funky, boho look that you could rarely get away with on a typical day. A good place to start is to seek inspiration from serial festivalgoers like Kate Bosworth or Vanessa Hudgens (Google them for images galore). 

Then, consider what I tell my clients and tailor to fit you.

Pick one trend: Too often I see festival-goers trying to work every trend into one look – which is a huge faux pas. Unless you’re a super successful stylist, pick one trend and work with it. Great examples would be: A tribal-print dress with a cross-body fringe bag; printed maxi skirt with a solid-color crop top, and flower crown; distressed, cut-off denim short with a graphic tee/tank, cool hat (fedora), and cross-body bag. 

Bathing suits are not clothes – just as leggings are not pants. Yes, it’s hot, but strutting around a field in a bikini in the midst of tons of people is not an option. On the contrary, wearing shorts over a one-piece suit totally works. (Disclaimer: If you’re attending one of the many pool parties at a festival, the bathing suit rule does not apply).

Be practical: Most of us won’t be attending those celebrity-studded, festival pool parties, so our garb needs to be a bit more functional. Heels or even wedges are not the best footwear when it comes to parading around a field all day. Opt for trendy, gladiator flats, espadrilles, cool sneakers (huge trend this season), booties or cowboy boots.

Face the facts: Unless you want to endure frequent touch-ups at the first break of sweat, keep your makeup to a minimum. You want to look fresh and easygoing, so wear a tinted moisturizer instead of a liquid foundation. Go ahead and play around with your eye makeup – just be sure to wear no-smudge eyeliner and waterproof mascara. Oil absorbing blotting paper is also a great (and cheap) item to keep nearby (a pack of Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing sheets are less than $5 at Target).

No Bra, No Prob: I don’t suggest losing the support, but, if possible, opt for a bralette (which could take the form of a training bra or cropped cami) or bandeau with straps. After hours in the sun, a normal bra will become sticky and uncomfortable. A bralette will keep you comfy and fits into festival fashion perfectly. Pair with crochet top or an over-sized tank and cut-off shorts or a maxi skirt. If you have a comfortable, cotton-type bra, this is the one time in your life you won’t be judged for showing your colored bra straps. Flaunt those straps with pride. 

Braids for Days: Braids are the season’s sensation. Milkmaid, waterfall, messy side-braid bun, classic French, and – my personal favorite – the fishtail. Keep cool and look cool by sporting one of these styles this summer. 

Headgear: Flower crowns, wide-brimmed hats, fedoras, baseball cap, single-flower hair piece, embellished headbands – take your pick!

Denim: Head-to-toe denim or a simple pair of denim cut-offs scream All-American festival icon. 

Rompers: Easy, effortless style. Top with a flower crown and you’re all set.

Now that you have some ideas, here are suggestions for where to build your look. Free People and Nasty Gal are two of my favorite retailers for summer festival fashion. Free People offers a more boho, hippie style while Nasty Gal is more rock and cutting-edge. Both have online shops. 

UK company ASOS also has some great options. I recently styled my client, Miki, in a daisy print, crochet top for her trip to the Governor’s Ball. ASOS has been my go-to for years. 

While Coachella, Governor’s Ball, and Bonnaroo have come and gone, there is still time (if tickets are available) to catch Lollapalooza in Chicago, Hopscotch in Raleigh, Austin City Limits, and Electric Zoo in NYC, and around these parts, you can still sport your festival best at our local outdoor scenes at the Gathering at Chaffee’s, 8 Great Tuesdays, Erie Art Museum’s Blues and Jazz Fest, and Penn Shore Winery’s Concert Series – just to name a few. 

Lili Morton can be contacted at, and you can follow her on Twitter @SatinAndScotch. 

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