“I don’t know, think Woodstock.”
That was the advice my boyfriend gave me one year ago when I asked him what to wear to my first music festival. Since I already owned floral pants, normally wore flowers in my hair, smelled like Patchuoli oil and considered Jerry Garcia to be a god, I fit right in.
I immediately fell in love, rocking the head chains and the Buddha beads and the festival dance moves. April marks the beginning of the 2014 Festival Season. So my boyfriend and I decided to experience something new: Coachella.
With MGMT, Fatboy Slim, City and Colour, Muse, Lana del Rey and so many other amazing artists showing up for the popular desert festival, I spent all my time planning my route through the Polo Field and zero time planning my outfits.
“You must be from San Francisco. You look nothing like L.A.”
My camping neighbor worked at a fashion boutique; dressed in kimonos and floppy fedoras and looked like a walking #CoachellaFashion Instagram feed. She was a Festival Girl. And apparently, I was not.
According to her wearing flowers in your hair is so Festival Fashion 2013.
“I think it’s your hair that gave it away.”
I’d been camping for a few days. There were a few dreads. What could I say? According to my neighbor, I fit into Festival Fashion Stereotype #1: the Hippy.
Coachella’s Hippy Dippy Flower Children wake up with the sun, walk around barefoot and wear long skirts with breezy tops. They often wear mismatched pieces of last year’s festival fashion they found at a thrift store on the Haight. Nothing they wear looks new and their hair probably hasn’t been brushed for a while.
You will find them at smaller venues listening to bands with names you’ve never heard of but vaguely remind you of trees. They sway and hold hands and talk about the Earth. You can smell Eucalyptus, Patchouli or Tea Tree Oil when you’re near them. If you want to be their friend, smile at them and they might give you a flower and hold your hand.
If you call them a Hippy and they like it, they’re probably a Wanna-Be-Hippy, otherwise known as the Festival Girl.
The Festival Girl
In the morning you can find her fighting with the Coachella guard at the charging kiosk, trying to plug in her curling iron. These ladies stand in line for Vodka drinks and crab fries. They wear high-waisted shorts with a kimono and a floppy hat. Or a short, loose dress with boots and a floppy hat.
Either way, the floppy hat is mandatory. They smell good, take showers every morning and disappear when the sun goes down to change their outfits. If you want to make friends with these girls you better look good.
They usually already have a girl pack. When the sun sets, some of them throw on leather jackets or crochet shawls, and some change into their Skrillex-Loving Alter Ego: the Raver.
These girls only come out at night and wear the least amount of clothing. Outfits nearly always include lights. Ravers will always be available with gum or a back massage. They understand that violent head bobbing makes your neck hurt. They make friends by showing off their finger dancing skills and their light-up rave gloves. Fur is a must. Wearing sunglasses at night is also okay.
Typical style choices include: dressing up as an animal, dressing down as much as possible but still looking like an animal, dressing like a light bulb and of course booty shorts. If you want to make friends with a Raver, learn what PLUR means and trade Candi bracelets.
Despite my neighbor’s determination, I’m unsure of my own category. I’m the daughter of an Original Hippy, love floppy hats and I’m a huge Skrillex fan. If you ask my boyfriend he’d say Hippy. If you ask my friends they’d say Raver. If you ask me I’d say someday I’ll be a Festival Girl.
Either way, if you’re looking for fashion advice this festival season, I’d suggest start with a floppy hat. And whatever you do, don’t tell your parents you’re channeling Woodstock. It doesn’t go over well.