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Outfits Under $100: 3 Looks for a Summer Music Festival


Nine Inch Nails Take the Stage at Lollapalooza
(Photo Credit)

Lollapalooza, the long-running annual music festival in Chicago, is this weekend, and while I’m not going this year (sadly), it got me thinking about what to wear to summer’s many outdoor music festivals and concerts. While we’ve covered music festival fashion before, today I wanted to focus solely on summer music festivals.

At music events, there’s always a mix of people and styles — some attendees go the costume route (a la Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball), some dress as if they’re heading to Woodstock (a la Coachella), some dress up as if they’re going to a rave, and others… are more normal. If you’re pressed for what to wear to an upcoming outdoor concert or to this weekend’s Lolla, here are some cheap and chic outfit options along with tips:

Tips for Staying Cool at an Outdoor Concert in Summer:

  • Prepare to be hot! You will die of discomfort if you’re outside in the blazing sun for hours wearing jeans. So steer clear of heavy layers and fabrics, and stick to breathable fabrics like cotton.
  • Pack plenty of water (or cash for water at the event), don’t forget sunscreen and bring a pocket fan or spray bottle (like Evian’s water spray) to cool yourself off in the heat.
  • Use a cross-body bag or backpack to store your stuff. You’ll likely be outside for most of the day, crammed into a thick crowd, or dancing your heart out. The last thing you want is a bag that’s a burden (or worse, a lost bag).
  • Try to lighten your load. Pack only the essentials (cash, ID, tickets/wristband, cell, camera) and keep it compact.
  • Be prepared for bad weather! Usually at music festivals, the show must go regardless of the rain. Pack ponchos in case of stormy skies. Umbrellas are too cumbersome, likely to break and an annoyance to your fellow concertgoers.
  • For footwear, comfort is key. Forget heels or wedges; flat sandals are the way to go. Flip-flops are OK, but sandals that strap on more securely (like gladiators) are ideal because they’re less likely to break than flip-flops. Sneakers or summer boots are solid choices, too (especially if you’re going to be packed into a dancing crowd), but they’re not as breathable, so you may be hot in them.
  • You will probably get dirty, so don’t wear or bring anything you’d be upset to ruin. You can still look stylish without wearing your most expensive or sentimental clothes.

Outfit #1: Madras Mädchen

Outfits Under $100: Music Festival - Madras

Product Info: Romper – Heritage 1981, Necklace – Urban Outfitters, Bag – Urban Outfitters, Sunglasses – Fred Flare, Sandals – Old Navy

When it comes to easy summer dressing, rompers are the way to go. Some ladies have yet to be won over by the playsuit phenomenon, but naysayers should consider the perks: Rompers pack the cute punch of a sundress with the convenience of shorts. The madras print of the above romper has a retro vibe that’s accentuated with a vintage-esque cross-body bag, tortoise wayfarers and a charming bird necklace.

I do have one caveat, however: as we discussed in our last post on music festival attire, rompers can be awkward when it comes to using the restroom. If you’re going to be spending all day at the festival and will be taking bathroom breaks often, a romper might not be the most practical choice. Your plans will dictate whether or not a romper will be right for you, but keep this issue in mind when deciding what to wear!

Outfit #2: Hippie Chick

Outfits Under $100: Music Festival - Hippie

Product Info: Tank – Forever 21, Vest – dELiAs, Shorts – American Eagle Outfitters, Headwrap – Forever 21, Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters, Sandals – Alloy

Play up your inner hippie with a tie-dye tank — tie-dye is actually very trendy at the moment — paired with boho accessories. I mentioned avoiding heavy layers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t layer at all; layering adds dimension and interest to an outfit. Just keep your layers light — like this sleeveless vest or a bandeau under a shirt — because it’s hot outside! Dare to wear a braided headwrap and Penny Lane-esque sunnies to finish off this hippie-chic ensemble.

Outfit #3: Pretty Prepster

Outfits Under $100: Music Festival - Prepster

Product Info: Shirt – Aerie, Shorts – J.Crew, Sandals – Target, Belt – Urban Outfitters, Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters

Preppies can’t go wrong with colorful chino shorts: They’re comfortable, clean-cut and boost any outfit with an unexpected spot of color. Add a nautical belt, Jack Rogers-style sandals and wire-rimmed wayfarers and the result is a laid-back albeit stylish look.

What do you think?

Have you been to any music festivals this summer, or are you planning to attend one? Did you spot any wacky outfits there? What would you wear to an outdoor concert? Remember to leave me a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

Posted on on August 4, 2010 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , ,

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36 Responses to “Outfits Under $100: 3 Looks for a Summer Music Festival”

  1. 1
    August 4th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Oh, the tank on the second outfit just just too cute! Would totally pair it with simple black skinny jeans and african styled colorful bangles!

  2. 2
    August 4th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I love how you picked flat sandals!!!!!!!

  3. 3
    August 4th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Loving the third outfit!

  4. 4
    August 4th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Nice! I’m totally feeling the Hippie Chick look! Now I have to find a music festival to wear it to! Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. 5
    August 4th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    As a four year vet of Lollapalooza, I know how important it is to protect the toes, especially when you’re trying to get in the front row! Most people also wear bikinis under their clothes, too, because it gets so hot, clothes end up not mattering so much!

  6. 6
    August 4th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    You must be a sorority girl because you put some Jack Rogers-knockoffs on here
    (which are INCREDIBLE bc I can not afford another pair of JR’s and these look identical)! JR’s are part of the sorority uniform at school, and I do not mean that as an insult. I love those sandals. I personally do not go to music festivals, but these are very cute outfits!

  7. 7
    August 4th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I am beyond in love with these outfits–even the romper. And the hippie outfit. And the preppy one. i just want them all and can totally see myself wearing them. Great job!!!!

  8. 8
    August 4th, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Shell – Great idea to wear a bikini under your outfit!

    Lalalina – I’ve actually been wearing Jack Rogers since high school and oddly enough, they’re not popular at my Missouri school, but I am a proud sorority girl!

    Thanks for commenting!!

  9. 9
    August 4th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I loved the “Pretty Prepster” outfit choice. Being from a small town on the CT shoreline this is basically a uniform for us. I love my chinos, Jacks, and Wayfarers so I was thrilled to see this being a featured outfit!!

    Going to a concert this weekend, will definitely look here for inspiration when I’m picking out my ensemble!!! xo

  10. 10
    August 4th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    I definetly like the the hippie chic and the sandals! It’s a great outfit! They’re all great outfits, hippie chic is my favorite!

  11. 11
    August 4th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I love the second outfit! It reminds me of something Audrina Patridge would wear.

  12. 12
    August 5th, 2010 at 12:00 am

    The romper in that first set is super cute! I have to have that piece. All your sample looks are fabulous and practical. A lot of times you see articles for summer festival clothes and they have wedges or heels with them. That’s so impractical!

  13. 13
    August 5th, 2010 at 12:01 am

    love all 3 outfits !!

  14. 14
    August 5th, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Great post- just wondering if there any alternatives for those who do not like wearing shorts or showing legs?
    I hate wearing shorts and ALWAYS run out of ideas on what to wear :(

  15. 15
    August 5th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I love the madras romper!

  16. 16
    August 5th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    the 2nd outfit is so cute! I would advise wearing sneakers though since you don’t know what you’re going to step on or if you’ll get get stepped on, and it’s better to have your feet protected. A cute pair of vans or keds is the way to go!

  17. 17
    August 6th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I have to agree, that there needs to be close toed shoes. I’d also recomend, that if you’re going to wear a canvas shoe like an all-star converse- stick to the low tops. According to the book “Punk Rock Aerobics”, no intense strenuous work should be done in hightops (like dancing). They don’t allow your ankles to move like they should, and can create stress fractures in your legs.

  18. 18
    August 6th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    hippie outfit looks very retro a bit trampy- low class

  19. 19
    August 6th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    The madras outfit is cute, but I would *definitely* switch the sandals for closed toe shoes. Maybe some flats by Melissa (though that would push the outfit over $100.)

    Also, major kudos for choosing a NIN concert pic to lead off.

  20. 20
    August 6th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Quartz- I am totally with you… I can bargain shop like nobodys business.. my friends are always telling me. ARE YOU SERIOUS? THATS ALL YOU PAID.. I scored a suede red prada bag for $19.98 on 50% of thursdays at a local thrift store recently.. they had had it for 5 months, kept marking the price down, noone would buy it and your usual thrift store crowd aren’t always familiar with big names like Prada.. and its in amazing condition…. I even took it into the local Macys to make sure it wasn’t a knock off and was the real thing…llast summer I found a chanel bag, immaculate, $3 at a garage sale, it had been a gift and she said she’d never liked it… I always try to find discount coupons or special sales online and then hit the store and see what kind of deals I can get.. i’ve gotten gap jeans and banana republic sweaters at free clothing banks and thrift stores respectively… I love Ross, but also, I won’t spend more than $10 on anything in the store, so I just have to dig.. but it pays off…


  21. 21
    August 7th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I loooove those slouchy tank tops like the hippie one, but whenever I try one on it just looks like a huge sack. My boobs are too big, so they don’t fall nicely on my body. But I love all of these outfits! The last one is pretty much my uniform for summer.

  22. 22
    August 9th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Cute outfits! What would you suggest for a housemusic festival like electriczoo on governors island?

  23. 23
    August 9th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    ugly! no offence but im goth/emo wheres the black?

  24. 24
    August 10th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I could totally see myself wearing all three of these looks and for less than a $100, that’s pretty damn great. That tie-dye tank from Forever 21 needs to be in my closet now! lol

  25. 25
    August 17th, 2010 at 6:07 am

    i just wanna kniow mor about this

  26. 26
    August 25th, 2010 at 3:32 am

    I like the third picture very much. It is simple. They’re comfortable, clean-cut and boost any outfit with an unexpected spot of color.

  27. 27
    February 11th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    As someone with some real festivals under her belt….the roomper is a bad idea. Think how much fun it will be to try to get out of it in a hot, messy porta-potty.

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