The concept of style might seem alien to a place with a high concentration of Portaloos. But contrary to what the images coming out of Coachella this year may have suggested, it is possible to dress well at a festival.
To that end, we’ve assembled a line-up of menswear rock stars to help us compile a setlist of what you need to look good, stay alive and forget. (N.B. Only Snoop Dogg can get away with a dressing gown.)
Those about to rock: pack these. And remove that Bieber Purpose Tour T-shirt.
Shades Of The Seventies
You’re going to be outside most of the time, and – with any luck – not in the shade. So you should also ensure that you’re in your shades.
“They’re a must-have for being out in the sun all day and even better at covering those dark circles after a night of partying,” agrees James Lawrence, Head of Menswear Design at ASOS.
If you want to keep your eyewear bang up to date, the trend forecast for this festival season’s opticals is bright. “The 1970s resurgence has made sunglasses fun again,” adds Lawrence. “Coloured or mirrored lenses in retro frames are key for spring/summer 2016.”
- Reclaimed Vintage Round Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Round Sunglasses With Flash Lens 0rb3447
- Asos Aviator Sunglasses In Gold With Revo Lens
- River Island Blue Mirror Flat Top Sunglasses
- Dick Moby Cpt Sunglasses
- Ray Ban Erika Sunglasses
- Urban Outfitters Classic Demi Tortoise Square Sunglasses
- He By Mango Acetate Frame Sunglasses
- Illesteva Leonard Round-frame Acetate Sunglasses
A (Dark) Floral Shirt
Put your earplugs in, or rather your sunglasses on (see above), because it might get loud.
“It’s all about making a strong statement at a festival and a floral print shirt is the perfect way to do it, says Giles Farnham, head of River Island Style Studio (not a music label, but rather the retailer’s complimentary personal shopping service). “But avoid novelty or Hawaiian styles and go with something more sophisticated in a dark floral, which has been embraced from catwalk to high street.”
Want to be really on point? Turn to a revere or Cuban collar: that is, the kind that lies flat, like on a bowling shirt. “It’s the shirt shape of the season,” says ASOS’ Lawrence, who also adds that a floral shirt will make it easier for your friends to find you.
No shrinking violet? Match your patterned shirt to your shorts, AKA the “co-ord”, says Farnham: “But stick to darker florals to avoid looking camper than a row of tents.”
- Asos Floral Shirt With Revere Collar And Short Sleeves
- Asos Floral Shirt In Navy With Short Sleeves
- Reclaimed Vintage Revere Shirt In Floral Print And Regular Fit
- Allsaints Necker Short Sleeve Shirt
- Reiss Palma Printed Blend Shirt Stone
- He By Mango Regular-fit Floral Print Shirt
- Gitman Vintage Short Sleeve Floral Shirt
- Maison Kitsune Slim-fit Printed Cotton-poplin Safari Shirt
- Gant Rugger Slim-fit Printed Button-down Collar Cotton Shirt
A Bucket-List Hat
“Headgear is essential, especially after the first day,” says Thom Scherdel, buyer at The Idle Man. “A decent hat can cover all manner of sins.” Plus protect you from pernicious UV rays and plastic cups filled with an unidentified but suspicious-smelling liquid.
As we’ve discussed previously, baseball caps are trending, especially sports luxe ones. “Personally though I’d channel your inner Manc raver and go for a 1990s bucket hat,” says Scherdel. Also endorsed by generations of Irish fishermen, a bucket hat is arguably more practical and certainly less precious, able to be scrunched into a pocket and speedily produced in case of sudden “downpours”.
Not uncoincidentally, The Idle Man is more brimful of bucket hats than Shaun Ryder’s rider: “We’ve got loads because I buy them from whichever brand I can,” says Scherdel. “But the Carhartt Watch Hat is a solid choice.” You could say he’s mad for them.
- Ami Stretch-cotton Baseball Cap
- Bleu De Paname Denim Baseball Cap
- Saturdays Rich Tonal Cap
- Fred Perry Reversible Bucket Hat
- Wood Wood Kirk Bucket Hat
- Fjallraven Kiruna Bucket Hat
- Carhartt Wip Watch Bucket Hat Dark Navy
- Herschel Bucket Hat Black
- Topman Rains Black Bucket Hat
A High-Value Bag
Aside from all the stuff you need to cart around, a tent is not the most secure place to leave valuables – even a GI Joe one (more on that later). “It’s essential to have everything that matters with you,” says River Island’s Farnham.
Thankfully, backpacks are, like baseball caps, riding high on the back of the sports luxe trend. “It’s perhaps the ultimate male accessory, not to mention a very practical and essential festival item,” adds Farnham.
If a full backpack feels a bit much, or you don’t want to slum it with your fancy sports luxe one, try a cross-body bag instead – “the cooler alternative to a bum bag,” according to ASOS’ Lawrence. “They look great and are ideal for carrying all your festival needs.”
- Eastpak Austin Backpack In Green
- Asos Backpack In Brown Nylon
- Asos Backpack In Black Leather
- He By Mango Front Lapel Backpack
- Allsaints Chamber Nylon Rucksack
- River Island Light Brown Canvas Backpack
- Herschel Classic Backpack Grey
- Mki 600 Rolltop Bag
- Battenwear Nylon Backpack
At festivals in Britain, it’s prudent to prepare for a surprise set by Wet Wet Wet.
But with the possible exception of the Isle of Wight – where The Who are headlining – you don’t want to walk around the whole time in a parka. Instead, stash a pac-a-mac. “It’s perfect for slotting into your rucksack without take up too much iPhone battery pack or glowstick space,” says Farnham.
Expecting precipitation on the Biblical scale predicted by Michael Shannon in Take Shelter? “Hunter’s Vinyl Windcheater is highly technical, 100 per cent waterproof and a lot more reliable than a pac-a-mac,” says The Idle Man’s Scherdel. “The midnight blue will shimmer in the lights – and it’s wipe clean.”
- Asos Rain Coat With Shower Resistance In Khaki
- Stussy Hooded Mac With Back Print
- Fat Moose Innercity Jacket In Green
- Rains Jacket Black
- He By Mango Pocket Nylon Jacket
- Stockholm Charcoal
- Nike Nikelab Water-repellent Coated Shell Shirt Jacket
- Barbour Hooded Bedale Jacket
- Hunter Original Vinyl Windcheater Coat
Practical Things You Should Take
- “An endless supply of baby wipes.” (Lawrence)
- “A decent, waterproof tent. A last-minute purchase from Argos before you jump on a coach never ends well, unless you want to spend the night with your feet dangling out of a camo GI Joe tent. Speaking from personal experience here…” (Farnham)
- “Tonnes of cash to avoid the one working [ATM] machine.” (Lawrence)
- “A large umbrella – at least one. Keep it at back at the tent so that you and your friends can all huddle underneath like penguins when you have a tent fail.” (Farnham)
- “Wellies. Always.” (Farnham)
- “Toilet roll.” (Lawrence)
- “Double. This applies to cash, food, booze, wet wipes, err, ‘extras’… Whatever you think you need is, at best, half of what you actually need.” (Scherdel)
Festival Style Trends We Won’t Be Endorsing
- “Leggings for men, AKA ‘meggings’. I don’t think I’ve seen a guy at a festival yet who can pull them off.” (Lawrence)
- “Anything novelty or fancy dress – unless said festival’s etiquette demands it, e.g. Bestival, in which case: do it properly. Make the effort and make it yourself. No one wants to see another shop-bought Jack Sparrow.” (Farnham)
- “It’s a very specific trend, but I once had a horrible experience at Glastonbury playing cards at some ungodly hour with a man dressed in a tuxedo and a horse’s head who was talking to me about prog rock like everything was completely normal. It was the last thing you want when you’re under the influence – I still have nightmares now. So please leave the horse’s head at home.” (Scherdel)
Is this more definitive than Morrissey’s years of refusal of a Smiths reunion? Or should the line-up change more than the Sugababes?
Riff on the theme in the comments below.