The Ridley guide to mastering festival fashion


by Milly Logan-Wilson


Even the wildlife at Latitude find their festival vibe with a stylish display of colour and pattern

The festival season is now well and truly under way. With Latitude and Lovebox kicking off last weekend, we’ll be at Port Eliot starting tomorrow and there’s Wilderness and Bestival in the first week of August plus many, many more. Now is the perfect time to rethink your festival fashion!

The festival scene has evolved dramatically since the Summer of Love to embrace multiple aspects of popular culture. And judging by the latest instagram feeds from Coachella, festivals are now major global fashion events in their own right. We’re here to offer a helping hand in understanding the culture of festival dressing, the latest styles and trends as well as providing inside tips and essentials for while you’re there.


Finding your Festival Fashion Philosophy

To really get to grips with the latest festival fashions, it's essential to understand the underlying culture and dress codes that spawned them. It's popularly acknowledged that the modern festival look came of age at Woodstock in 1969 when Hippy-couture went mainstream. Clothing was seen as a key visual expression of countercultural values, with bright colours, vivid prints and embellished details helping to visibly differentiate the phillisophically open minded generation of social revolutionaries from the stuffy, conservative mainstream. The new bohemian style was directly rooted in the spirituality and mysticism of the hippy trail with breezy shapes and flowing cuts originally inspired by local styles designed to evade the heat in sub-Saharan and South Asian climates.

Modern festival looks are a direct evolution of this countercultural style, but today  festivals are all about showcasing your unique sense of style and having the opportunity to differ from the norm. To quote festival aficionada Jess Morris, writing for the Telegraph, “remember: festivals aren’t a place for judgment”. So festivals offer a great opportunity for some experimental self expression and to try things you normally wouldn’t. But to pull off a successful festival look it's key that you take note of the tribal trends in circulation and pay a respectful nod to the social revolution.


Chic bohemian looks captured at Woodstock. While festival fashion has come a long way since 1969 many bohemian classics including floaty floral maxi dresses are still bang on trend for 2018


Go Boho

Bohemian, relaxed style is also always in festival fashion, and never more so than for SS18. Go big on floaty, bold prints: don’t hold back on vibrant hues. Florals or more psychedelic inspired patterns such as our statement Red Milky Way print maxi dresses will fit perfectly with the boho festival vibe. According to festival fashion blogger Tiger (@ttigerlilly) in the Evening Standard, “festivals are a place that people tend to really let go… this shows through clothing”. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, the bolder the better. In fact, busy, densely packed prints may be said to have a slimming effect as the eye does not have a particular focus. This is particularly true of large patterns with a darker background.



The Four Festival Fashion Tribes


Look out for these four types of stylish woman at festivals around the country this summer- which one are you?


The New Bohemian

Originating in the Coachella desert, but now spotted at events across the globe, this festival fashionista rocks a boho look with a modern twist. Flowing silk and dreamy prints epitomize her style. As seen on Florence Welch, a floral silk frock can be the New Bohemian’s best festival companion. A statement maxi dress removes the need for packing multiple fussy separates and lets the bohemian dresser get on with enjoying the festival. The New Bohemian toughens up a floaty dress with leather or suede boots. For rainy days in particular a silk midi is the look to go for- team with wellies and the shorter hemline won’t drag in the mud. Check out our collection of made to measure statement silk midi and maxi dresses, made bespoke to fit you. 


Floral maxi dresses are high on trend at Coachella 2018 styled here with a vintage denim jacket and tan accessories. While Florence Welch of Florence+The Machine goes for a statement silk floral maxi dress. The easy style of the Ridley Alissya bespoke silk maxi dress chicly captures the bohemian festival spirit. 


The Festival VIP

Always a cut above the rest, she favours the luxurious comforts of boutique glamping over roughing it in muddy fields. Often spotted kicking back in the backstage area or dining at exclusive pop-ups, the VIP has her alternative treatments and salon sessions booked in well ahead of schedule and may well have been helicoptered in ... Usually found at House Festival in Highgate or Somerset House’s Summer Series, although not averse to a country jaunt, luxury statement maxi dresses are her fashion forte. Worn over a bikini (to ensure she’s ready for a spa trip at all times) and styled with big sunglasses and statement earrings (such as Harry Rock’s tassels, available at Ridley in Barnes). 


VIP area regulars Paris Hilton and superstar stylist Rachel Zoe mingle at Coachella. They sport luxury statement white lace maxi and midi dresses, accessorised with large sunglasses and gold jewellery. Vanessa Hudgens wears a chic evening floral print silk maxi dress, with gold chunky heels. Ridley London's slimming Manto Margot silk maxi dress in pink petronella silk features an on trend 'Bardot' neckline and can be made to measure in any print. Styled with Harry Rocks’ pink tassel earrings and Tarra Rosenbaum gold cuff (also available at Ridley London)
The Rockstar



Iconic Vegas supergroup The Killers rocked Latitude at the weekend

Kate Moss is her fashion icon and she goes to festivals specifically for the music. The Rockstar wants to look great while watching all of her favourite acts, and favours an edgy eclectic style. Last weekend she headed to Latitude with her trusty vintage biker jacket to see The Killers play. The Rockstar style calls for feminine, floaty silk dresses teamed with tight denim and edgier accessories. Or if the weather’s looking up, a midi worn with cowboy boots. Chunky gold or silver jewelry brings more edge to this look- Harry Rock’s XO necklace will be bound to make a statement (available at Ridley London)


Selena Gomez effortlessly embraces her inner rock goddess with a black leather jacket over a patchwork silk floral maxi dress matched with midi cowboy boots. Sienna Miller teams a cinched silk midi dress with studded rock chick biker boots and oversized vintage sunnies. The Ridley London Talitha floral print dress (seen here in daisy chiffon); the dark print gives an edge to the glamorous, flattering cut. It would work perfectly with black leather boots. 


The Eternal Raver


This cool festival chick is likely to be found letting her hair down in the rave tent with a stylish look that's grounded in edgy street style. The eternal raver wants to be cool and comfortable whilst looking stylish. A silk jumpsuit or pair of palazzo pants ensures she won’t work up too much of a sweat whilst dancing to the DJs, but will keep her warm as she stays up til the early hours. She always has a trusty pair of classic Air Force 1s or Stan Smiths on her feet and displays a more urban style to the other tribes.

Victorias Secret's Jasmine Tookes and Lais Ribeiro wear funky palazzo pants to Coachella 2018. Theirs are teamed with this festival season’s lace bralettes. Model Lily Aldridge (in a floral jumpsuit) accompanies her Kings of Leon frontman husband at Governor's Ball in NYC. Ridley's Alissya floral jumpsuit is perfect for festival ravers. Our Ridley London made-to-measure silk palazzo pants (seen here in blue floral minuet silk) can be teamed with trainers for a casual festival look- comfortable and effortless for dancing the night away. 

Festival checklist: now you know what to wear, what to bring to enhance your festival experience?  

Another key facet of festival fashion is practicality. At a festival you’re likely to be low on space, so make sure you only bring the essentials.


The Essential Festival Checklist

 Dry Shampoo: with the lack of showers, this is a festival must have. I recommend Percy & Reed dry shampoo. Another top tip is to get a blow dry done the night before, to keep your hair bouncy through days of dancing.


Classic Jacket: the days may be hot, but temperatures tend to take a dip towards the evening. Bring a jacket that will go with all your outfits for the weekend. Try a denim number by Will & Pop (available in our Barnes shop): the embellishment adds a boho spin


Hat: keep the sun off your face and tune into the SS18 resurgence for western style with a wide-brim or Panama hat. We have a wide selection to choose from at Ridley, with an array of coloured bands in Liberty cottons


Mineral Water Spray: make sure that you stay hydrated and fresh with a mineral water spray. Try La Roche-Posay thermal spring water spray for a refreshing hydration boost.


Night Wear: despite how deceptively hot the days may be, nights in a tent can leave you somewhat chilly. The key to this is layering. Bring a pair of thick pyjamas and bulk up with a Wyse cashmere jumper (available at Ridley in Barnes).


A Practical Hold-Everything Bag: but where to keep all the essentials? You need a small, sturdy shoulder bag that carries everything you need for the day. Try the classic Aurora Gigi box bag; available in a variety of colours at Ridley in Barnes.


 We truly love festivals at Ridley, and the members of our team have attended countless between them over the years. Our stylists understand and actively embrace festival dressing. In fact we’re all heading off to a number of festivals this summer, including Port Eliot, where we’ll have our regular pitch up on the bowling green. By creating bespoke, tailored to you silk pieces, you can be festival ready by wearing something truly one of a kind. Come in and get kitted out, and you’ll have something gorgeous to wear for festivals to come. Our silk dresses, shirts and skirts are also practical, in that the material is light and breathable in heat. And what’s more, they pack up easily and won’t weigh you down.

 Wishing you all a fantastic festival season!

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