How to dress for a festival: 12 Style Panel tips for Coachella and beyond


Coachella officially kicks off 2015 festival season this weekend, and whether or not you’re going to be in attendance, what better excuse to don crop tops and all-fringed-anything?

’70s style dominated Spring 2015 runways from Gucci to Saint Laurent, proving that the flower child look is here to stay for yet another season. And it’s with that in mind that we look back to these Style Panel looks, submitted last summer and just right for Coachella 2015.

White lace and denim shorts seem to be the sure way to accomplish the festival look. To take your basic summer look to the next level, add statement pieces like The Pretty SecretsSandy Joe Karpetz did with her festival-inspired kimono. If you’re looking to add a pop of colour to your outfit, our newest Style Panel member, SummerxSkin’s Anum Khan suggests a maxi skirt and multicoloured bangles paired with a white crop top. And if you’re really confident with the trend, The Ordinary PeoplesAlyssa Lau shows you how to dress for a festival by taking on three spring trends (bold colours, a crop top and patterns!) in one chic look.

Question 54: How to dress for a festival? Read the answers now! »


Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

The summer festival fashion scene is truly inspiring with so many trends happening at once. Bold prints, neon colours, and the mix of trends from the 60s, 70s, and 90’s, and of course, rocker style, but the over laying trend is all about an effortless chic for a music festival. When toned-down, a festival look is absolutely perfect for a daytime outfit.

When I think of music, I typically turn to a bohemian style: loose and casual— yet feminine. I paired this lace-trimmed white dress with a pair of dessert boots (you should usually wear rain boots or sandals if you don’t mind getting dirty to a music festival-for the mud). Keep accessories light, I feel like the more you could add to this look, the more it would look like a costume.

Barbara’s wearing: Dress, Kimchi & Blue. Boots, Ecote. Bracelet, gift.


Alyssa Lau, 20
Edmonton | The Ordinary Peoples

Nothing says festival better than bright colours, crop tops and matching patterns. In order to up your “festival” game, I suggest adding as much jewellery as possible (+5 if you pull a Rihanna and wear a body chain under your top) so that you become a human tambourine wherever you walk. Put this all together with your favourite pair of ankle boots and sunglasses, and you’re festival-ready.


Sandy Joe Karpetz, 25
Edmonton | The Pretty Secrets

The easiest way to make a festival outfit casual is to pick a standout piece and pair it with basics. Rather than a full on flower crown, I toned it down with an understated headpiece made of glass baubles. Then I took my otherwise simple look and dressed it up with a short kimono – the length is key. A longer kimono would put this outfit into costumey territory which is perfectly fine if that’s the vibe you’re going for.

Sandy’s wearing: Silk Top, Vintage. Glass Bauble Crown, The Pretty Secrets Vintage. Beaded Necklace, my mom’s. Shorts, The Pretty Secrets Vintage. Silk Kimono, Tattered Rose. Platforms, Zara.


Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair

You never know what your day at an outdoor festival will bring, so I always like to layer. The ground can be dusty and dirty, so boots are always a safe choice!

Cara’s wearing: Dress, Billabong. Sweater, American Eagle. Boots, Steve Madden. Bag, Rebecca Minkoff. Rings, Gorjana.


Leah Gust, 31
Toronto |

Festival wear is a fun, casual trend that lets you push the edge of your fashion comfort zone. A delicate floral print adds a little whimsy, stacking bracelets and wearing your favourite hat really builds on the relaxed, festival vibe. This onesie reminds me of the era of the original festivals and is a nice, light piece even on the hottest summer days. I added my favourite mini-backpack to stow a little blanket and book in case the outfit moves me to spend the afternoon in the park! Have fun with your festival-inspired look – this is one trend where almost anything goes.

Leah’s wearing: Onesie, Topshop. Hat, vintage. Sunglasses, Thierry Lasry at Spectacle. Necklace, vintage. Bracelets, Jenny Bird from Fitzroy Boutique and various vintage. Sandals, Winners. Mini Backpack, vintage Prada.


Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl

I love bohemian and free-spirited festival style for summer! It’s all about being comfortable in the heat with a look that’s ready to take on the day from picnic lunch to dancing under the stars. Even if you’re not heading to Coachella or Osheaga, you can still rock boho-chic festival style for summer in the city!

I tap into festival style pretty much every weekend in the summertime. Whether I’m at a backyard BBQ, sipping sangria on a patio or strolling along the boardwalk at the beach, my relaxed boho-chic style suits the occasion. I usually opt for a sweet little sundress or a relaxed maxi dress, but this season I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with more rompers in my wardrobe. I love the fitted bodice and flared shorts on this floral romper – simple and sweet accessorized with a crochet vest, layered jewellery, gladiator sandals, aviator sunnies and a messy side braid. Ready for fun in the sun!

Nicole’s wearing: Romper, Modcloth. Vest, Smart Set. Necklaces, Biko & Fredrick Prince. Bracelets, IMONIQ, Biko & Ellie Mae, Watch, Michael Kors. Sunglasses, Joe Fresh. Handbag, Aldo. Shoes, Flurries.


Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

The festival look is certainly one of my favourite trends this season, offering that opportunity to creatively explore our closet for those unique pieces with a little extra edge. My favourite way to play with this trend is by working with lace tops or fringes, pairing them with either bright-patterned shorts or a classic leather short. My best advice is to let yourself be free in mixing prints, colors and patterns and then you will have your Festival look!

Becky’s wearing: Leather Shorts, H&M. Lace Fringed Top, Zara. Heels, Ivanka Trump. Sunglasses, Tory Burch. Bracelet, H&M. Watch, Michael Kors. Satchel, H&M.


Stephanie Koch, 27
Kelowna Via Calgary | Inherited Jeans

My personal, casual style has a bit of a rock aesthetic about it (ie. when I’m not working) so this outfit represents perfect weekend attire to me. At a festival I feel like it’s a place for people to play a part for the weekend which is great fun in that situation, however potentially silly for day to day. To keep your look cool, not costume, select a few elements from a festival look (braids, lace, crochet, fringe, flowers, neon are all fun) and blend these in. I incorporated fringe into a statement necklace, layered some friendship bracelets, and kept everything else comfortable with cutoffs, a tee, and a denim jacket.

Stephanie’s wearing: Jacket, Cielo. Jeans c/o T-shirt, H&M. Shorts, Billabong. Boots, Sam Edelman. Lilith Fringe Necklace, Stella & Dot. Sunglasses, Joe Fresh.


Anum Khan, 23
Toronto | SummerxSkin

One of my favourite things about summer are outdoor concerts. There is something about loud music, food, a great group of friends and of course, the casual, comfortable and colourful outfits. While I love a pretty sun dress and floral crown like the next girl, that’s not a look you can pull off on a daily basis. Here I’m embracing the trend with hints of colour in my outfit. I’ve paired a simple, striped maxi dress with a boho-chic crop top, multi-coloured bangles and a matching clutch. It’s also important to wear good shoes when you’re moshing to good tunes; I highly recommend sandals with cushioned soles.

Anum’s wearing: Maxi Dress, Costa Blanca. Crop Top and Envelope Clutch, H&M. Sandals, Cat Footwear. Bracelets, Dynamite.


Stephanie Sterjovski, 22
Toronto | Stephanie Sterjovski

Festival fashion to me is a laid-back summer look. It’s comfortable and breezy. I love wearing this look out even when I’m not out on a lawn listening to my favourite band play. I’d take this look out for ice cream, the beach etc. I go for a classic combo: distressed denim shorts, loose tank and a panama hat to protect me from the sun. I love adding a little punch to my outfit with a statement accessory like this Pineapple pouch from H&M. It plays up that fun summer vibe, while also allowing you to be hands free, stashing your phone and wallet away inside it, so you can wave your hands in the sky during your favourite song.

Stephanie’s wearing: Tank, Forever 21. Shorts, 7 For All Mankind. Purse, H&M. Belt, Forever 21. Panama Hat, J.Crew. Necklace, c/o Alimonada.


Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body

From Coachella to Sasquatch music festivals have become the go to events for the summer, and aside from the amazing music they also bring out some amazing fashion! If only we could dress like we were at a festival everyday we could all be in high waisted cut offs and floral headbands. Unfortunately that’s not exactly the case, but there are ways you can bring out your inner flower power on a daily basis without looking like a total hippie. The key is to pick a couple indie inspired pieces and balance them out with modern ones. So for my look, I paired my flowy coral top with some white denim skinnies and a pair of nude heeled sandals. I brought a little fun into my outfit with a fringed clutch and wide brimmed hat. With a couple changes to this outfit I could be ready to hit the festivals, but looks like I’ll just have to settle on a lunch date with the girls instead!

Lyndsey’s wearing: Jeans, Pacsun. Top and Clutch, American Eagle. Hat and Heels, Forever 21. Sunglasses, Ray-Ban.


Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

If ‘70s fashion has taught us anything, it’s that clothing should be comfortable, and experimental; cue your denim shorts, and brightly coloured prints and patterns.

When I think of festival fashion I think of dressing in practical terms more than a costume. If I’m going to be sitting down in the grass taking in the tunes, do I want to be wearing a skirt? (probably not) or if I’m going to be out in the sun all day, do I want to wear sleeves and get a funny tan? (definitely not).

I also want to make sure that I wear comfortable shoes and a hands free purse in case I want to get my groove on (this has been known to happen). So with all of these things in mind for my festival inspired look I’ve opted here for a sleeveless lightweight shirt, classic denim shorts, some very breathable and comfortable slip-on suede mocs, and of course some Ray Ran sunglasses. Who could forget the quintessential Ray Ban sunglasses? Festival fashion just isn’t complete without some classic wayfarer sunnies. I think Bobby D would be proud.

Kayla’s wearing: Shirt, Old Navy. Shorts, Forever 21. Shoes, Rockport. Bag, Kelly’s Luggage. Sunglasses, Ray Ban.


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