It’s that time of the year when the the Newport Folk Festival rolls into town, this year to celebrate its 57th anniversary. Tickets have been sold out since early February, and I’m sure that some of us have been planning our outfits for just as long. Here, tips, tricks, and fashion hacks for dressing right for the festival, so you can stay comfortable and enjoy your day to the fullest while looking your best.
1. Funky headware is a must
Flower crowns are cute, but they aren’t everlasting, and they won’t protect you from the relentless sun, so try a hat on for size. Go ahead and dig into your closet; surely there’s one hiding underneath all those sweaters you’ve been meaning to donate, or pick up a new one like this perfect straw hat by Free People to keep you cool and indiscreet. Hats are an awesome way to express yourself, and festivals practically call for them; most grounds don’t have a ton of trees or shade, and Fort Adams is no exception, making this accessory as practical as it is fashionable. Plus, your friends will always be able to find you in the crowd if you’re wearing something recognizable.
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2. Cut-off overalls
Overalls were cool when you were 10, and now they’re back (but not with a vengeance). These short overalls are practical, stylish, and a reminder of the days of Lisa Frank folders and sparkly Sketchers, but with a little more edge. Overalls are the perfect festival coverall; they have pockets and are adjustable depending on your mood and core temperature. The pair pictured above, from Urban Outfitters, is up-cycled, but if you’re shopping on island, there’s a wide variety of denim at local thrift shops.
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3. A cool cotton tee
I think it has already been somewhat established that you will be warm at the festival, so it’s important to wear something breathable under those overalls. Topshop makes the perfect ribbed cami, cropped to show off just a little bit of your summer tan and lightweight enough that you won’t feel sticky. (I really am feeling nostalgic in this post, aren’t I? Everything here is just screaming “90s.”) You can find Topshop items at Newport’s very own New England Harbour Club.
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4. Don’t forget to cover up
The weather in Newport always seems to be unpredictable, especially if you’re by the water. I recommend bringing some sort of cover up, scarf, or potential rain gear with you to the festival. Even if you end up not needing it, someone around you might, and the spirit of this festival is all about community. This lace topper from Anthropologie will add a romantic and whimsical feel to any festival ‘fit.
5. Comfy shoes
Personally, I take my shoes off the moment I get to a festival, but many people aren’t as adventurous and daring with their little piggies. A word to the wise: Do not wear brand new shoes. Chances are you will either blister your feet or completely trash your kicks. Rock a comfortable pair of sandals or slip ons. Vans are always an awesome choice, though I myself stay true to my Birkenstocks these days. The espadrilles pictured above would be a lovely addition to any maxi dress, or look great with a vintage pair of Levi’s.
6. The perfect bag
Made by local artisan Jennifer Field, creator of the Fruition label and co-owner of the Curated boutique in Tiverton, this floral print is reminiscent of the 1970s, so you can bring that vintage feel. This mellow yellow bag is also fully lined so you can rest assured knowing that your camera, phone, and other goodies will stay safe.
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7. Really good sunscreen
Sure, there’s been controversy over the use of unfriendly chemicals in many sunscreens, but any protection is better than none. Festival goers will be exposed to the sun for almost 10 hours each day. Using sunscreen is strongly advised; you’ll be glad you avoided that sunburn so that you can enjoy each day to the fullest. Lip balm containing SPF is also a must-have. My favorite sun protection is made by Raw Elements; it’s water resistant and also delivers antioxidants to your skin while offering protection from UVA and UVB rays.
Along with our dos, we also have to include a few don’ts: polyester anything, bulky bags, and selfie sticks (which actually aren’t allowed inside). Other than that, you’re bound to enjoy the festival, which is really so much more about the music than the fashion – although looking great never hurts.