I'm in My 30s, and This Is How I Now Dress for Festivals

I was 14 when I went to my first proper music festival, which makes it 20 years I’ve been attending them. As you can imagine, I've had an opportunity to try out various outfits—some hits and some definite misses (the less said about the bright red visor of 2003, the better). Once you reach your early 30s, you realise that trying to emulate Kate Moss in a gold minidress really isn't that practical. It’s not that you don’t want to look fabulous—of course you do—but perhaps a bit more realism is needed. That sequin kimono is probably not ideal if you’d rather keep it for a party instead of getting caked in mud. And the silk midi dress you think will make you look very '00s boho Sienna is probably best kept for a wedding guest outfit.

Glastonbury might be over, but there are plenty of other music festivals on the horizon for which outfit planning is necessary. I've come up with a few guidelines, as well as some great outfits, to help.

The rules: 

1. Feet first: You need comfort and, ideally, waterproof shoes. Rain is always a possibility in the UK, so make sure your feet are well covered. However, I'm all for the socks and sandals look or canvas high-tops if you know the weather is going to be good. 

2. Trousers, shorts, or a skirt? This is your call but I’m all about the high-waisted jean shorts, it’s pretty much the only time I’d wear them other than on holiday. Cropped jeans will work too, provided there aren’t calf-high floods. A cute floral mini or slip dress is also a great option. Just remember to pack tights for any cold weather emergencies.

3. The top: I’m all for a classic white T-shirt or a faded black tee. Ideally, you want one that isn't too tight or too loose especially when it gets very warm. (Tip: Look for these in the men's departments.) A pretty blouse is also a good option, but don't go wearing your best work one.

4. Yes, you will need a jumper: Here’s where my age really shows: Make it cashmere—it’ll be lightweight to carry around, but it’ll still keep you warm. 

5. Outerwear is a necessity: Recently, I’ve been wearing Rains jackets for those inevitable summer downpours. You know they’re chic because Pernille Teisbaek wears them and her husband is one of the co-founders of the brand. But a denim or leather jacket is a great option too. 

Now keep going to see and shop some of my favourite music festival outfit ideas.

1. All-black "classic rocker" vibe


(Image credit: @fearnecotton/)

Style Notes: There's nothing greater than a truly simple but impactful outfit. Fearne's classic drainpipe black jeans, clumpy black boots and faded band tee always make a winning combination. 

2. Shorts, a tee, and a jacket


(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

Style Notes: I'm a real fan of wearing socks and sandals, and this outfit is ideal for them as it makes the jean shorts feel much less sassy. Add a coloured denim jacket on top and you're good to go. 

Related: 9 Easy Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas That Work Every Single Time

3. A pretty midi dress and a raincoat 


(Image credit: @alexachung)

Style Notes: Alexa Chung is a veteran when knowing how to dress for festivals. Sure, she may have access to the VIP lounge and definitely better loos, but she's still great for fabulous but practical outfit inspiration. Here she does a mac over a dress with a crossbody bag. 

4. Cute minidress and boots


(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

Style Notes: Another super simple way to dress for a UK festival? A minidress with DMs. While you'll need to grab a pac-a-mac if it rains, your feet will remain nice and dry. 

Related: I'm in My 30s, and These Are the Zara Sections I Shop the Most

5. A floral dress and walking boots plus checked shirt

6. Leather jacket plus brightly coloured jeans


(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

Style Notes: Can't bear to be parted from your beloved jeans? Try a different colour in a crop or wide-leg style to ensure you don't overheat and wear with a T-shirt and leather jacket. 

Next up, every single one of my friends is obsessed with these dresses.

Elinor Block