Attending Coachella is the ultimate festival experience. Celebrities, industry giants, fashion gurus, and influencers flock to the multi-day, multi-weekend event every year. While the original purpose of the festival was to showcase some of the biggest artists in the world, it’s morphed into something of an impromptu fashion show. Paparazzi shots of celebrities at Coachella litter the internet, and festival fashion has begun to heavily influence the outfits of those who attend.
Once you’ve gotten your Coachella tickets, booked your hotels, and stocked up on sunscreen, the real task begins: packing everything you’ll need for a perfect weekend (or two!) in the desert town of Indio, California.
Typically, when you think of Coachella fashion, you think of bodysuits, fringe, or shorts with crop tops-clothes to keep you cool in hot weather. While these are a great choice for daywear, it’s a good idea to pack a festival jacket that will match your outfits while still offering you some protection from dropping temperatures as the evening approaches. Light jackets can also help prevent overexposure to the sun if you’re planning on being out on the rail for the entire day.
Comfort is key when choosing your footwear for Coachella—remember that you’ll likely be walking A LOT from stage to stage to campsite to food vendors, so you’ll definitely want shoes that are broken in and comfortable. A popular option is tall boots with chunky soles, which give you the height of heels without discomfort, as well as offer your feet protection from the dust and debris of the festival site. If you’re worried about your feet overheating, a sturdy sandal with a platform or thick laces is a great option.
Being able to carry essentials worry-free is one way to make your festival experience a whole lot easier. Choosing something like a sling crossbody bag or a belt bag will be a lot easier to manage than a tote bag or a traditional pocketbook-style purse. This way, you can keep all of your possessions — like your phone, wallet, and earplugs! — safely attached to your body for the duration of your outing to the festival grounds. Odds are, you’ll even be able to find a bag to match your outfits!
Coachella fashion can be incredibly unique. Dressing while you’re there can be a really fun adventure in your own sense of style wearing things that you normally wouldn’t in your daily life. Bikini-style tops are almost a requirement, scarves and headwear are a must, and any amount of fringe or feathers is sure to be a snapshot-worthy addition to your outfit. Try choosing a color scheme for each day that you’ll be there—white or cream, animal print (think Shania Twain), pastels, all-black, or holographic are all good options to start with!
The Essentials You Do NOT Want to Forget
Of course, you’re thinking you’ll pack your standard makeup and face wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc., but you really want to make sure you have enough moisturizer for your hands, face, and lip balm for those dry lips the desert may bring! The heat of the desert, the wind, and the dehydration can bring you chapped skin that may make you miserable. And you only want to enjoy your experience!
Those scarves can be more than an accessory too. Scarves are great to protect against the dry wind, and the blazing sun, warm up when the chill, or evening breeze blows, sit on if you’re tired, or wave around as you dance.
You also don’t want your immune system to take a hit, especially from coming in close contact with many new people. Bring some vitamins, like fish oil, vitamin C, and vitamin D to keep your immune system up. A small first aid kit that comprises band-aids, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and antiseptic wipes will be a godsend if you sustain any scrapes or blisters, cure that hangover, or help you if you get sick.
One of the most important essentials is water. Do not forget to bring water. Better yet, a hydration backpack is handy to hydrate on the go.
Aside from the utmost essentials, there are a few other things that can make your festival experience a lot more fun. A portable power bank for your phone can keep your battery full during a long day of taking videos and photos of your favorite artists on stage (and your killer outfits, of course!). If you have a Polaroid camera, this is the perfect opportunity to dig it out of your dresser drawer and fill it with film—there’s no better way to capture your memories at Coachella than through a vintage lens.
Planning for Success
Planning a trip can be stressful and daunting, especially if you’re planning to travel with friends to a festival like Coachella. Buy your tickets early, and make concrete plans as soon as possible. Decide whether you want to camp on the festival grounds or stay in a hotel or Airbnb. Make sure you have the proper vehicle and parking passes if you’re driving into the festival grounds. Look over the rules and guidelines for the festival and make sure any clothing or bags you bring in abide by those rules.
And lastly, of course, get dressed up to the nines and have the time of your life!