Thursday, 15 July 2010

Festival fashion by numbers

Every fashion magazine is full of one thing at this time of year – festival dressing. It’s become a sort of fashion ritual, May-August, “what to wear to festivals this year” and “who is wearing what”. But it is starting to strike me as a sort of ‘fashion by numbers’.
  • Cut off denim shorts - check
  • Very short, floaty floral dress - check
  • Hunter wellies - perhaps with an over the knee sock - check
  • Loose racer back tank top, sans bra - check
  • Some sort of statement head gear – whether hat, headpiece, 70s style headband - check
  • Maybe if it’s cooler some fake fur - CHECK!!

I don’t think it looks bad and if you’ve got the legs for cut-offs, why the hell not. But I just can’t dress like that - or rather I rebel against the identikit approach to it all. It really has become the festival uniform. Which means I just don’t want any of those items of clothing on my back anywhere near a festival (which is wishful thinking anyway, as without a penny to spend, the most festival-like atmosphere I’m going to experience is listening to my I-pod on Streatham Common!).

I feel the same about gig fashion. Again, the idea that because of the setting you should suddenly adopt a gig uniform – tight jeans, scrappy vest/t-shirt, maybe a waistcoat, boots etc. For some people that works and actually for many that is their general style. But I always feel a bit like I’m conforming and putting on my rock uniform!

It’s different with work in that you do have to operate under particular constraints and cannot suddenly rebel against the dress code by turning up in leather shorts and a band t-shirt (maybe you can?!). But in our social lives, we can hopefully be a little freer and rebel against some of the fashion uniforms.

I have, at times, gone too far with this rebellion. My husband plays in a rock band and ever the devoted groupie, I will head along to his gigs in whatever rock (dive!) venue he’s playing. Except he has had, on occasion, asked me in the nicest possible way if I would mind not wearing one of my “old lady dresses” and maybe put on something a little more rock! I never even knew I had ‘old lady dresses’ in my closet!

I think it’s because I rebel against adopting the rock look in that context to such a degree that I go to the other extreme and maybe look like I’m heading off for afternoon tea. And no self-respecting guitarist wants to look out into the crowd and see their other half dressed like their nan!

So where is the middle ground? I guess it’s in balancing your own personal style with the location/occasion. I’m not a Joan Jett rocker, so I feel a fake dressing that way. In the same way, I’m not a 70s loving Stevie Nicks type woman and it feels too much like dress-up to adopt that style for festivals. I want to be me, in my own style but with a nod to where I am. So in my imaginary summer at festivals, this is what I would like to be wearing...which is mainly lots of black...worn with red nails and red lips...and stripey tops, as always!

Uniqlo black open shoulder dress from Velvet collection (I love the versatility of black jersey dresses, they are perfect summer clothes)

Topshop jersey sleeve waterfall jacket to keep warm and would look great layered over the black dresses

Reiss draped shirt dress

Reiss draped jersey skirt

Karen Walker bow slash back dress

I’d want some leopard print (as I don’t travel anywhere without it!) so maybe this scarf from Mango would come along...

A ‘pac a parka’ in case it chucks it down

Stripey hat from Anthropologie for sun protection

Vivienne Westwood for Melissa ankle boots – in case of mud

Melissa brogues, I think also made from rubber, so good for wiping clean!

Oasis cross body satchel in tan for extra versatility

And finally a bit of statement jewellery, such as this ASOS necklace

And some very OTT Vivienne Westwood earrings down to £36 in the sale!


  1. There was a pair of those boots with a black bow on that I really wanted, and now I can't find anywhere. Gutted!

  2. I know - I love those too! Both are so cute. I've found the bow ones on the Hervia website:
    You'll have to send over photos if you buy them showing them in action!!

  3. I am practically giddy with excitement when I read your blogs as it really is a feast for the eyes. Thank God my wallet is nowhere near my desk at work. I wish I had a head that wasn't so abnormally large as that hat is divine. As for Viv, her stuff is so beautiful I want to cry (I have already mentally created outfits with those boots).
    Just been looking at Viv's website and this dress is to die for: and these shoes in Fuschia
    £30 for a bit of Viv! I think I may faint.

  4. I'm so glad you're enjoying them! thank you sweetheart! I realise there's a risk that my blog will eventually just turn into the vivienne westwood appreciation society! I love her! And i love those shoes! they are so cute...and a bargain! Actually, the VW sale is just brilliant - proper reductions on S/S stock. maybe next year i'll have a splurge!


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