IIt’s that time of year again – when festival lineups begin flooding our Facebook feeds, ticket frenzies heat up and the fashion world starts talking about how to make your wellies look chic. For many, festivals are just as much about the fashion as the music – but what’s in this year and what’s out?
The Western-inspired look is still going strong in 2016, and will no doubt continue to be popular in the coming years. This trend is tipped to be in-demand this summer, and it’s thankfully very easy to give your outfit a Western flair. Denim in any form is a must, along with an earthy colour palette of whites, creams and rusty reds and oranges. Even a basic outfit can be spiced up with a statement waistcoat like this one from Boohoo. Alternatively, keep the vibe understated with a simple accessory like this double buckled belt from Asos. The more outlandish among us may even be tempted to go full cowgirl and rock a stetson…
Another perennial festival favourite is the boho/peasant look and it’s back for 2016. This is similar to the Western look, but softer – think floaty silhouettes, paisley prints and delicate layers. Go classic with a pretty smock dress (like Topshop’s current offering) and plenty of jewellery, or pair a peasant-style top with distressed denim if overly girly isn’t your style. In a move away from the hyper-branding it’s traditionally been known for, Hollister has released this simple wrap top which comes in a variety of colours and patterns to suit any taste.
As much as I’m sure we all wish our festival experience could be 100% fashionable, it’s the sad truth that our statement sandals or best pair of boots probably wouldn’t survive the mud and crowds. Unless you’re headed to a festival in a sunnier climbs – in which case, lucky you – wellies are the safest footwear option for the British weather. If stereotypes about Exetah are to be believed, everyone here is already equipped with a handsome pair of Hunters… but if that doesn’t ring true for you, Deichmann has a modest range of wellies in several different styles for very affordable prices – good if you’d rather dedicate the majority of your budget to more fashionable festival pieces!
Where there’s festivals in Britain, there’s probably rain, so it’s vital to have a sturdy coat to hand in case the heavens open or the winds pick up. A classic khaki parka is both stylish and practical and this one from prettylittlething.com comes with a snuggly faux-fur lining for when it gets really chilly. It’s a little pricier, but – without wanting to sound too much like an overprotective mum – it’s a good investment and will undoubtedly come in handy in Autumn and Winter.
When it comes to festival fashion there are few real fashion rules, so for this section I am going to discuss some things that should be avoided for more sensitive reasons. Yes, I’m talking about cultural appropriation – something which is becoming more widely understood, but still needs discussion. The most commonly appropriated items are the bindi and the Native American warbonnet or headdress, and both of these should be avoided as they are hugely significant within their respective cultures. Bindis are central to the Hindu religion, with different colours signifying different occasions and stages in life. You can read more about why bindis should not be used as fashion accessories in this article.
Similarly, the Native American warbonnet or headdress has become one of the most common images associated with Natives, but has also become popular in white fashion circles. However, making the warbonnet into an accessory perpetuates stereotypes about natives and reduces the 500+ tribes in the USA down to a single idea – when in fact, only a handful of Plains tribes even wear warbonnets at all. Furthermore, the warbonnet has a deep spiritual significance amongst Native communities and is exclusively reserved for men, making it’s popularity as a fashion accessory among white women even more offensive. If you’re still not convinced, have a read of this comprehensive article to answer any questions you may have. If you really want to wear something Native American (read: jewellery or moccasins, not a warbonnet), buy it directly from Native designers rather than funding white companies who profit from appropriating marginalised cultures.
Another festival trend that is perhaps worth mentioning in this section is ‘wristband culture’: continuing to wear festival wristbands long after the festival has ended. I personally have no opinion on this, but I’ll include this satirical offering from a fellow Exeposé writer as food for thought.
Hopefully this article has awakened your sartorial side in time for your next festival adventure… but this year, leave the bindis at home.