Coachella 2011 Fashion Survival Guide

by Emily Green · March 29, 2011

The music festival we've been looking forward to for almost a year now is just three weeks away (um, excuse me, but where did March go...??). Although we're not big on planning ahead either, it's time to start thinking about what you'll need for the weekend excursion known as Coachella.  Whether you're a festival veteran or first-timer, we've made the "what to bring" dilemma easier with this Fashion Survival Guide filled with style survival tips tailored to the Coachella experience so you make the most of your weekend and look great doing it. [Photo via]


This should be your style mantra for Coachella weekend; dress for comfort because you never know where the day will take you. BUT assume you'll be doing a fair amount of walking, spending much of your time on your feet and at some point find yourself squeezing through a crowd. The last thing you need is to be distracted by a fussy or annoying outfit when trying to enjoy the adventure of the day.  Also, keep in mind Coachella is a desert with daytime averages in the upper 80s and nighttime lows dipping into the 50s and you need to dress accordingly if you're going to be comfortable. Now let's discuss what you'll need to accomplish this in our Fashion Survival Guide for Coachella 2011.

1. Safe, Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Sweltering desert temperatures mean an aggressive sun that give you a lovely lasting reddish glow within a minutes of unprotected exposure so it's important to slather on something that will keep those harsh rays at bay. Try something gentle on your skin as well as the environment like Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen.  Its organic formula is free of chemicals like parabens and synthetic preservatives, plus it's water resistant and biodegradable.

2. Hats

Brimmed hats won't just protect your face from the sun, but are the perfect accessory to Coachell-ify your look whether you're at a pool party or wandering the festival grounds. These examples can help point you in the right direction.

Floppy felt hat via; Lacy straw hat via; Straw panama hat via

3. Denim Shorts

Tobias Fünke had the right idea with his never-nudity and always having to wear his denim cutoffs. Remember that jean shorts are your best friend during the warmer seasons. No matter the fit or wash, they're comfortable, go with everything, can go from day to night seamlessly. Cuffed and unfinished frayed cutoff styles are hot for this season.

Cuffed via; cutoff via

4. Print and/or Lace Shorts

Textured and lace shorts are one of the biggest trends for this spring and also happen to be ideal for music fest-appropriate fashion. They're light, easy to wear and actually become the statement piece in your outfit so you can stick to basics with the rest. We love these lace shorts from H&M's Conscious Collection, an entire line of light, spring styles they must have created with Coachella in mind. As far as patterned shorts, we're really into this rose print denim-like pair by insight:

Lace shorts via; print shorts via

5. Shoes

Keeping the fact that you'll be spending significant time on your feet in mind, comfortable shoes are a must. You're definitely going to want something that won't get damaged walking through a messy field or dirt path. Sandals are great from day to night but if you want to take things up a notch for the nighttime parties, a casual wedge style will work very well with your daytime look.

Beaded sandal via; Fringe sandals via; Cork cutout platforms via

6. Breezy Boho Tops

These are ideal festival-wear since they're light enough to be worn all day in the blazing sun over a bikini top and flirty enough for the nighttime parties. Once again H&M's Conscious Collection nails the look you want to go for with these tops.

Beige cutout and white fringe tops from Conscious Collection via; black cutout top via

7. Effortless Outerwear

Don't let the daytime heat fool you, it can get chilly at night in the desert so you'll need a little something to keep you warm after the shows end and it's time to hit the parties. Your outerwear should be something that can be bunched and shoved in a bag or thrown over your shoulder or wherever you plan to stash it until you need to start layering. A very soft leather jacket like the black one below can be a lifesaver!

Printed fleece via; White tencel jacket via; black leather jacket via

8. Bags

A bag big enough to fit everything you'll need for the day and night if you don't plan on stopping at your base camp before heading out to the evening parties is necessary. We suggest something low maintenance, light (stay away from anything with lots of hardware, buckles, etc...), and over the shoulder so you can have your hands free and dance.

Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony backpack via; Canvas satchel via; Crotchet tube bag via

9. Easy Dresses

Dresses give a simple solution to outfit planning since they eliminate having to pair a top with a bottom. They also breathe and can help you keep cool in the blistering afternoon sun and are again appropriate for the nighttime festivities. As with shorts, light lacy numbers as well as patterns and prints are one of the biggest trends this season.

Trippin dress via; White peasant dress from Conscious Collection via; Tie front dress via

[Go HERE for our extensive coverage on all things Coachella!]