Music festivals have long served as breeding grounds for experiments in style. Ever since the ethereal sheer dresses, fringed waistcoats and bell-bottom jeans of Woodstock Music and Art Fair shook the world some forty-five years ago, the likes of Coachella, Glastonbury and Benicassim have become platforms to catapult developing trends into the mainstream.
In keeping with this close affiliation with fashion, any women’s style publication worth its salt delivers at least one comprehensive festival fashion guide come summer, replete with what-to-wears for the circuit and reminding us all that these are just as much opportunities to be street-snapped as chances to carouse around a field, desert or public park.
Festival fashion tips for guys, on the other hand, seem comparatively thin on the ground. Then again, do we really care?
Let’s be honest, will there be beers? Yes. Will there be sun? Hopefully. Will there be unforgettable performances you’ll bear witness to and boastingly reference at parties in the future? Most likely. So, why the hell would you care about you’ve got on?
Today, festivals are just as much about flaunting your style credentials as they are about catching live performances from your favourite bands. They may not be formal occasions but they do come with a loose dress code and looking the part could be the difference between scoring a date in the midst of a mosh pit and sitting sulky, soaked and mud-stained back at base camp.
With this in mind, read on for a complete guide to this season’s festival essentials, from weather-appropriate must-haves to the all-important accessories…
At the core of a classic festival look is the band shirt, be that a loose-fitting cotton crew neck or sleeveless tee. Obviously, you’re better off sticking to designs that reflect your own musical tastes or you run the risk of being pegged as that pretentious tosser.
Scouring band merchandise retailers and vintage stores is your best plan of action for tracking down something authentic but also consider high street retailers like ASOS, who offer reworked styles on occasion.
If you don’t feel you’d wear a band shirt with conviction, you could try your hand at some brand-emblazoned cotton jersey basics. Choose something from a label with genuine music credentials: the likes of Vans, Supreme, Converse and Stussy offer plenty of options that are both affordable and on point.
As an alternative to band/logo tees, embrace one of SS14’s major menswear trends: all-over prints. From dark florals and block stripes to animal print and dip-dye, this season calls for making a serious statement and a festival is the ideal opportunity to get as playful as possible.
Don’t forget that depending on your destination, you’ll want to switch out short- and long-sleeved tees for lightweight cotton/jersey vests that will ensure you stay comfortable and cool when the temperature heats up.
- Asos T-shirt With Run Dmc Print And Long Length Skater Fit
- Nirvana Tee In Acid Wash
- The Rolling Stones Made In England Tee In Black Acid Wash
- Vans Classic Leopard Logo T-shirt
- Obey Icon Face Tee
- Stussy World Tour T-shirt
- Allsaints Tonic Vest
- Selected Vest
- Asos Long Vest With Acid Wash Skater Fit
- Pull&bear T-shirt With Aztec Print
- River Island Blue Ikat Print Short Sleeve T-shirt
- Worland Palm Tee In Ecru
For those of you looking for something sharper, it may be worth packing a few short-sleeved shirts.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this piece comes exclusively in god-awful graph paper checks – there’s a slew of designs available this season, from bold printed options to clean and breathable chambray styles that’ll keep you cool in more ways than one. Bear in mind the dos and don’ts of wearing a short-sleeved shirt and you can’t go wrong.
Alternatively, long-sleeved versions of the above are ideal if the weather looks changeable; roll your sleeves up or down depending on the conditions and layer over your chosen tee as the temperature drops in the evening.
- Asos Shirt In Short Sleeve With Japanese Floral
- Selected Shirt With Leaf Print
- Edwin Shirt Short Sleeve Simple Printed Chambray
- Nn.07 Derek Printed Cotton Short-sleeved Shirt
- Nn.07 Lindh Flower-print Cotton-chambray Shirt
- J.crew Camouflage-print Cotton Shirt
- Billy Reid Lightweight Textured Cotton-chambray Shirt
- Uniqlo Men Chambray Long Sleeve Shirt
- J.crew Cotton-chambray Shirt
As the sun sets, you’ll likely need to layer up – whether or not you’re wearing a ‘beer blanket’. In this instance, a lightweight cotton sweatshirt makes for a versatile and comfortable layer that can be tied around your waist/shoulders during the day and thrown on when required.
Either keep it consistent with your tee/vest/shirt (printed, block-coloured or band/brand graphic) or opt for a contrasting colour to add a point of difference.
- Boy London Black Eagle Sweat
- Stussy Basic Logo Sweatshirt In Grey
- Saturdays Surf Nyc Indigo-dyed Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
- Paul Smith Mens Mauve Sweatshirt
- Hype Repeat Logo Crew Sweatshirt Exclusive To Asos
- Asos Sweatshirt With Crew Neck
If you’ve hot-footed it abroad, then reading up on outerwear options may not be all that useful – but if your chosen festival is being held on home soil, now’s the time to start taking notes.
Attending a UK- or Ireland-based festival means potentially spending a weekend (or longer) trawling through a mammoth mud bath while being pelted mercilessly by rain, so packing a lightweight jacket is one precautionary measure not to pass on.
Although your tees and shirts need not be premium, investing in a well-crafted mac or windbreaker pays off when it comes to staying dry and looking smart. Look for minimal, classic designs from specialist brands like Rains and K-Way.
The latter provides a host of pack-a-mac options that ingeniously fold away into a discreet pouch. They’re also extremely lightweight and come in a range of different colours so you’re sure to find something that fits in seamlessly with the remainder of your look.
- K-way Claude Classic Waterproof Jacket In Yellow
- Vintage One-of-a-kind Woolich Technical Anorak
- Reclaimed Vintage Pac-a-mac Festival Anorak
- Rains Jacket
- Topman Khaki Single Breasted Mac
- Stutterheim Mens Red Stockholm Raincoat
Slim-cut, tailored shorts may still be enjoying a moment but wearing them at a summer festival is likely to jar with your surroundings.
Instead, try similarly slim/straight-fit denim cut-offs in faded blue, black or grey, or mix in a pair of this season’s key maxi sweat shorts for an on trend sports luxe aesthetic.
Plenty of high street retailers and sportswear brands offer basic sweat shorts, while the likes of Cos and Levi’s have included seasonal updates of the classic denim cut-off in their SS14 collections.
- Reclaimed Vintage 501s Denim Blue Shorts
- Asos Denim Shorts In Slim Fit Mid Length
- Allsaints Stamp Switch Denim Shorts
- River Island Dark Grey Frayed Hem Denim Shorts
- Topman Mid Wash Skinny Denim Shorts
- River Island Grey Skinny Stretch Denim Shorts
- Topman Navy Marl Jersey Shorts
- River Island Black Jersey Shorts
- James Perse Loopback Cotton-jersey Shorts
Footwear is especially weather dependent, and unless your chosen festival is taking place on the picturesque shores of a Mediterranean beach, closed-toe silhouettes make perfect sense. Something lightweight yet durable is preferable so trainers, plimsolls and boat shoes are your best bet.
You’ll want to opt for minimal styles in shades of white, grey or black if you’re already mixing colours within the rest of your outfit, but if not opt for bright pastels, summer fluoro hues or bold prints to separate your look from the crowd.
Under no circumstances fool yourself into thinking flip-flops or espadrilles are even remotely appropriate – unless of course you’re looking to come back with stories of A&E wards as well as headline acts.
When shopping around, try to find a pair that offers style and reasonable quality but doesn’t come with a hefty price tag – there’s no guarantee these will be sticking around for the rest of the spring/summer season.
- Vans Era Canvas Trainers In Rust Orange And Grey
- Vans Slip-on Trainers In Royal Blue
- Puma Classic Suede Trainers In Burgundy
- Vans Authentic Plimsolls
- He By Mango Canvas Lace-up Sneakers
- Converse Chuck Taylor Canvas High Top Sneakers
- River Island Rust Red Boat Shoes
- River Island Boat Shoe
- He By Mango Suede Boat Shoes
The All-important Accessories
With the bulk of your festival-ready look down, there are a couple of finishing touches worth considering.
First and foremost, if you’ve been contemplating a new smartphone cover, now’s the time to pull the trigger. You’ll want something durable and ideally waterproof in order to protect your pride and joy.
Fashion brands that do these well are few and far between so try browsing the collections of tech accessory specialists like Case-Mate, Belkin or Incase:
- Case-mate Barely There Case For Iphone 5 & 5s black
- Incase Pro Snap Case For Iphone 5 & 5s clear & Cobalt Blue
- Belkin Matte Flex Cases For Iphone 5 Twin Pack Black/clear
Of course, if you’ve been to a festival before, you’ll know that phones are more hindrance than help; the field/desert/valley/beach in which you find yourself hardly ever offers good coverage and plans to rendezvous with friends almost always go awry. If possible, try locking yours away at a deposit area provided by the festival or consider leaving it at home altogether.
Without a phone to tell the time, a watch is invaluable. Again, this needn’t be the gold-studded Cartier style you’ve been eyeing up for the past six months, but rather something that functions and still has fine form – consider brands such as Timex, Casio, Daniel Wellington, Rotary or Tissot:
- Casio A168wg-9bwef Digital Quartz Gold Watch
- Rotary Mens Avenger Watch
- Daniel Wellington Canterbury Rose Gold Canvas Strap Watch
Next up, sunglasses are essential but don’t take your best pair – these could easily be stolen, sat on or lost mid-Mexican wave at any point over the course of the festival. Luckily, brands like Jeepers Peepers, Urban Renewal and ASOS create a wide range of classic and on trend styles each summer that won’t set you back more than £20.
When it comes to choosing the right frame, as a general rule always look to balance your face shape i.e. circular styles for square faces and more defined styles for round faces or those with softer features:
- Topman Blue Framed Round Sunglasses
- Vintage Renewal Colour Rounder Sunglasses With Red Lenses
- Jeepers Peepers Aviator Sunglasses In Tortoiseshell
- Asos Gold Aviator Sunglasses
- River Island Black Half Frame Sunglasses
- Asos Keyhole Round Sunglasses With Brown To Clear Fade Frame
Finally, a bag for your various belongings is an absolute necessity. With sportswear still making waves within the industry, the drawstring bag has made a comeback.
No longer a bland accessory for the gym-bound, one of these in black, grey, or navy blue has the capacity for all your valuables without any of a backpack’s bulk:
- Urban Renewal Vintage Surplus Drawstring Bag In Blue
- Urban Renewal Vintage Surplus Drawstring Bag In White
- Urban Renewal Vintage Surplus Drawstring Bag In Black
Individualise Your Look
Once you’ve sorted these indispensables, you can begin to individualise your festival look with additional accessories.
Woven trilbies and fedoras are summer festival mainstays, but not all men have the head shape or confidence to pull one off. If this applies to you, on trend bucket hats and snap backs are casual, easy to wear alternatives that complement the core pieces of our look perfectly.
Jewellery is another simple way of adding personality to your ensemble – consider a statement pendant or stacking colourful braided bracelets with woven leather cuffs to lend your outfit another layer of depth.
- Icon Brand Arrow And Feather Necklace
- Reiss Enrique Woven Hat Natural
- New Era 9fifty Hawaiian Peak La Snap Back Cap In Blue
- Fred Perry Classic Bucket Hat
- Asos Signet Ring
- Seven London Sterling Silver Ring Exclusive To Asos
- Asos Leather Bracelet With Anchor
- Miansai Trice Woven-leather Bracelet
- Nialaya Tiger Eye Bracelet
Lastly, stay safe, wear sun cream and make some memories.
Feel free to let us know which festivals you’re attending this year and what you will be wearing in the comments section below…