For a lot of people, Coachella is a high-fashion moment — a runway in the desert. Then there’s me, wearing the same thing three years in a row.
I wore the same hat, shorts, boots, and denim jacket (tied around my waist in each photo) at my first Coachella in 2016 too — the only reason I didn’t wear the skull t-shirt that year was because it hadn’t been given to me yet.
While I do love theme dressing, this concert ensemble isn’t a planned “let’s wear this again!” thing. It’s just a comfortable combination to wear when I’m going to stand in one spot for anywhere from four to 12 hours to see my favorite acts from the front row. Let’s take a closer look at the 2019 version.
What Wendy Wore for Coachella 2019
Hat for sun protection: Philip Treacy (2011ish)
Bandanna for dust protection: Lady Gaga merch (Coachella 2017)
Lightweight t-shirt for hours in the sun: Birthday gift from 2016, I think.
Denim jacket tied at waist for chilly nights: Vintage Kikit (bought from eBay in 2015)
Shorts: Acne Jeans (purchased as regular jeans in 2008, converted to shorts in 2015)
High-top sneakers to keep out dust: Puma (2016, first seen here)
Fanny pack: Urban Outfitters (2018)
So here’s Wendy’s guide to ultra-practical Coachella (or other desert festival) dressing:
- A hat to protect your face from the sun is a must (as is high SPF sunblock, of course). A baseball cap is less likely to be blown away by sudden desert gusts than a glamorous big-brimmed hat. It also doesn’t rudely block other people’s view. This Philip Treacy hat with the Mick Jagger-by-Warhol print is my only hat of that type that I really like, so it goes to every outdoor concert.
- Dust protection. I’m serious about the dust there! You need a bandanna to cover your nose and mouth at least for your long walk across the dusty, pebbly parking lots, if not during the performances themselves. And, sure, you can wear sandals if you’re into filthy feet and stepped-on toes, but that’s not my thing. Check out the boots I bring each year — to alternate with the Pumas — as they looked before and after Coachella (click the right-facing arrow).
- You can wear any closed-toe shoe, of course, but I like something ankle high because it keeps dust and pebbles out and if anyone steps on the back of my foot in a crowd, I’m not going to fall out of my shoe. I learned about that last issue the hard way at a concert in New York.
- A tissue-thin t-shirt is ideal for long hours in the sun but the temperature will drop 30 degrees at night, so you’ll be sorry if you don’t have something to cover up. Choose a jacket or shirt that you can tie around your waist so you don’t have to carry it in your hand all day.
- Long sheer or fringed skirts were THE look this year, but again … dust. And sun. And sweat. It’s hard to mess up denim shorts.
- Fanny packs are now called “belt bags” to make ’em sound fancy, but whatever you call them, they’re great. Even the smallest, lightest cross-body bag can cause shoulder pain after a full day of standing.
And, obviously, don’t forget your sunglasses! I’m not always wearing them in my outfit photos, but I always have them with me.
This year, I outdid myself in the sunglasses department. I have a few pairs of progressive glasses with magnification for reading on the bottom (because I’m old!) and nothing on the top of the lens (because I still have awesome distance vision). There’s a woman at an optician near me who upsells me SO easily and I was a little mortified she talked me into light-responsive transition lenses. I had a bad impression of them lingering from, oh, the 1970s or so. I feel like wild and crazy guys wore them with leisure suits to Maxwell’s Plum (shout-out to anyone who gets those references without using Poodle). But these glasses are SO GOOD! No fumbling for sunglasses during the day and I can still be sure that I get a clear shot of Billie Eilish.
Now I want all my glasses to have transition lenses!
My previous Coachella posts: