Tuesday, 12 June 2012 00:00
Musical festivals are one of the few times besides Halloween where dressing up is is not only normal, it's encouraged.
Text and Photos by Lane Nieset
Whatever inspires you that day – whether it is styles cues from Pocahontas or Vogue – anything goes. This liberating idea lends itself to a plethora of fashion opportunities and great people watching at events like Bonnaroo.
Over the four days at the festival, we spent a good portion people watching from all over – on top of the Ferris wheel, sitting in the grass during shows, in line waiting for that much-needed cup of joe and backstage.
After The Temper Trap played on Saturday, we happened to spot Dougie Mandagi, the lead singer of The Temper Trap, leaning on a fence backstage. We loved how simple his look was – graphic tee, grey skinny jeans, and Converse. We also love guys who are bold enough to rock accessories, like Dougie's silver cheetah ring a friend of his designed. Not too flashy, just enough to add a bit of edge to his laid-back look.
Men's fashion at festivals is often overlooked maybe because women have more options to be creative or stylish. But when men put a little effort and style into their look, we're impressed by the results. Take these two Bonnaroo veterans in their cutoffs and button-downs. We chatted over the music at The War on Drugs performance and found out this was Dane Smith's (right), 28, sixth Bonnaroo. That explains his practical and sturdy boots and bandana. He drove down from Asheville, NC, and packed mostly for comfort, he says. While comfort is key at a festival, plaid beats out a basic cotton tank top or tie-dye shirt any day.
While a lot of the beautiful people rocking VIP wristbands backstage had festival fashion mastered in flowing maxi dresses and chic ankle boots, we saw many other creative ensembles while walking through the crowds hopping from show to show.
Finding the right balance of style and comfort when dressing for a summertime festival is always tough, but Brooke Styles mastered the look at this year's Bonnaroo.
The 30-year-old merchandiser from Brooklyn, NY, has done this a few times. This is her third year at Bonnaroo and her look is all about fluidity. Instead of wearing denim cutoffs, a summer staple, she traded in the restricting shorts in favor of high waisted bloomers from Alter, a clothing store in Brooklyn.
We love the way Brooke paired the shorts with a Forever 21 top tied at the waist, to show just a hint of skin without being too exposed.
Brooke's outfit is not only breathable, an important factor in the Tennessee heat, it also incorporates this season's trend of mixing playful patterns.
On the way to watch Gary Clark Jr. on Sunday, we spotted Amanda Brockman, a 25-year-old Spanish teacher from Jasper, Indiana, rocking a pair of green high-waisted patterned shorts. We had to stop and ask what the story was behind the shorts. We'd seen a lot of the classic high-waisted Levi's, but Amanda's approach had a nice spin. She made these shorts and used Bonnaroo as an excuse to wear them. It's hard to pull off high-waisted shorts, but Amanda makes it look easy by pairing them with a crop top and boyfriend sweater. Not to mention her flowing hair looked amazing despite it being day 4 of the festival and raining. The inspiration for her festival fashion is simple: "I love how you can be free to wear whatever you want," she says.
And that seemed to be the motto for the weekend.