festival dressing

I joined a friend at a Goldfrapp concert in Somerset House on Sunday (very lovely and Alison Goldfrapp is amazing as ever). We discussed what a pleasant and elegant music concert it is. She then told me that she was off to Lattitude this weekend. Surprised, she’s not the muddy indie-chick type, “have you been before?” I asked. “No, but it’s all very civilised, there are lots of talks and you can do yoga.”  This got me thinking about the rise of the family friendly, middle class, cultured, festival. Why are we spending 4 days cold, in a tent in the UK instead of a week sunning ourselves in Spain? What’s the draw? And more importantly, what does one wear?

I dipped a trepid toe into the world of festivals last year with a holiday at Port Eliot. My husband is lukewarm about canvas shelters at best, let alone a field with suspect sanitary facilities shared by thousands and twins aged 1 to take-care of. Buoyed by a weekend with close friends and determined not to be changed by parenthood, we gave it a go…. The most WONDERFUL experience, I have to say.  Not a festival for the youf. No. No mud wading and she-peeing in the pursuit of Ed Sheeran live here. Not music at all costs. The smaller festivals of Lattitude, Port Eliot, Wilderness, Bestival and Green Man are pretty well rounded in terms of culture and appeal to a different crowd, or perhaps an older, grown-up ­version of our former selves! I’m totally converted. We have booked again this year and now tell anyone, with all the excitement of those that discovered skiing in the 80s, “it’s amazing. You MUST try it!” I don’t care that I sound like a dick. Probably the best £165 that I spent last year. 

Port Elliot festival me - selfish wardrobe
port Elliot festival campsite - selfish wardrobe
port Elliot festival Sarah mower and Clare weight Keller interview - selfish wardrobe

Why? For me, it was all about the talks and the people I saw that would have easily exceeded that price in London. Sarah Mower interviewed Clare Waight Keller (above), I watched Stephen jones recreate iconic looks of the 80s on Susie Bubble and took a drawing class with Barbara Hulanicki. Plenty to keep him entertained too, lectures and readings from Economist and FT journalists, food at a Polpo tent, comedy as well as some lesser known bands and artists. The kids were entertained by singing, dancing and learning circus skills (it was a bit soon for juggling, but maybe this year). I was completely swept up in the atmosphere and felt my inner hippy happily dancing out. We even found ourselves lost in the moment, thoroughly enjoying watching clownish Morris dancers for an hour - weird and wonderful. Every moment was bliss.

port Elliot festival  - selfish wardrobe

Upping your social media game is of course, a consideration these days. The setting of St Germains for Port Eliot festival is so stunning that I felt I was living in my instagram #nofilterrequired. Most visuals in festivals make any gallery pop. The tepees, bunting, fairy lights, floral headdresses and colourful streamers. But are we so vain that we are shunning the med in favour of our insta feed? Possibly. Probably. When you are watching your friends appearing in their own lifestyle ad, it’s hard not to get a pang of the FOMOs. In which case, you want your wardrobe to be on its A-game. Fortunately, I have 5 festival looks to suit your accommodation. You can tell a lot about a person from the tent they crawl out of, you know. Scroll below to view all 5.

festival dressing 1 - selfish wardrobe

1  The 2-man pop-up tent

You want to get the most out of this experience. Don’t want to be faffing around, wasting time trying to erect the Argos tent you just bought en route, that’s for sure. You will need hard-working festival attire that will party as long as you do. Definitely trainers, like Reebok high-tops. Start with sportswear. Possibly a mix of Gucci with a Calvin Klein bralet top. A bum-bag slung around the body should keep your hands free for a drink and phone. Top the look with statement fringe glitter jacket.

festival dressing 2 - selfish wardrobe


2 The family tent or camper van

This look would apply most firmly to myself. Practicality is the foremost consideration here. Also, day focussed, because let’s be honest, you’ll be knackered by 11pm. Classic Converse with sport socks give a comfortable edge. Two bags – one hands free for essentials. The other, enormous for all the “mum paraphernalia” required. Wrap several layers around yourself to prepare for any weather situation. Cap and glasses to hide the raging hangover. One glass of Rose is all it takes these days (ok, one bottle).

festival dressing 3 - selfish wardrobe


3  The vintage bell tent 

A traditionalist. The aesthetic is as important as the experience. You want to amerce yourself in the whole festival vibe. The full boho garb of floral headbands and kimonos feels a little passé now. So why not try a vintage Kaftan form a recent market trawl or look to Vita Kin for a cool linen embroidered dress. Channel Dior’s Resort 18 show’s western vibe and style like Leandra Medine with metallic boots and statement earrings. The latest wicker handbag by Ada Hodgeson is a the icing on this free-spirit cake.

festival dressing 3 - selfish wardrobe

4  The yurt

You’ve gone fully native. I can’t think of this without picturing Patsy and Ed from Ab Fab. This would be my heaven if funds would allow. Glamourous, eccentric, ethnic, designered up to the eyeballs whilst chanting in downward dog. Body, mind and handbag in perfect alignment. Feeling newly spiritualised on a recent yoga retreat, your Aura is a sight to behold and you are glad to be in a space with like-minded clean-eating individuals. The crystals, provide much needed calm as well as the perfect accessories. Think a mix of Louis Vuitton and Dior for inspiration.  J.W.Anderson has thoughtfully added crochet flowers on his cult Pierce bag for this occasion, just for you. Wear with white ankle boots; because you can. Being thankful for every moment.

festival dressing 5 - selfish wardrobe

5  The vintage Airstream

You are super cool. Effortlessly stylish. Your vast vintage collection makes it easy to throw a few pieces together and look rock-chick/French-gamine sexy-cool. You’re basically Kate Moss. I imaging she might wear Saint Laurent this year. Skinny legs, great boots some piratical leopard silk blouse found on the floor. BIG shades let people know you are special and besides anything looks good with a VIP access all areas lanyard for a necklace.

All things considered. I am most definitely camped in tent 2 but have aspirations for 3 and 4. You know what they say: Fake it till you make it!!  Scroll below for some of my favourite festival pieces. click through to the linked page. Read more on Port Elliot at Matches.com