A REAL Festival Style Guide

It's that time of the year again. Magazines and blogs flood with Festival Style articles. Shops link to their festival collections. Retailers release their festival lookbooks. 

I'm sorry, but have these people ever been to a festival? I don't know about you, but this is what real festival style looks like to me.

Wednesday lunchtime starts with good intentions:
Monday morning tells a different story:

So I decided to write a real festival style guide. Take it from someone who's been going to festivals every summer for the past 8 years. I know what I'm talking about. And not a floral headband in sight.

Ignore the magazines. Seriously. You'll regret it otherwise. Denim might well be hardwearing but it's also very, VERY porous. And it will rain. The last thing you want is chafing your thighs from soggy jeans or shorts that just will not dry. 

First things first
Take old clothes. I'm serious. Never take anything you love. There is at least a 25% chance that you won't bring it home. It will get muddy, or damp, or ripped, or your friend will throw up over you on a fairground ride (yep, that really happened to me) and you'll need to throw it away. If you're not happy to leave it in a field, don't take it. 

The uniform
Wear leggings. Yes, I know it will be hot but it will be worth it. Plump for cropped styles if you need to. If you're blessed with legs that aren't prone to chub rub, you can go bare-legged but pack the leggings for when it gets cold. 

A lightweight skirt is always the best choice. Consider the rain- You want something that is going to dry really quickly and won't stick to your body too much. Team with a basic t shirt. There will be festival and band tees a-plenty so you can show your true colours (Your true emo colours, in my case!)

Shoes should be wellies or Converse/Vans, depending on the weather. Pack both, and make sure your wellies are as high as possible. It's amazing how high that mud can reach!

If you're one of the hardcore league, like moi, make every day a fancy dress day. Behold, Download 2011! 

Pack the following: 3 pairs of knee-high socks (at least), pyjamas, a onesie, a hoodie, a hat, gloves and slippers. You will wear all of these to bed. I know, I know, it's 25 degrees and you're roasting. You won't be at 4am. Trust me.

Take a billion hair bobbles. Don't even think about going into the pit with your hair down. It will be ripped (or more likely bitten) out. It will get muddy. It will get dusty. And sweaty. And covered with alcohol, or bodily fluids. Just tie it up. Don't be prissy about it. You don't need to put it in fancy fishtail braids or victory rolls. A simple bun will do. 

Your make up kit should consist of eyeliner, face paint, SPF and make up wipes. That's it. Unless you're going for the red eyeshadow emo look like I did up there! There's no point applying full make up. It will all run when someone empties a pint glass (of beer, if you're lucky) over your head. It's a waste of good make up.

Anything else?
Don't forget waterproofs! A poncho is a must and waterproof trousers will scream "I know exactly what I'm doing!" Yes, you look like a fireman/fisherman crossbreed. Yes, you feel like a tool. But do you feel wet? No. So stop whinging. It's a festival, not a fashion parade.


  1. I totally agree about all these 'festival style' features - especially ones featuring sandals. You'd last all of 5 minutes in the mud in those!
    Great post :)


    1. Haha girls who wear flip flops are the funniest!

  2. Best festival-guide ever! Seriously, all those dressed up girlies whining about the mud and's just stupid. No one cares how you look so why not wear something your superhero outfit by the way! :)

    1. I hate seeing girls spend ages straightening their hair with battery-powered straighteners. What's the point? It will last 10 minutes!

  3. THIS IS AWESOME! I often see those festival guides and wonder how many of these people have ever freaking been to a festival? This is a great post!

  4. FINALLY a guide that's really says it like it is, especially when it comes to British festivals. I think most of the 'festival style guides' are definitely geared towards people going to something like Coachella - and that's in the middle of the desert so no rain there lol.
    The spare socks thing is a good tip, in any situation a fresh pair of socks feels amazing :)

    1. I take a billion pairs of socks haha! You always need more socks!

  5. This is brilliant! My gorgeous friend pulls of the proper "festival style" perfectly- I however, wore denim shorts, spotty wellies, and a pac-a-mac the whole time I was at Glasto!! xx

  6. I'm always totally astounded at festival style guides - why oh why would you wear sandals and an expensive dress to go dance in mud? Have you ever actually been to a festival? A bunch of my friends used to do litter picking at festivals (possibly the worst job ever) and it is amazing the stuff they have to clear up - including clothes. People leave their entire tent full of belongings. It's mad, and kind of disgusting. Not to mention phones and cameras that turn up days after the festival is over and crushed under the rest of the rubbish. This might be my favourite festival guide ever, and hopefully help some poor first timer from having a horrible weekend xo

  7. Cannot express the importance of a high pair of wellies. Some idiot wore flip flops to Leeds last year. Suffice to say they ended up in the mud. Also over the knee socks are far better than actual wellie socks in my opinion, they look good and stay up better! However being a bit of a hippy I can't leave my tent without a floral headband ;)


  8. I love this article! Only if this was an Australian Summer festival you were talking about I'd say - wear as little as you possibly can without looking indecent! You WILL want to strip off at some point because if it's not bloody raining, it will be 45 degrees! Haha. Some genius person decided that Australian festivals should be in WInter and put our biggest one smack bang in the middle of it, in which case Wellies and a poncho are perfect attire, but all the other festivals are in the hottest month of the year here, where there are heat waves a plenty and you have a 80% chance of passing out from dehydration xx

  9. I LOLed throughout this. I think most featival fashion guides are for famous people who don't leave the VIP area. I mean... PLAYSUITS. Have these people never drunk 10 pints and then tried to have a wee in a portaloo?!

  10. It always amazes me when I see people dressed to the nines at a festival. I've never been to a full weekend one, but we had a mini festival from morning to the middle of the night, and there were people in fishnets and high heels, no coat, and absolutely drenched and looking miserable when it started raining. I wasn't even dressed that appropriately, I could've used a brolly or a waterproof coat, but we did all right all things considered!

    Great guide, much prefer it to the magazine ones telling you to wear floral headbands, your best mascara (which is now running down your face, well played!) and most delicate brand new shoes.

    1. I once saw a woman in evening dress and stiletto heels at a rain-soaked festival near my house. I try not to judge, but she looked like she has having a baaaad time.

  11. Awesome tips . I hate the red emo face ( I have been through) & I don't want that bad experience again :) I think one should bring umbrella too , because last time , while getting back , I had been collided into heavy rain :)
    Got you from Better Blogging network . Following you :)
    Noor @ Noor's Place

  12. So refreshing to see a festival guide you could realistically follow. I've been going to festivals for years too.....I always wear leggings and dresses xxx

  13. Trackies too! Dressing like a floaty princess is all well and good until you feel rough as a dog on Sunday, and trackie B's are just a requirement.


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