Riding the Coachella: The Best Festival Fashion Staples

May 2, 2011 • Magazine, Runway To Real Way

With the warmer temperatures and the gentle kiss of sunlight, it’s safe to say spring has officially sprung. Now is the time to start filling our calendars with all the fun outdoor plans we Chicagoans have been so longing to enjoy. One of the most anticipated of warm weather activities is the outdoor festival. Based on music, shopping or food — the springs and summers in Chicago, as well as around the world, boast a bevy of fun-filled festivals that are the ultimate places to see and be seen. And lucky for us stylistas, the season kicks off with one of the most fashion forward festivals of them all, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. Celebrities, artists and musicians flock to the fair grounds, each producing their own idea of bohemian, artsy chic. With a few cues from these reliable trendsetters (and a nod to the spring runways), you can find a standout outfit that will take you from your first fest to your last.

“Flowers for spring. Groundbreaking.” quipped Meryl Streep’s icy editor character in the cult flick The Devil Wears Prada. But it remains to be true—floral patterns are the constant mainstay of springtime fashion. The Coachella-inspired version of the blossoms is a petite pattern softly spilling down a blush-colored confection. Think wispy and weightless. Rachel Comey trotted out her miniature buds on a breezy blouse and pants set, either of which could serve as a springtime festival staple. Or the queen of English roses herself, Rebecca Taylor serves up a great option in the shape of a loose-fitting tunic dress.

Now that you have your base to work off of, its time to start layering the look! Denim is synonymous with festival fashion, whether in shorts, cropped pats or a mini. But pairing it on top with your feather-light floral provides some structure, especially if you choose a bigger, boyfriend fit. A.P.C. chose to throw their dark-washed denim button down over a tank and shorts, nailing the proportions exactly. Try to keep the hem of the shirt close to the hem of your bottoms for the ultimate statement of sassy cowgirl chic.

What spells boho more than fringe? At the risk of coming off too hippie-dippie (we’re not channeling Burning Man here), it’s best to limit your fringe to one area of the outfit and even then, keep it low-key. Ralph Lauren incorporated the organic elements of Native American-inspired style into his spring runway, choosing to add the regal movement of a fringed vest. A less dramatic option that can be layered over your denim, your floral or both is this little number by juniors label WallpapHer. This fringed and crocheted option is a little shorter, a little sweeter and at a price you wont be upset about if it gets covered in mud while you dance the day away.

Finally, the last and arguably most important festival style staple is a wide-brimmed hat. Serving as much function as fashion by keeping the harsh rays of sun off your face, a straw hat is an absolute necessity to preserving your festival fun, along with a bottle of water. Margaret Howell had the right idea on her runway, choosing a classic and versatile shape accented with a black band. The result is the perfect marriage of old southern debutantes and modern British socialites. Everyone’s favorite milliner, Eugenia Kim makes her version even more modern with s sleek shape and demi-stripe that’s sure, along with all the other festival fashion staples, to keep anyone looking (and staying!) cool in the spring and summer heat. Now get out there and enjoy yourself!

1. Floral Dress/Separates
Runway: Rachel Comey Spring 2011 RTW
Real Way: Rebecca Taylor Floral Print Silk Dress $295

2. Western Style Denim Shirt
Runway: A.P.C. Spring 2011 RTW
Real Way: A.P.C Denim Shirt $195

3. Fringe Vest
Runway: Ralph Lauren Spring 2011 RTW
Real Way: WallpapHer Fringe Vest (Juniors) $34

4. Wide-Brimmed Straw Hat
Runway: Margaret Howell Spring RTW
Real Way: Eugenia Kim Honey Straw Hat $335

Runway Photos: NYMag.com
Image Layout: Molly Murphy

-Alia Rajput

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