What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

Festival season is almost upon us, and with that, you know festival shopping season is already here (Have you seen the picks in the Crossroads online shop?) Whether you’re going to Coachella or Pitchfork, for the first time or for the fourth time, surely your unpacked bag is on your mind…and we’ve got your back! There are a lot of festival style guides floating around out there, but we often feel like they have the VIP section in mind rather than the pit in front of the stage. Heels? Boots? Wahh? Unless Indio looks like it did last year during weekend one (rain and overall brr), we don’t think that sounds comfortable.

So, here it is guys. A handy guide not just of what to wear but also what not to wear to Coachella and fests beyond, all straight from the mouths of our HQ staffers/in-house festival vets. Enjoy.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What to Wear: Crochet and Cotton Tops and Dresses. There’s a reason crochet dresses and tees are so popular at these almost too-hot-to-handle fests – they breathe. Whatever you wear, make it a variation of either of these materials, say a cotton tank dress and crochet top, or crochet dress and tee with shorts. Steer clear of anything too tight as it’ll negate the breathe-factor.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What Not to Wear: Layers. I hate to say it, but as much as those girls wearing lengthy cardigans over their short-tank combos look cute, I know from experience that in 100+ degree weather, that cardi won’t last a hot minute…and then you’ll be stuck dragging it around for the rest of the day. Unless you’re that dedicated to looking street style photographer-ready, leave any sort of layer at home.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What to Wear: Light Shorts. Shorts are the thing to wear for festivals, especially in airy materials (our friends cotton and crochet make a debut again here). They’re easy to move, sit and even crowd-surf in, and you get much needed  air all over. Personally, I’d prefer these cuties over denim cut-offs, but you’d manage in those too!

What Not to Wear: Jeans. Denim is a warm material. You might disagree until you meet some hot hot heat like that at Coachella. If you want to avoid having to peel sweaty jeans off your stems at the end of day one, don’t do denim. If you’d rather wear pants than shorts, we recommend some airy palazzos or cropped cotton pants.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What to Wear: Sandals. Shoes are always a debate when it comes to Coachella and other fests. There are two evils and you have to pick your own path – do you want dirty feet (sandals) or hot feet (boots)? Personally, I’d rather have to wash my feet off when I get back to my hotel than remove them from my boots with a shoe horn, hammer and funnel…don’t ask me how that works. Seriously, guys. Your feet will thank me.

What Not to Wear: Heels and Boots. I think I saw one lone person wearing Litas during Coachella  last year. It was about 2pm and I still wonder how she made it through the day, and if she did at all. Since you’ll ideally be on your feet the entire day, rocking out and all, you want to be sure that you can stand in these things for a whole day. And as for boots, I think I already made my case.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What to Wear: Small Crossbody Bags. The more I attend music festivals, the smaller my bags get. Since I’ll never allow myself to wear a fanny pack, the best thing to do with your personal items is to minimize them and them put them in as small a bag as possible. Avoid real leather as it is heavy, and even if it seems light, it won’t by the end of the day. A crossbody strap is absolutely essential so that your bag doesn’t wriggle itself  away from you through the masses of people. Be sure the strap is secure, as I know someone whose strap ripped, and finding her bag’s content at the end was not pretty (and not entirely possible). Backpacks work as well, but can be a little hard to access mid-show if you need something.

What Not to Wear: Totes, Large bags, or Designer Bags. I know wearing a tote may seem like a good idea  at first, but after a day of wrestling your bag and a sore shoulder, you’ll want to lug as little a bag and as little weight as possible. Also, you’ll be the friend that all your friends turn to to stash their water bottles, which isn’t fun. Since your bag – and really everything you’re wearing – is going to take a good beating, we say leave designer bags at home.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What Not to Wear: Metal Jewelry. Under hot conditions, some poor quality metal jewelry will react with your sweaty skin, leaving a residue and sometimes a strange color on your skin. It isn’t pretty or comfortable, so avoid these kinds of pieces.

What to Wear and What Not to Wear to Coachella

What to Wear Beaded Jewelry: Jewelry made of beads or stones will spruce up your outfit without the possibility of making your neck green.

So what do you think? What are your festival must-haves and must-nots?

About Sarah

I'm a recycled fashion enthusiast, as well as the official Crossroads Trading blogger. I have a penchant for cameras, pumpkin flavored-anything, midi skirts, throwback TV shows, music festivals, and beaches.


  1. Cute and informative post! I’m not going this year but it was a cool read :)

  2. Chiming in to say that sandals might actually be an overall bad idea. Besides the dirt and sand, you run the risk of getting those perfectly pedicured toes trampled on while watching your favorite band. No one wants that. Ankle booties, canvas shoes or sporty sneakers are a better bet.

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