Think boho and bangles: fashion to rock the summer festivals
Dust off those Mexican blankets. ’Tis the season for outdoor concerts and music festivals. At Deer Lake Park, for example, there’s Australian singer/songwriter Gotye (think “Somebody That I Used to Know”) on August 31 as well as the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival on August 11. At Malkin Bowl, there’s Australian indie-rock outfit the Temper Trap on June 19 and NYC experimental-psychedelic hipster band Yeasayer on August 29. And then there’s the heavy-hitting extravaganzas: the folk fest, the jazz fest, and LIVE at Squamish. And that’s just to name a few. So clearly there is no shortage of open-air shows. Ah, but what to wear, what to wear? You want to be comfortable, you want to get into the spirit of the event, and you want to be stylish (natch) all at the same time. There’s a lot to consider. Here, then, are the dos (and some don’ts) of festival fashion:
According to Vancouver stylist Krista Sung, opting for a couple of key boho-chic pieces is a definite do.
“Maxi dresses are really hot this season again—they’re always comfortable and offer a little more coverage, when it gets chilly at night,” says Sung, who recently sat down with the Straight at a local West Side café. “And then maybe top that off with a jean jacket because the dress fabric is usually pretty light and flowy, so it’s nice to put something a little bit heavier and more structured with that.”
And right now, pretty much every clothing store in the Lower Mainland has a sweet selection of festival-ready maxis—from H&M ($24.95 to $59.95 at various locations) to Barefoot Contessa ($89 at 3715 Main Street and 1928 Commercial Drive). But be warned, if you’re going for this free-spirited look, don’t make the mistake so many festivalgoers make.
“At Coachella, it seems like everyone just brings out all their hippie gear.…Like, is that a prerequisite for going to Coachella? I don’t think so,” jokes Sung. “I see pictures of friends on Facebook and it’s like, ‘When did you become a hippie?’ ”
Fellow stylist and jewellery designer Monica Berg, agrees: Keep your love-child pieces to a minimum or run the risk of becoming a festival cliché.
“It seems like everything kind of leads in the same direction—like fringe, feathers, headbands, face-painting, and everything kind of looks like it’s Woodstock,” says Berg in an interview at a local burrito joint. “I get that the atmosphere is anything-kind-of-goes, but it doesn’t have to look like a costume.”
In terms of accessories, some beaded bangles like the turquoise beauties from Barefoot Contessa ($18) or a stack of cheapees from Aldo ($12 to $20, various locations) are always fun, as is a straw fedora from the Gap ($29.95, various locations). However, both stylists say that the must-have festival accoutrement is a big, twisty multipurpose scarf—Sung recommends starting your search at misch boutique (2960 Granville Street) and Gravitypope Tailored Goods (2203 West 4th Avenue). Not only is the right scarf a great way to add a pop of colour to your outfit, but it can be highly functional as well. You can wear it like a wrap to keep the sun off your shoulders, you can lay it out on the grass and sit on it, and, if your concert pit turns into a dust bowl, you can use it as a gas mask.
As for shoes, you may feel stylistically compelled to bust out your prettiest strappy sandals. Don’t. Your shoes will get thrashed and your dogs will start barking long before the headliner hits the stage. Rubber flip-flops are way more practical, and right now Native Shoes (shop.nativeshoes.com/) has some supercute, shock-absorbent babies in just about every colour imaginable ($35 to $40).
When it comes to bags, you might be tempted to stuff a big backpack full of supplies. Resist. You don’t want to be that person who bumps into everyone—so annoying, yet there’s one in every crowd. Instead, Sung recommends going for something more compact, such as (if you’re feeling flush) the Navajo-printed Indian Summer II Lizzie Fortunato bag ($778).
And if you want to take a pass on the whole boho look but still want to ramp up your festival style and have some fun with it, there is another option and it might just be the hottest trend this season: colour blocking. You can’t go wrong with a bright, almost neon, cardigan from Zara (for about $25.90 at various locations), which you can tie around your bag strap and then throw on when the temp drops. Or if you want the best of both worlds (boho and colour blocking), Joe Fresh has a gorgeous eye-popping marigold maxi skirt ($69, various locations). Now that’s a statement piece, and as Sung points out, you may not get another chance to shine so brightly.
“Colour is so popular, it’d be silly not to try to rock it,” says Sung, before adding: “It’s not going to be around for long. I mean, who knows? Maybe next summer, we’ll be back to neutrals.”