What goes with what

What to wear to a festival

What to wear to a festival

Most years, this weekend would have seen a lucky few (well, around 175,000) cart their tents to Glastonbury, for a weekend of dancing, debauchery and, of course, downpours. But in 2018, the festival’s taking a fallow year, which means the rest of us can’t enjoy it vicariously at home. The perfect excuse, then, to head out to one of the hundreds of other festivals that take over seemingly every field, park and bit of green land from Dover to Dundee, all summer.

Integral to a decent time is the right kit – both for practicality, and fun. At festivals, the rules fragment. It’s a place to escape mundanity and embrace your wilder side. But it’s also awash in mud and broken bottles and liable to rain at any moment (not to mention the toilet situation). “The perfect outfit is equal parts practical and individual,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “You want to wear stuff that’s fun, but won’t ruin your good time because it’s uncomfortable.” For example, sandals. “They might seem relaxed, but they guarantee a trip to the St John’s Ambulance tent.”

You also need to bear in mind the location. A four-day rave in a field has very different dress code to a festival where chefs and bands get equal billing. “To guarantee you have a great time, pick your wardrobe wisely,” says Luke. Here’s how.

Day festival

Photographed: Rains coach jacket (£75)Paul Smith blue tailored shorts (£175)AllSaints Hawaiian shirt (£85)

The one-day festival has many benefits. For one, no camping, which means you’ll only go 12 hours max without the pleasures of modern plumbing. You also only have to plan one outfit, rather than trying to pack three days-worth into a rucksack you swore was bigger last time you got it out of the loft.

“You don’t need anything too utilitarian, so you can go with something a bit standout,” says Luke. “A print shirt is great for that.” Complete the look with shorts, for some meteorological optimism, and a jacket, in case it’s misplaced. “Make sure it’s lightweight enough to tie around your waist if – finger crossed – it stays sunny.”

Camping festival

Photographed: Carhartt jacket £145Stan Ray fatigue trousers (£75)Stüssy long sleeve t-shirt (£79)adidas Stan Smith trainers (£69)

Square as it may seem, when you’re spending a weekend in the elements, a bit of preparation goes a long way. “You’ll have a limited amount of stuff and need to pack it in advance, so it needs to be really hardy,” says Luke.

Think darker colours and not too expensive. A muddy field is also no place for your Sunday best, so stick to clothes that can get ruined without ruining your day, particularly your trainers. “For your jacket, water resistant is good, and pockets are essential.” You don’t want to have to keep scurrying back and forth to your tent.

Family festival

Photographed: Blue De Paname grey utility jacket (£115)Lee washed jeans (£75)Beams Plus check shirt (£135); Converse Chuck Taylor 1970s Hi trainers (£75)Lyle & Scott rolltop rucksack (£65)

Technically, a festival is no different from a day at the fair. Only louder. So it’s a great way to introduce the wee ones to live music. Depending on their ages, you’re going to be carrying a lot of stuff, so you need somewhere to store it. “A bag is vital, for everything from bottles to food to wet wipes,” says Luke. “Make sure it’s comfortable and has a carrying handle, for when you’re walking through crowds.” Because no one likes the bag-on-the-back guy.

Since things are more genteel when there’s an under-18s policy, you can keep things a little smarter. “Lightweight layers will make sure you’re prepared for the weather, but there’s still enough personality that you don’t just look like a chaperone. By going for things like straight leg jeans and shoes with a thicker sole, it’s comfortable, too.” You’ll appreciate that when the kids are calling for a Peppa Pig encore.

Foodie festival

Photographed: Edwin denim jacket (£129)Jack Wills sand chinos (£57.95)Beams Plus border stripe t-shirt (£75)Joules boat shoes (£69.95)

Time was, the only food you got at a festival came in a sweaty bun and was made from meat whose provenance you didn’t want to think about. Now, haute cuisine competes with the headliners for poster space, which makes for a better class of good time. “It’s much more mellow, so you can afford to dress up a bit,” says Luke. “Wear things that are more tailored, a bit sleeker, the kind of stuff where you’re not quite so worried about practicality.”

Perhaps the best thing about food festivals is all that seating – it’s tricky to eat 24-hour ramen on the move, after all – which means you can swap the wellies for something breezier. “Boat shoes are great as they’re breathable but still comfortable, and they give your look a relaxed feel.” They’re also machine washable, so you can get extra wear out of them when you’re back home.