How To Tuesday: Trendy, Non-appropriative Music Festival Style

Music festival season is in full swing, capturing attention of concertgoers and artists alike. Rihanna made a surprise appearance at Coachella, and this year’s Governor’s Ball in New York has major headliners including Kanye West and The Strokes. Stepping into any music festival feels like entering a dream world. The event lets people from around the world mingle while jamming out to a wide range of genres. Celebrities flock in, and everyone crowds into one space to unite in the full experience, in sync until the festival gates close. While camping out and Instagram-worthy food trucks are exciting, the fashion scene is one of the most memorable parts of these events. Festivals are like a giant, grassy runway where people come to show off personal style and make a statement without having to say a word.

Unfortunately, sometimes festivals become concentrated areas for people to use culture as a costume- from bindis to Native American headdresses and cornrows. Wearing another culture’s traditional or religious clothing to a festival may be tempting to some, but this is not fashion or creativity. This type of dress, whether intentional or not manages to disrespect, mock, fetishize, and/or sexualize another culture. One cannot claim self-expression by oppressing another group of people. Here is a quick guide to avoiding cultural appropriation at a festival:

  1. If you are considering wearing an item which you know is important to or references another culture in a casual or devaluing way, find something else to wear.
  2. If you have to question whether an item is problematic, chances are it is. Once again, come up with a new outfit plan.

Below are a few stylish, non-problematic music festival outfit combinations guaranteed to work well for your next event:


A good pastel or natural color remains in style throughout the year. Try color blocking neutrals with other neutral shades. Try pairing a peachy front-knotted shirt with a khaki-colored pair of tights or body con maxi skirt. Accessorize with gold arm cuffs, hand cuffs and anklets to embrace a confident alliance with the sun.

neutral colors


Lamp shading is a new trend that is quickly catching on. This look earned the term “lampshading” because of its image of a two toned lamp, achieved by pairing a baggy, oversized lightweight sweater with some contrasting thigh high boots. This look can be dressed down (like in the picture below) or dressed up, depending on the style of tall boots. Those who like a more put-together look can try pairing beige gladiator thigh highs with an olive oversized sweater and hoop earrings.  

lamp shading


Pair a windbreaker, which ranges anywhere from metallic or transparent to soft pastels, with platform sneakers, a crop top, and cotton shorts for a cool, casual look.


windbreaker 2


In this aesthetic, details and cuts are most important. Clean, neat lines should be paired with contrasting black and white colors for a look that pops. Try a jumper with an asymmetrical cut.


Monochromatic outfits

Monochromatic outfits steal the show, letting the wearer embrace 50-shades of whatever color they choose. This ensemble is guaranteed to pop.

monochromatic 1monochromatic 2

Talia Smith is a contributing writer. Email her at


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