Festival season is here, which means we’re all starting to think about festival fashion. Whether you’re pitching a tent for the weekend or heading to an inner-city day festival, there’s always an element of practicality involved – though that doesn’t mean that style isn’t a huge part of it too. There’s a regular roster of key pieces (we’re talking denim cut-offs, wellies and something rainproof!), but there are some looks that undoubtedly belong to a specific decade. So if you’re still wondering what to wear at this year’s music festivals, get some inspiration from times gone by. Here are a few of our favourite trends from festivals through the ages.
1960s & 70s: Haute Hippie
The 60s were where it all began. Sure, jazz and folk festivals were already a thing, but rock music festivals had yet to take off. Woodstock took place in August 1969; here in the UK, the Isle of Wight festival kicked off just a year before. Both helped to establish the archetypal festival look that most people still look to for inspiration. Yes, we’re talking about hippie fashion. These clothes had a laid-back appeal, and a boldness that was in-keeping with the counter-cultural mood of the movement.
Channel the look with tent dresses, peasant blouses, bell bottoms, suede fringing, headscarves, paisley prints and beaded necklaces. Look out for ethnic prints and embroidered details, and stick some flowers in your hair for good measure.
1980s: Always OTT
One festival stood out amongst all others in the 80s, and that was Live Aid. This huge transatlantic fundraiser – which was held on the 13th July 1985 – drew some seriously huge acts; Queen, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and U2 all performed in the UK. In the U.S., Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Madonna were among headliners; Tina Turner and Mick Jagger sung together too.
Madonna served up some 80s realness on the day. Her floral jeans, lace top, sharp-shouldered jacket and stacked gold chains had a Marie Antoinette-inspired decadence with a streetwise edge. But those layers of brocade were a subtle nod to the hippies of the previous decade too.
Channel the Queen of pop with lots of lace, and throw on an oversized denim jacket to keep your ensemble pared-down yet practical.
1990s: Grunge Fashion
By the 90s, grunge had taken over the airwaves and gave festivals a unified sound – with a dress code to match. Plaid shirts, tie-dye, bucket hats and ultra-baggy (preferably ripped) jeans were the order of the day, both in and away from the festival field. Lollapalooza began in the U.S. during the summer of 1991, with a line-up to keep even the most disaffected gen x-er happy. In the same year, Nirvana performed their first set at Reading; a year later, they returned to the stage, in what would become their last UK performance (and one of their most legendary). Woodstock returned in 1994, to mark the festival’s 25th anniversary, and was followed 5 years later by Woodstock 1999; both were covered by MTV (for the MTV Generation).
Bring a touch of 90s grunge to your festival wardrobe with a pair of wide-leg dungarees; complete the look with a tie-dye tee and scuffed plimsolls, and don’t forget your bumbag!
2000s: The New Boho
By the noughties, Glastonbury had become one of the biggest festivals on the planet, with a guest list as star-studded as its line-up. Kate Moss and fellow boho beauty Sienna Miller defined festival dressing during this time. Taking the effortlessness of hippie fashion but making it a little more glam (you’re not likely to see these ladies go barefoot in the mud), Moss and Miller created a buzz around festival fashion. In fact, you can’t help but think of them whenever you scroll through any high street store’s festival edit, still to this day.
The new boho is all about reworking 60s and 70s classics to make them a little more glitzy. Think mini dresses paired with sequin capelets; slouchy boots crafted from the softest suede; or faux fur gilets and kimonos thrown over denim cut-offs and a basic tee.
Today: Anything Goes
Today, festival-goers hit the fields with the mantra ‘more is more.’ Festivals have become an opportunity for self-expression and these days, anything goes. From sequin bodysuits to elaborate headdresses; tasselled jackets to kitschy co-ords, it’s all about making a statement.
Look out for metallics, sequins and loud, mismatched prints to really make a splash – whichever festival you’re heading to this year.