As you might imagine, I am not a huge fan of what passes for attire at outdoor summer events. As there is simply not enough time for me to discuss the true costumes so many like to don for street fairs, music festivals, and other outdoor concerts, I am limiting this post to actual, non-costume clothes worn to these events.
1. I see a lot of skin.
Yes, it is warm. Yes, you are outdoors. Yes, it is casual. But people, the same rules for basic bodily coverage still apply. Bras need to be worn, shorts should cover the entire crotch & pelvis area, and, Yep! Showing stomach is still gross.
2. I see a lot of lousy excuses.
Just because it's a casual affair doesn't mean you aren't going to be seen by people with eyes. Do them all- and yourself- a favor, and leave the prairie skirts, tube tops, obnoxious prints, and butt & boob cleavage-baring items at home gathering dust where they belong.
Why on EARTH does half the female population pull out their damn prairie skirts for outdoor events?! Surely she owns a pair of shorts or a skirt or dress in a length and volume considered even remotely flattering? Just because we are outside and there are musicians and artists doesn't mean it's the 70s. They are out and they are ugly. Period.
3. Comfortable does not mean sloppy.
Sometimes I wonder if some people just rolled out of bed after partying like a rock star the night before and cruised onto the scene without even realizing that they look ROUGH. You know who I'm talking about. They look trashy, stinky, and crusty. Given how hot it is likely to be, you might consider showering ahead of time.
4. Flip flops are still inappropriate.
There are a lot of great alternatives to flip flops and their ilk. Try some. This is not the time for your most hideous footwear to come out of hiding. I am a huge fan of flats of all types, low wedges, and sandals.
5. Fit still matters.
Again, just because it's hot and you are outdoors, does not mean that basic rules for dressing don't still apply. Those tiny shorts you can JUST button? Should go to Goodwill. Because truthfully? You don't look any better in them now that I can see you in full sunlight.
6. Don't buy clothes and other crap at festivals and street fairs.
This should be your mantra as you pass each over-priced vendor hawking wares that were DEFINITELY not hand-made by Siberian monks or whatever line they are feeding you. Look, there are some genuinely nice things made by some genuinely local vendors. But most of them are not at most of these events. If you aren't sure, get the seller's card and check them out. You can almost always buy something from them over the phone or online later.
The clothes I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. That $35 tee with the pithy saying on the front? You won't wear it nearly as often as you think you will. The long flowy skirt all the girls at the festival seem to own? Is ugly and unflattering on everyone. That bright orange sun hat that would be PERFECT with some white linen pants? Leave it alone! You've never owned white pants and you sure as hell aren't going to start now.
7. Now that you know what doesn't work, here are some outfit ideas so you can actually get dressed:
Music Festival: Bright tank + dark shorts + low wedges = great for a little wandering with some grass-sitting
Street Fair: White tee + a-line skirt + ballet or other flats = good for lots of wandering and a little sitting, preferably on a chair or bench
Outdoor Concert: Sundress + sandals = perfect for lounging outdoors, listening to some tunes, hopefully with a glass of wine in hand
(All clothes, Old Navy; Shoes, Piperlime)
If there's any risk of a weather change, you could throw a cardigan, light scarf/wrap, or thin sweater in your bag.
8. Jewelry: Less is more.
I advise little, if any, jewelry. One necklace or a pair of earrings is sufficient. You don't want to wear anything that will need any attention while you eat standing up/use the port a potty/lug around your picnic basket & blanket.
What do you think? What do you typically wear to casual outdoor events?