Mighty Life List
Aug 19 2011

How to Dress for Outsidelands

I went to Ousidelands with Mai from Fashioni.st, and she’s doing a whole series on festival fashion if you want to check out what people were wearing. (That’s one of her photos above.)

Mai and I were talking about how San Francisco weather requires a very particular style of dress for outdoor events. It’s colder here than people expect, and that’s true year round. Layering is key, especially for women. A few tips for balancing sanity with style:

Plan your outfit around sane shoes. You want flats with a closed toe. If you wear sandals your feet will get filthy, you won’t be able to dance in crowds without getting stomped, and in the evening it will get cold enough that you won’t be able to feel your toes. We’re not even going to discuss the idiocy of wearing heels in the dirt. Your smartest option? Boots.

Layer on top. The crowd shields you from wind, so you’ll be okay in something sleeveless if you’re dancing, but you’ll mostly need long sleeves — sweater, blazer, whatever. If you’re sensitive to cold (I’m looking at you Los Angles), you might want two thin layers on top of your tank.

Accessorize for warmth. You’ll want a hat or scarf after dark. Invest in a cotton, knit or silk scarf, something lightweight to maximize your bag-footprint to warmth ratio.

Keep it convenient. You’ll be using porta-potties all day. Reconsider leotards or body suits, especially in combination with tights. Tights in summer? That brings me to my next point.

Plan to keep your legs covered. Pants are a smart option no matter what time of year, but if you want to wear a skirt or shorts, throw a pair of tights in your bag, even if it’s the middle of summer. You’ll likely want them all day, but even if we have unusually warm weather, you’ll be pretty miserable without them after 4 p.m. or so.

Bring a little bag. It’s nice to be hands-free, but nicer to have a travel sized sunscreen, a place for cash and ID, sunglasses, and somewhere to store your scarf, sweater and tights when you don’t want to wear them.

See you next year.