Festival Style: Power Pairings

5 Rules for the perfect festival dress combinations

festival dressing

Words: Jabulile Dlamini-Qwesha | Photography: Steve Marais | Styling: Akim Jardine

No matter which music festival you’re attending this season, the unambiguous thought on your mind is "what the heck do I wear!?" It can be a difficult situation, because you want to be comfortable and able to move around without restrictions, but you also want to look good – and well “coziness” is sometimes the compromise when you’re trying to turn heads.

And because we don’t all festival in cheeky shorts and Hunter boots like Kate Moss, dresses could just be the thing. They conveniently take up less space in your luggage and are easy to slip on and off when you’re on the go. Making them work becomes a matter of how you mix and match the pieces you have to play with. While some of these may not be completely new ideas, there are a number of styles to consider.

Crushing on a corset

Corset and print dress pairing

An unexpected detail twist, this gingham print and corset combination gives off a very low key, undated yet stylish steampunk look to festival style. The cinched waist and plunging neckline detail create the illusion of more shape on the otherwise repetitive print. A trend revival credited to Miuccia Prada’s A/W16 show, corsets have been having a moment since then and the great news is that the previously exclusively lingerie item is no longer limited to ultra sexy vixen vibes.

Love layers

Dress and pants pairing

Wearing a dress over pants sounds like the sort of sartorial faux pas we last made as teens, but the look has had an official cool-over since as far back as Fall/Winter 2015 after designers, including The Row, showcased it on the catwalks.

Layering a dress over cropped or flared pants is the ultimate in-chic-city dressing right now, popular with street stylers, it’s smart enough for work and festival-ready (AF) when teamed with chunky flats or combat boots. Bonus: You’re getting more style bang for your buck. Remember, these pieces can be worn separately.

Contrast texture

leather jacket and dress pairing

When it comes to shopping for basics, one item that frequently pops up on many wish lists is a good leather jacket. In recent years, it’s become the stereotypical uniform for models off duty and Instagram celebs. A truly versatile piece and a natural festival style star player, it provides the perfect texture clash against a flowy fabric. So, do pair it with a floral frock for extra attitude and all the punk rocker feels.

Dust your shoulders off

Off-shoulder dress and shoulder duster pairing

Spring is the season to let your shoulders take centre stage. Emphasised in crisp fabrics and soft silhouettes, the look is foolproof when coupled with spring’s other key collarbone-accentuating trend – super long earrings.

Channel runway-ready vibes with romantic off-shoulder ruffle sleeves, combined with shoulder duster earrings for feminine chic festival feels. Plus, you’ll be grateful for the loose-fitting shape of the dress allowing uninhibited movement.

Slip on something shiny

Floral dress and metallic shoes pairing

They may not be ground-breaking according to Miranda Priestly, but florals in the warmer months are a necessary staple. How you approach them is where the real magic lies. Think large prints in soft tones for a whimsical yet flirty festival look. Then be casually extra by adding metallic footwear! Approach shiny shoes as you would jewellery: much like a bold pair of earrings they pack in a measure of glamour that goes a long way in certifying head-turning style.

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