What to Actually Wear to Coachella: Do’s and Don’ts

    If you’ve come here in search of crochet bikinis, metallic bodysuits or lace up gladiator suggestions, this post is not for you. Keep reading if you want practical advice on what to wear to Coachella to have a great time, from someone who has actually gone.

    Coachella, the world-famous music festival in Southern California, has become a culture all its own. Having a very relaxed (practically nonexistent) dress code, many people use Coachella as an excuse to step out of street style norms. The festival has cultivated a boho-chic vibe with many going over the top, turning it into a fashion event as much as it is a music one.

    However, after attending Coachella myself a couple years ago, I realized quickly that what you wear can play a big part in how much you enjoy the weekend. As much as we’d all love to treat it as our own personal runway, Coachella takes place in the extremely hot and dusty desert, and being uncomfortable in the slightest can take away from the incredible experience. Keep reading for advice on what to wear to Coachella to have fun while staying stylish.

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    Don’t: Wear White

    I made the mistake of wearing a solid white top to Coachella. Here’s the problem with that:

    • You’re in the desert, surrounded by dirt and dust.
    • It gets windy, so that dust is swirling through the air.
    • It’s hell-adjacent hot. You will be sweating.

    I literally had to throw away the shirt I wore to Coachella, because it was so badly stained with dirt and sweat, even Oxyclean couldn’t revive it. Of course, due to the sun, you’ll want to stay out of dark colors as well. Opt for light shades that won’t put dirt in the spotlight.

    Do: Keep it Breezy

    Stick to fabrics that are breathable, and styles that are light and breezy. Again, this is due to the extreme heat, and will help you avoid sweating through your clothes. You also want to choose clothing that is easy to move in. The grounds are huge, the space between stages long, and you’ll be doing a ton of moving around (I clocked in 22,000 steps/day).

    Don’t: Count on Re-Wearing Clothing

    Don’t rely on re-wearing an article of clothing in order to pack light, besides accessories like hats or jewelry. After a day of dancing, sitting on the ground, sweating in the sun, eating out of food trucks etc… your clothes may not necessarily be in the best condition to re-wear the next day. So even if you usually wear jeans or bras twice in a row, pack extra just in case.

    Do: Mind the Sun

    The type of clothing you wear will affect how much sunscreen you’ll need. Keep your outfit choices in mind when loading up on SPF. A sun hat is a must for the festival, as it will help keep you cool and keep your face from burning as quickly if you forget to reapply sunscreen. For all other exposed areas, be sure you’re keeping up with SPF application.

    Don’t: Wear Irreplaceable Items

    Like I said, I ended up throwing away the shirt I wore to Coachella, and still haven’t completely gotten the stains out of my denim shorts… two years later. This is not the weekend to show off your most expensive outfit that would kill you to replace. Especially if you’re camping, it’s also a very easy atmosphere to lose things in. By all means, wear clothes that make you feel cute, but that you won’t cry over if they get misplaced.

    Do: Comfort over Couture

    The bottom line of this post is that you will have a better time in comfortable clothing. You can still slay in the latest styles, just keep in mind that it’s a surprisingly active weekend. You’ll notice that I didn’t include shoes in my clothing suggestions above— don’t wear new shoes. Wear shoes you love that are comfortable. Don’t wear clothing that restricts movement, or bottoms that are hard to put on and take off. I say this because the bathroom choices will be between a port-o-potty or trailer toilets that leave you with little room to maneuver. (Note: avoid jumpsuits!)

    To make a long story short, be cute, but be practical. It will make the chaos of Coachella a lot more fun to experience.

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