Top 5 Fashion Mistakes Men Make at Festivals and How to Avoid Them

mens festival fashion donts

Festival fashion has evolved over the years and it is now expected that you chuck an image of your look up on Instagram (that’s not just for the ladies by the way gentlemen).  So here are the top five things you should try to avoid wearing when you go to one.

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When it comes to music festivals in the UK some people probably go down the route of ‘anything goes’. Yes it’s fair to say that there is a high potential that what you do wear will get fairly muddy and probably unwearable (once you’re home that is), but it isn’t completely true to say that anything does go. Festivals have now become a stomping ground for stylish campers and street style favourites alike, and settling on festival gear can be as hard as getting your hands on a Glastonbury ticket.

So as festival season is in full swing, we thought we’d compile a list of the five things you should not wear at a festival (ever). Here they are and then we’ve given you some festival outfit ideas on what to wear to a festival instead…


These are an absolute no. In fact, it’s not just at festivals that these should be given a miss, it’s at any event. Not only will they give you incredibly unfortunate tan lines, but they’ll also make you look incredibly ridiculous. Never, on any occasion should a mankini be an option, no matter how hot you are.

Instead opt for a pair of swimming trunks – this may sound slightly weird but hear us out. The whole point of them is that they’re meant to get wet and dry quickly. That means any sudden downpours, any beers spillages, in fact any time you come into contact with a liquid, you’ll dry of quicker than if you were in other shorts. We recommend going for some knee-skimming ones – anything longer will leave you with bizarre tan lines that begin at your shins and that’s not a strong look.

man in mankini festival
Man in a mankini at a festival


Kanye West Sunglasses

Shutter shades or venetian blind shades have been around for quite some time (they were originally released in America in the 1950s), but it wasn’t until Kanye West wore a pair that they gained momentum again. Custom-made by Alain Mikli, the design went viral (as everything Kanye West seems to do does) and fans everywhere were wearing them.

Suddenly though they became a festival staple for men, sitting alongside the mankini as one of the firm fashion disasters. While men (mostly middle-aged nowadays) seem to think that shutter shades are a good idea, we can’t vouch for it and definitely think that sticking to a normal pair of sunglasses is a better option. Shutter shades should not be on your list of what to take to a festival.

kanye west shutter shades sunglasses mens
Kanye West wearing shutter shades


Flip Flops and Sandals

With regards to festivals, there’s no set criteria on what festival shoes you should be wearing at one. one thing’s for sure though, and that is that Flip flops and sandals are just not festival appropriate, yet people still wear them. As far as flip flops are concerned, many people will agree that they are some of the least fashionable footwear ever designed. Yes sure they’re great for the beach, but the end of the flip flop really arrived when people started wearing them with jeans.

That said, while they’re fine for the hot weather or on holiday where you can guarantee that no one you now will see you or ever find out that you own a pair, they are an absolute no for festivals. Not only will you look a right idiot, but you will also get extremely muddy feet. Also, if you’ve ever been to a festival, you’ll know that there is a lot of walking involved – different stages can be several hundred feet away from each other (Glastonbury itself covers just over 1,100 acres of land) so if you wore flip flops, we reckon you’ll get blisters within an hour of being there.

benedict cumberbatch flip flops festival-min
Benedict Cumberbatch wearing flip flops at a festival with a companion wearing some vibrant festival trousers

Instead opt for a pair of trainers. While we wouldn’t recommend taking a brand new pair, the chances you have a pair of old Vans lying somewhere at home are highly likely. If you don’t, why not invest in a new pair of wellington boots? Festival’s are notorious for landing on weekends with unpredictable weather – Glastonbury usually floods – and so wellington boots are probably a really good idea! A pair of cool wellies from a brand like Hunter is your best shout as you know these will last the weekend (and probably be wearable next year too).


Novelty Head Gear

Ok so what we actually mean here is that you should just think through what you put on your head very carefully. When it comes to headwear we don’t just mean the silly festival hats, but also suggest that you leave trilby hats at home – anything straw basically should be left back at home (or in the shop).

Novelty headwear is a no. It may seem like a good idea when you get to the festival and someone hands you one in a drunken stupor, but try not to take it (no matter how much you’ve had to drink) as you will just end up looking like a fool.

As for those umbrella hats? Well unsurprisingly they’re a no too. Invest in a rain mac if you’re worried about getting wet, because an umbrella hat will again just leave you looking stupid and you’ll be getting attention for all the wrong reasons. Trust us, the umbrella hat needs to be left at home.

umbrella hat festival fashion mens
A man wearing an umbrella hat at a festival

Instead take advantage of the fact that the dad cap is well and truly back as a men’s fashion staple. It has been seen at all the major men’s fashion weeks across the world and it should be seen on your head at whatever festival you’re going to as well.


Fancy Dress

Right this one may shock you, but it’s one we don’t agree with. Sure some festivals rely on it – Festival for example has a different theme each year, and so we get that. However what we don’t get is why so many ‘lads’ feel the need to create their own fancy dress rule and abide to it. This usually goes for men on a stag do and while we’re all for them having fun, we reckon it’s unnecessary and and an eye sore.

mens festival fancy dress fashion
Men in fancy dress at a festival


Instead give your festival outfits some serious thinking and steer clear of the cowboy hats, Native American head gear and all other manners of fancy dress (unless its customary for the festival of course). You’re a grown man so leave all of the comedy fancy dress where it belongs – in the shop.

If you do want to go down the themed route, why not take advantage of the fact that the Seventies are trending hard for summer. Go all Jimi Hendrix and invest in a patterned shirt and some round shades. Perhaps even a bandana would be a good idea if you want to go the whole hog!

fancy dress mens festival
Men in fancy dress at a festival


Top 5 Fashion Mistakes Men Make at Festivals and How to Avoid Them

  • Never ever wear a mankini at a festival. In fact never wear a mankini at all. There is no purpose to one and you’ll like an utter idiot.
  • Sure Kanye West wore a pair back in the early 2000s, but that doesn’t make shutter shades any better. They should not resurface for festivals.
  • Flip flops and sandals have no place at a festival – muddy feet for three days (remember showing is sometimes not an option) is not a welcome thought.
  • Novelty head gear is a no from us – there’s no need for it, especially when you can wear a perfectly stylish hat that won’t leave you looking stupid. In fact something like a baseball cap will leave you looking the opposite and still do the job!
  • Fancy dress should be avoided unless absolutely necessary – some festivals require it for certain days, but unless this is the case we think it should be left in the joke shop.
mens fancy dress at festival
Men in fancy dress at a festival

On That Note

While you may think choosing your mens festival clothing may be a doddle, it actually isn’t. When it comes to festivals in the UK, this is when you will see the highest ratio of men’s fashion mistakes. We actually think it’s quite hard to get it just right, but these are the top ways to not look like an idiot and actually look like you know what you’re doing.

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Festival fashion has evolved over the years and it is now expected that you chuck an image of your look up on Instagram (that’s...
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