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Music Festival Style – What To Wear To A Music Festival?

Can you feel the temperature creeping up? Whenever summer is on the way, it brings with it another season – festival season! Summer is festival time, bringing people together to dance, party, and enjoy music together. 

But what should you wear?

Music festival style is as much about practicality as it is about fashion. To choose the kinds of outfits that will help you party all weekend long and still look great doing it, there are a lot of things to think about.

And for men, that can be tough. But don’t worry. I’ve got your back – covered in great shirts to go with the rest of your outfit.

Basic Tips: How to Dress for a Music Festival

  • Wear light, comfortable clothes for the summer temperatures.
  • Wear what you can dance in.
  • Choose clothes that won’t show dirt and grime if things get messy (they will).
  • Be prepared for rain by bringing rain gear and choosing clothes that dry quickly.
  • Accessorize with hats for the sun and shoes that can handle mud and slippery terrain.
  • Select clothes that say, “Hey, I’m here to party!”

Remember that festivals can be sweaty, rainy, muddy affairs that can ruin your clothes. Forget about wearing white, and even be prepared to retire your clothes after faithful service. Yep, you might have to burn everything afterward.

What to Pack for Your Festival Wardrobe

Your Festival Wardrobe

You don’t want to be burdened with a bunch of clothes for a music festival, so we’re going to keep things limited. For a 2-day festival, here’s what I’d recommend packing:

  • 2-3 lightweight shirts.
  • 1 pair of pants.
  • 1 pair of shorts.
  • 2 pairs of underwear (unless you’re a commando).
  • 1 pair of shoes.
  • 3 pairs of socks (extra in case they get soaked).
  • 1 hat.
  • 1 rain jacket/poncho.

If you’re going to be tenting at the festival site, you may also want to bring a jacket or sweatshirt – something warm in case the night gets chilly. But that’s it. That’s all you’ll need for two days of partying unless things go seriously wrong and it starts to snow in July.

Now, let’s look at the most important parts of your festival wardrobe in detail. I’m not going to tell you what socks and underwear to wear, though – ask your mom!

Splendid Shirts for Festivals

First and foremost, your choice of a music festival shirt should be something comfortable that you can move in. I mean, that’s what you’re there for, right – to get your groove on? 

You should look for something lightweight and preferably quick-drying as well. You never know when you’ll be caught in a sudden downpour, but you can assume that you’ll end up soaked in sweat frequently. 

And it won’t be just your sweat. So, you want something that will dry off quickly, leaving you comfortable and ready for more.

T-Shirts

What I recommend is a nice form-fitting t-shirt if you have a body you want to show off a bit. Otherwise, a looser, relaxed-fitting t-shirt for a more casual look.

You can pick up some great form-fitting t-shirts for super-cheap prices. This 5-pack of shirts from Gildan comes in an assortment of tones and gets you more than your needed two to three shirts for just $15. 

If you want something a bit cooler with a fresh logo and a huge choice of colors, check out Into the Am’s form-fitted quick-drying t-shirts. Both of these options give you plain, solid color t’s in poly-cotton blends that hold their form well.

Want to go more casual? 

Look for relaxed-fitted t-shirts. These options from Carhartt and Russell Athletic both give you durable 60-40 cotton-polyester blends that dry quickly and stay in shape much better than plain old cotton. 

And if you’re a big boy, check out Boulder Creek’s big and tall shirts. These come in a huge array of colors, and you can get sizes up to, and I kid you not, 9XL.

Darker colors will stay looking cleaner for longer. Brighter colors, on the other hand, look more fun, especially neo-rave neons. Don’t wear white unless you’re planning to sacrifice your clothes to the festival gods.

Show your support…

Of course, if you’re going to a music festival with live bands rather than EDM, you might be inclined to wear a cool band t-shirt. Do. You can wear a shirt in support of one of your favorite bands, or you can go retro and put on something that represents a piece of music history. 

Rock shirts are nearly always printed on black to look hard but also make their logos pop, like this retro Stones shirt. But, if you want to attract attention, look for bright colors. This multi-colored Led Zep shirt screams fun while giving a respectful nod to the legends of rock and roll.

Shirt Shirts

There are a lot of reasons to choose a collared shirt as part of your festival package. They can look more mature than t-shirts, but also more relaxed, especially if you wear them open. 

Since you can adjust the number of buttons you undo, they’re also more versatile than t-shirts, letting you cool off when necessary. And, if you’ve been working all winter on that 6-or-more-pack, this is the right shirt style to show it off in.

Main styles of collared shirts… 

I recommend these types of shirts to wear to a music festival. One is the “beach shirt,” a lightweight and slightly see-through shirt made of thin, light material. 

Bbalizko makes a great example of this style. This is a shirt that you should be wearing open or at least halfway unbuttoned to produce a completely casual look.

But, if you’re looking to give off “I party all night” vibes, a Hawaiian shirt could be the way to go. Great patterns can show that you’re ready to rock while also helping to disguise the inevitable dirt and grime that a festival shirt will attract. 

Choose carefully…

Many Hawaiian shirts can be too heavy and thick to be comfortable for a festival, even in Hawaii. Alimens & Gentle make lighter-weight cotton shirts in over 40 different prints. 

Damipow Hawaiian shirts are a lot lighter and made of polyester, so they hang a little differently but still show off some wild patterns. 

Muscle Shirts/Bro Tanks

Bro Tanks 

Muscle shirts have got themselves a bit of a bad rap lately. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with muscle shirts, especially if you have the muscles to pull one off. 

Into the AM makes some really fresh, bright printed muscle shirts that can show off your bod and also show that you like having a good time. And many bro tanks have funny prints or hilarious slogans on them. If you’re looking for laughs, check out Freshhoodies’ wild range of muscle shirts.

Gun-toting cat riding flame-snorting unicorn? Check!

Perfect Festival Pants

Once you have your tops sorted out, it’s time to think about bottoms. When we think of festivals, we usually think of hot summer weather, but it ain’t always so. And, there are a lot of reasons to wear long trousers instead of short shorts. Cool-weather. Unfortunate tattoos. Chicken legs. 

I recommend that you bring one pair of pants and one pair of shorts with you, so you have the flexibility you need. You can always wear the same pair for two days in a row unless, once again, if you are going commando

Pick a style…

Now there are two ways to go with pants for music festivals. You can go ultra-casual or smarter and more mature. If you want to look a bit more suave than casual, try a pair of chinos. But not just any chinos. You want to look for something not ultra-tight but with a taper to give you some nice form. 

Another tip is to choose a lightweight and stretchable fabric that allows you lots of movement in case the mood takes you. Both Ben Sherman Men’s Slim Stretch Chinos and Yazubi Men’s Chino Pants use a cotton-spandex blend to create great-looking trousers that have a lot of stretch to let you move.

A more casual look… 

And, arguably more comfortable as well, is going to be joggers. Yeah, sweat pants. But not the kind that you woke up with when you were in grade school. Also, not the kind that will make it look like you’ve come straight from the gym. 

We’re talking casual but cool joggers that don’t look like joggers. You want to look for something tapered and in a lighter fabric so that they don’t get too hot. 

Southpole’s Men’s Basic Stretch Twill Jogger Pants are a perfect combination of lightweight fabric, stretchiness, and a cool tapered shape to add to your festival fashion wardrobe. 

Super Shorts

Of course, when the heat gets turned up, there’s nothing like shorts to keep you cool. But can you look cool in shorts? Of course, you can, as long as you choose a style that goes with your overall look and suits your body well.

Chino shorts generally look good on anyone, regardless of leg size. With solid colors, you can wear these with a louder shirt to help set it off. Many chinos, like these Vmonty Stretch Chinos from Volcom, give you enough elasticity to dance and shake as much as you want.

Another option… 

Board shorts, but be warned of two important things. First, board shorts don’t look great on men with skinny legs and gluteus minimus

Second, if your boarders are bright, don’t pair them with loud patterns like on Hawaiian shirts unless you want to be mistaken for your grandma’s sitting room in the 1960s. 

Brands like Hurley and Quicksilver make some good-looking and ultra-durable board shorts that will put up with a festival’s worth of abuse. And, because they’re basically swimwear, they’ll dry super-quickly.

Hella-Good Hats

Hella-Good Hats

Festivals can involve a lot more than dancing all night in front of the stage. You can find yourself chilling out in various smaller spots, sitting on grassy knolls, playing in mud pools, and tromping back and forth to your tent.

Because you might be out in the elements for a couple of days, assume there will be sun and that it will be hot. The simple solution is to wear a hat. But, what’s the best kind of hat for a music festival

Sure, a big Mexican sombrero will be best at keeping the sun off your face. An umbrella hat will keep you dry hands-free, it’s true. But neither is exactly the pinnacle of music festival style. Instead, what I’d recommend is a bucket hat or a variation of the classic ball cap.

Bucket hats… 

These have the advantage of being light, providing good shape all around, and are made of cloth that can help wick up moisture. You can also scrunch one into your pocket when you don’t want to wear it without worrying about it losing its shape.

Kangol’s bucket hats are a classic. They come in lots of colors, and the shape is just right to complement most faces. If you want something a little wilder, Presanew Reversible Bucket Caps offer polite black on one side and some crazy prints on the other.

Wear it at the festival or the office

While bucket caps are in style right now, they just might not be your thing. I understand. Not everyone looks good dressed as a fisherman. Instead, try out a ball cap, but with a mesh back to help you stay cool while you’re dancing up a storm. 

MG makes a cool, distressed denim cap that can go with any outfit. If you want something more fun, check out the Lindo Trucker Hat with a bright mesh back.

Smart Shoes

Now you’re all dressed from head to… Wait, we haven’t talked about the all-important shoes to complete your music festival style. I know a lot of people will consider sandals, aka flip-flops, for their music festival footwear, but I would strongly advise against it. 

In the crowd, you’re likely to get your feet stamped on more than a few times. And, if conditions turn mucky, your flip-flops are as good as gone. They will be sacrificed to the god of mud for sure.

Sandals are light and compact, so if you want to toss a pair in your bag to wear while chilling in the evening, be my guest. But for your main footwear, stick to shoes.

Choosing shoes for a music festival…

Remember that there’s almost always rain and mud to contend with, not to mention the odd porta-potty incident. Stay away from suede or other materials that can’t be washed easily.

Skate shoes can make a great choice for footwear. They’re sturdy and provide a lot of support for hours of dancing. They also look casual and cool. DC Court Graffik skate shoes are a prime example. These shoes are also made of canvas which is a heck of a lot easier to clean than leather. 

Another choice… 

A classic sneaker like the Converse Chuck Taylor’s. These classic shoes are also canvas with thick rubber soles that can protect your feet from the bottoms. 

Rubber toes can also help protect you from stomping. Although, they do make these shoes a bit hotter, so they’re not a great choice for those of us with really sweaty feet.

Rainwear

Rainwear

The last item on my packing list is a rain jacket or poncho. Let’s face it, rain happens, and umbrellas are faux pas at music festivals. Instead, you should bring along a lightweight, easily packable rain-proof garment to help you stay comfortable when the weather turns ugly.

A good rain jacket for a music festival should hold up to the elements while also being lightweight and easily packed away. Champion’s Stadium Packable Jacket is a good start. It’s light and packs into its own pocket. However, it’s water resistant, not fully waterproof. 

Columbia’s Glennaker Lake rain jacket is a bit bigger but is fully waterproof. And it also comes in a huge range of colors to choose from.

Another option is a poncho… 

While you might not look as suave, a poncho with a hood can keep you completely dry, while a rain jacket will still let your bottom half get wet. They’re also light and cheap, and if they get destroyed, you probably won’t shed too many tears. 

Coleman’s EVA Adult Poncho is a quality rain poncho in somber colors. Want something wilder? Try out the Hooded Rain Poncho collection by SaphiRose instead.

Planning on Some Outdoor Music Enjoyment?

If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Waterproof Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, the Best Wireless Outdoor Speakers, the Best Tailgate Speakers, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, and the Best Boomboxes you can buy in 2022.

You might also like our detailed reviews of the Best Waterproof MP3 Players, the Best Waterproof Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 currently on the market.

Music Festival Style – Final Thoughts

So, that’s your music festival wardrobe complete, from your head on down to your feet. You’ve got cool shirts, pants, shorts, a hat, smart shoes to wear, and a rain-proof cover for when things go south. 

This is a small enough package that you can toss it all in one medium-sized backpack and still have room for your refillable water bottle. Then it’s time to party. 

Knowing that you look great and are prepared for anything, you’ll have a more enjoyable time at your music festival of choice. So, whether you’re planning to have a chill day away or to stay awake for the entire weekend, you’ll be decked out in the latest style.

Until next time, let the music play.

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About Warren Barrett

Warren has spent nearly half a century (now that's a long time!) as an ink-stained wretch writing for music magazines and websites and has no plans on giving up soon.

He is curious about all types of music and instruments apart from any genre with 'Urban' in the title. He's also not so keen on Plastic Potted Plants, Reality TV, and any movies with Kevin Costner in them.

He lives in Delaware with his wife Wendy and lots of great memories...

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