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The styles we’ll be seeing at Coachella 2024 - and what to avoid

The styles we’ll be seeing at Coachella 2024 - and what to avoid

Are we sick of cowboy boots yet? How about geometric patterned disco pants? Can we still stand fringe shawls? What about the bikini top, jean shorts, and combat boots combo?

When it comes to festival fashion, we‘ve pretty much seen the same apparel every year with very little variation. For the most part, outfits fall under four emblem archetypes.

There’s the early aughts VSCO girl who will never succumb to the downfall of the felt choker, often wearing lace shorts and a tube top. There’s the gothic goddess who channels an elusive aura with a dark twist, decorating themselves in silver accessories over sheer or chainmail bodycon pieces. There’s the desert bohemian girl who escapes to the dry land to be a flower child in a wispy dress. And there’s the regular raver who prefers to submerge themselves in a head-pounding reality, mimicking wavy graphics and flashing lights in a neon matching set.

Though expected, these characters, jaunty, unbothered, and autonomous, reflect the sentiment of a music festival – a blissful liberation from everyday life. Festival attendees choose from these carefree, musically driven alter egos, adding touches of their personality to a whimsical ensemble where it’s most warranted.

But generally, festival fashion can be limiting, trite even, especially when you break it down into individual genres. For example, if you’re going to Stagecoach, you won’t wear one of the glitter-saturated bodysuits or wrap-up leg ties that coat the crowds at Ultra. Instead, Stagecoach style calls for a Western movement, a landscape dusted in cowboy hats that stick out like desert cacti, flanel shirts, and worn denim.

Yet, every year, regardless of location, we see certain trends favoured over others. In 2023, the alternative bohemian aesthetic took over in frayed, fringe, and crash skirts teamed with stacks of vintage jewellery that followed no method or form – the more mismatched, the better. Beaded chains and steel link belts covered waistbands of full crochet outfits, while a campaign for metallic nearly doubled in support – oh, and ‘70s-inspired flare seemed to catch up to the already established love for ballooned dresses.

One contemporary fad to come out of the 2023 festival season, which I predict we will see a lot more of this year, was a juxtaposition of masculine and feminine codes within the same outfit. For the long days and hours on feet, festivalgoers were dressing modish and comfortably in sparkly crop tops and bustiers with baggier bottoms like low-waisted, drawstring parachute pants, and favourbly long jean shorts, finding solace in the á la mode.

With April upon us, Indio, California, readies for the back-to-back madness of Coachella and Stagecoach. Thus, anticipation eats away over what will likely return as the leaders of festival fashion in 2024 and whether new styles will trailblaze the scene.

Here are the trends we expect we’ll see this festival season and the ones that’ll hopefully be put to bed.

What to expect:

Head scarfs and bangles on bangles

In a chasm of chaos, you want to stay protected. Not only are delicate, chiffon head scarfs and chunky bangles the additves that embellished Yves Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2025 collection, they’re the perfect coat of armor to stay hidden. Think about it, in a swarm of people under the fiery sun, you need both the hardware and headwrap to block outside noise and focus on the stage ahead. Plus, they translate to a loud, “cool girl,” statement of, “Don’t bother me.”

Belts over micro shorts and miniskirts

Even with a garment that doesn’t require a tightened waistline, like fabric shorts and slip skirts, festival lovers decorated their bottoms with belts a ton last year amid a Y2K revival. No belt loops? No problem. The fad works best without them. Leather straps were stacked on top of chains with drop-down charms and threaded through big buckles.

As this easy method of elevation maintains it’s favor especially in the TikTok fashion world, and influencers are guaranteed to dominate the festival scene, it only makes sense to assume this mod look will make its way back this year. The question becomes: Will you partake?

Jorts, and lots of them

If you haven’t heard, the high-cut denim shorts we used to purposefully buy too small are no longer “in style.” It’s knit micro shorts or long mid-calf men’s jean shorts, otherwise referred to as “jorts” – what I like to think of as a battle of the extremities. In festival speak, you’re either choosing to dress for the midday heat or protecting your legs for a chilly night.

Jorts adhere to the concept of comfortability but they’re also a marker in a push for androgynous fashion. Exampled in Miu Miu’s spring/summer 2022 runway with stamped boxer shorts intentionally poking out from miniskirts, women are hopping on the saggy pants train out of love for everything loose and low-waisted. Cheeky cut denim shorts had their moment but jorts are now taking the reigns as the perfect dancing pants (so long as their secured around the hips).

Canadian tuxedos

Maybe I’m just manifesting this, but I would argue that a Canadian tuxedo comeback is justified in the aforementioned love for ‘70s fashion at festivals.

Effortlessly swank, yet ultra-relaxed, the denim-on-denim ensemble exudes the easygoing energy of the era, fitting for a dryland scene too. Both Burberry and Givenchy championed this with unique twists on their spring/summer 2023 runways. Gigi Hadid donned knee-length, denim cargo style jorts with a elongated jacket to match for the French fashion house. Meanwhile, the British clothing brand fused wide-leg flare with asymmetrical tailoring and exposed stiching in their matching jean look.

Hooded tops

Why look for shirts and head scarfs separately when you can combine the two? Interest in hooded shirts have peaked with edgy brands, like Eckhaus Latta, making strong cases in 2024 ready-to-wear collections. Streetwear retailers like Atmosphere and Frequency, as well as high fashion outlets like Saint Laurent, are enticing fashion fans with this occult style that’s seemingly perfect for the gothic goddess aesthetic.

Distressed biker boots

With a surge in dupes for Miu Miu’s four-tiered buckle boots, the presence of distressed and genuine vintage shoes one would assume belong to a motorcycle owner is expected this festival season. Between Frye, Steve Madden, and Vagabond, the style masses have been devouring biker boots all year, pairing them with every bottom imaginable. Just think of these as the combat boot upgrade with a worn, teathered touch.

Utility Belts

Despite the amount of TikTok fashion influencers that carry their designer purses at Coachella, it’s never a good idea to bring in anything with equal risk and value. The desert is dirty, and the parks can get muddy. You don’t want to bring your expensive bags just for the outfit, trust me. Plus, if you’re jumping up and down in a pit of people, you’re not going to want to cling to your shoulder bag the whole time.

Cross-body purses have been a festival essential for some time, and now utility belts are gaining just as much traction. The voguish accessory is an upgrade to the functional fanny pack.

For inspiration, channel Emma Chamberlain in the gold scalloped romper and burnt orange-black work belt from Coachella 2022.

What should be left behind:

Sheer shirts over bikini tops

This see-through style has controlled festival fashion long before it appeared on almost every runway for the last two years. Wanting to wear as little clothing as possible is a concept that consumes the mind for music festival regulars for mobility purposes, not because it’s a revolutionary look. But short ponchos, micro shorts, and crochet garmets are just as flexible, and provide a more updated look.

Hypnotic sets

These matching, abstract-patterned two-pieces are often chosen as a way of channeling the same curvy frequency of electronic music. But you can form contrived structures through exaggerated shapes and textures with different apparel.

Kate Moss at Glastonbury (Getty Images)
Kate Moss at Glastonbury (Getty Images)

If you’re planning on indulging in a musical escapade this year, remember, with all festival fashion, there’s a way to resemble your personality with that same free-loving spirit – think Kate Moss trudging through a mud-painted Glastonbury in a long sleeve mini dress and exaggerated buckle belt, and Hunter rain boots circa the late 90s. (Side note: is it too soon for the return of the Hunter boot?)

Though festival fashion seems to preclude any model beyond the beloved four, it doesn’t. You can embody that same fervor while straying from quintessential looks with a relaxed base and a little bit more accesorising than you usually go for.