Faking-it as a Festival Fashionista

Cathy at Glastonbury

Unless you’re a member of the Haus of Gaga, live in New York or are a Goth it is considered inappropriate to wear what basically constitutes fancy-dress outside of the bedroom. There are only two exceptions: Halloween and Festivals.

Music festivals offer a chance to experience the catwalk less walked and use your wardrobe to express an uninhibited alter ego. However, be warned, this is not a legitimate opportunity for mutton to dress as lamb; but rather a rare moment in time where reality and taste are temporarily suspended – a little like in Shakespearean plays when young boys are believable as women and old men can be feisty young lovers. That said, no illusion can survive an Irish downpour and only water nymphs and Kate Moss look good half drowned and covered in muck, for the rest of us mortals we need a few tricks up our sleeves, which can be the difference between Boho-chic or Katrina survivor.


Fashionista 1

Wellies should be as mandatory as a ticket for any festival because nothing else can withstand the muck. Unless you have a backstage-pass to the paved paths of celeb-land, ignore the glossy photos in Elle Magazine – that life is not for you – you will be with the great unwashed last seen on a BBC documentary with a David Attenbourgh voiceover.

The quandary of festival dressing has always been the harmonization of the practical rubber lower half with the rock chick upper half without looking like your Mum in old clothes doing the gardening. There are a couple of possible combinations;

  1. Hotpants with tights, knee-socks (hidden or visible) to make the wellies wearable, and a band tee-shirt. Think college-student; avoid anything reminiscent of the Cheeky Girls.
  2. Tight combats, knee-high Doc boots (the only substitute for wellies), and a death rock tee-shirt of choice, preferably with day-go symbols. Do not be tempted by the Army Surplus Store, nothing good can come from it. Look to Pink for inspiration, rock it up with spiky hair and plastic accessories.
  3. Hark back to Woodstock and be 70’s inspired. Pretty dress or folk-frock combined with neutral knee-socks (again the only thing to avoid slap-leg from the rim of the wellie), a cardigan and necklaces. Think Lily Allen and accentuate with hair accessories and colourful makeup. Avoid anything Ugly Betty-esque. (70’s style maxi-dresses in theory are great – but when you pair them with wellies you look ridiculous – consider only if attending festival in the Sahara.)
  4. Stretch skinny jeans tucked into the wellies with a glam-rock tee-shirt will give the perfect Kate Moss inspired outfit. Add a large gold star over your eye with face paints and propel this look into Agness Dynes’ stratosphere.
  5. Actual fancy dress. This is a golden opportunity to dress as Wonder Women in front of people who don’t know you and therefore can’t tell sarcastic stories highlighting the many ways in which you do not have super-powers.


Fashionista Hair

For all the wonders of baby wipes they can do nothing for your hair.

Long hair should be scooped into a ponytail/bun and left there. Pale pasty people should not be tempted by corn rows unless you can compare to Sinead O’Connor with a shaved head or else you will end up looking like white-trash.

For shorter hair try dry shampoo, a Whigfield/Miley inspired up-do, a front quiff with gel-back sides, or accessorise with Alice bands, head bands or even a wig.

Alternatively cheat and get a hat. Try cowboy, beanie, bowler or peaked, one will suit your face shape and hair style, just make sure it also suit’s the rest of the ensemble.


Sunglasses are as essential as the wellies, as is the shoulder bag that can carry a hoody, poncho/raincoat, bog-roll, baby-wipes and black sacks to survive between gigs and the spontaneous rainstorms. A leather jacket should only be considered in drought conditions. With makeup either go naked or Gwen Staffani it – nothing in between will be worth the spots caused by a lax cleaning regime.


About Cathy Clarke

Cathy lives with her husband, offspring and so many animals that her household often feels like a small petting zoo. She is one half of the team behind AHomeMadeByCommittee.com (an Irish Lifestyle blog) where she discusses motherhood, weddings, DIY, GIY, and everything in between. And she is one third of the team behind IrishWritersPodcast.com, a podcast which discusses topics interesting to writers. Follow her on twitter at @CathyCClarke.
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