Summers seem to be one constant stream of tips on how to dress for festivals. But what about the concerts held the rest of the year? Don’t panic. We’ll make sure you’re ready to face the music year round.
If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times. “Are you festival-ready?” the headlines scream out at you. Your inbox has probably been flooded with images of cut-off denim and Hunter wellies paired with embroidered floral peasant blouses more than once this past summer, and you feel like you’re going to scream if you see even one more floral headdress on anyone’s Pinterest board.
You get it. Summer music festivals are a time for easy, effortless, bohemian chic. No problem. You’ve got this.Except it’s the dead of winter, you’ve just been invited to the rock extravaganza of the year, and it’s in three days time. Your usual summer music festival fashion game is not going to work. Not this time. What now?
Luckily, we here at the I’ve Nothing To Wear Institute have been doing a little research in-between lengthy bouts of internet shopping, and we’ve come up with a foolproof strategy to keep you looking good at concerts that may happen during the other (i.e. not summer) times of the year. This way, you’ll always be ready and won’t need to ask yourself what to wear to a concert.
So grab a cup of coffee (actually, you’d better make that water. You’re going to a concert, you need to stay hydrated), and join us as we explore a few different looks for a few of the concert venues you might encounter during those non-summer months.
As cliché as it sounds, comfort should be your top priority when dressing to attend an indoor rock concert. If you’re lucky enough to get close to the front of the venue, you are likely going to be crushed-up against a lot of other people, so make sure that you are wearing appropriate footwear.
Tall, spiky stilettos, flip-flips, or any other kind of shoe that leaves any part of the foot exposed is simply a bad idea. Opt for a pair of well-loved motorcycle boots or high-top sneakers instead. If you must wear heels, make them of a reasonable height, and make sure that they are comfortable. The night of the concert is not the time to wear that untested pair of brand new heels. Try a pair of stacked heel boots or very on-trend wedge-heeled high tops.
Denim paired with a tee is one of the best options for a rock concert, although you should avoid wearing the actual concert tee of the band you are there to see, lest you appear to be a bit over-eager (that’s our polite way of saying “like a crazed groupie”). A simple black or white tee or tank with a pair of destructed denim has been a pitch-perfect look for just about any rock concert for the past thirty years, and you are sure to stay comfortable all night long.
Avoid layering, as indoor venues heat up incredibly fast when things get going, and you will soon overheat if you are crushed in the middle of a throng of people while wearing multiple layers of clothing. If you must layer your look, make sure you layer with something that you can easily tie around your waist for safekeeping, as anything that you leave sitting on a chair or table unattended while you are off dancing can easily be lost or stolen.
Want to really commit to the look? Channel the 90’s and layer a plaid lumberjack shirt over a tank, tie it around your waist, et voila.
If you don’t have adequate secure pockets to carry any of your belongings, put your valuables in a small, cross-body bag that hangs close to the body, leaving your hands free and your valuables safe. If you do keep any valuables on you, either in a pocket or in a bag, make sure that it has a zipper closure on it to discourage potential pickpockets.
While everyone thinks of summer as festival season, the winter festive season brings with it a bevy of outdoor concerts as well, whether it is a concert at an outdoor Christmas market or a show ringing-in the New Year. If you live in a warmer climate, this is an easy thing to prepare for, and really requires nothing other than a festive touch to your normal concert going attire. However, if you live in a cold climate, some preparation is necessary before heading out.
Many winter concerts that are put on during the festive season are affairs where you will be standing for long periods of time. Even in the mildest of winter conditions, it is easy to get cold quickly when standing around in the winter weather.
Dressing in layers is essential for such events, and in some cases you may even want to arm yourself with a pair of thermal underwear (merino wool base layers are great) that insulates you from the cold. Overall, to keep things festive, you can think along the lines of a look that is similar to what you might think of as an “Aspen après-ski look”.
Oversized knitwear layered over a pair of skinny trousers (yes, I suppose you can wear that Christmas sweater if you must), down vests, fur gilets (real or faux), and luxuriously chunky knitted hats, mittens, and scarves are all appropriately casual for these types of events. Most importantly, you want to make sure you are wearing a pair of warm and comfortable boots that keep your feet toasty warm and dry.
Granted, there are many more potential venues in which you might attend a concert outside of the summer festival season, but the tips given here in these two examples will work for most concert venues, give or take a few layering pieces, accessories, or pieces of outerwear. However, once you’ve gotten your concert look sorted, there is one final step that is non-negotiable – have fun.
Kristin is an American writer based in the Scottish Highlands. She is a saxophonist, an obsessive tennis player, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and holds a Master's degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is the author of the online style blog highlandfashionista.com
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