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Friday, 9 May 2014

Festival Tips for Retro Chicks: REAL Festival Fashion, Glamping on a Shoestring, Hair Without Hot Rollers, Eat to Look Like a Peach & Easy Retro Festival Skincare

A couple of years ago, I grabbed a copy of Vogue at an airport to read on the plane. Summer was coming and it was full of summer fashion articles, including one about "festival fashion", which included recommending buying an 8 grand pair of lilac raw silk trousers for Glastonbury Festival.

Yes... really.

I meant to write my own guide in response to this insanity on behalf of the fashion industry, and here it is: five GENUINELY useful, tried and tested by me over the last 12 years, won't leave you weeping in the mud over the corpse of your 8 grand raw silk trousers, festival tips for retro chicks.

Enjoy the summer, save money, and don't die inside every time someone tags you in a Facebook photo!

Here's how:

1.  REAL Festival Fashion

Land Girls in Leighton Buzzard
Camping at a festival is not the same as camping with your family in a nice campsite in Cornwall when you were a kid. Assume that it will rain. Assume that you won't have access to clean showers. Assume the toilets are going to be almost unuseable after Day 1.

For once, keep it simple rather than extravagant. You can still look stand-out, head-turningly fabulous, I promise.
  • Big sunglasses are beautifying and hide a lack of eye makeup! I believe Dita has just brought out a range. If you are short-sighted, have your optician fit the frames with your prescription so you can see the stage clearly.
  • Leather and denim never seem to look dirty. Bear with me. Tight 50s jeans chafe when they inevitably get wet, so 1940s-style wide-legs are best, in black or dark blue denim. Biker chick jackets come in a range of colours and have been in style for rebellious rocker chicks since the 50s. You can make them look more feminine by getting one in a pastel colour, or a colour to match your lipstick, and pairing it with a different pretty silk scarf each day. You could also switch the jeans out for retro capris, or chino shorts in olive or tan, for a real Enid Blyton vibe- just don't bring anything white or made of delicate fabrics that will suffer from being saturated in grime for five days. Do a little research into what the Land Girls were wearing in WWII for further inspiration.
  • Be prepared to get very cold at night and very hot at lunchtime. Cardigans are better than coats because they're easier to carry when you get too hot. BANK Fashion carry a good selection at reasonable prices. Wide-leg trousers can be rolled up and down.
  • Don't wear a onesie. It may seem all cute and festival-like to be wandering around in a shapeless babygro with cat ears attached to the hood, but it means you have to more or less get naked every time you use a Portaloo, which believe me, will be worse than any kitty litter tray.
  • Don't put your wallet in your pocket unless the pocket buttons or zips closed. If the wallet doesn't get nicked, it will fall down a toilet.

2.  Glamping on a Shoestring

The cruel dream
 Can we bear the idea of camping in anything other than a boutique tent? Can we bear the idea of spending extra money on our three-figure ticket for the privilege? Eek. Let's try doing it ourselves...
  • Bring a bigger tent than you think you'll need. My rule of thumb is that a single lady needs at least a three-man tent, a couple need a four-man tent, and so on. Being cramped is not elegant! Camp uphill to avoid flooding and away from the path (noisy) and toilets (smelly).
  • Decorate your tent- but not with candles. Fire, tents and drunk people don't mix. Make your tent more attractive and easier to find with ribbons and bunting. Tying bunting around the guy ropes will save you tripping over them when feeling your way home in the dark. Block white shows every last
    The Free Candle iPhone app
    smudge of mud, drop of red wine and hint of grass stain! A throw with a dark pattern makes a great "carpet" for your tent by day, which you can layer over a light duvet to keep you warm at night.
  • Know where your towel is. A nice champagne, truffle or mink-coloured bath towel can be used for getting dry, as an extra blanket at night, or for sandbagging the front of your tent against the rain*cough* GLASTONBURY *cough*
  • Light your tent with a warm, flattering, romantic glow with a solar-powered "fairy jar" or two. No-one looks good in bad lighting! You can also download the Free Candle app to your iPhone, to get the look of a flickering candle in your choice of colour and style that you can blow out when you're done. If you're sharing a tent with friends, why not get everyone to download the app and enjoy a safely candlelit tent? Bring a solar-powered phone charger so you don't have to queue for hours to get your phone charged up.
  • Bring a double airbed, even if you think you'll be sleeping alone. It feels far more luxurious, and besides... you never know. Keep a condom in that buttoned-up pocket of yours.

Nan in 1945. Check out those victory rolls!
3.  Hair Without Hot Rollers

Now we get to the frontline of maintaining glamour in the face of extremely unglamorous circumstances.

Setting hair in waves was essential for any self-respecting woman in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. My grandmother would never have dreamed of being seen at a dance with straight hair, and that was during the blackout! So, what are our options if we don't have anywhere to plug in our hot rollers?

Battery-powered curling tongs? Imo, they just don't work.

Rag rollers? There's just no way I'm stumbling into my tent at 4am after partying for 16 hours straight and then patiently setting my hair in rag rollers before passing out. If you can do it, then more power to you! but I can't in good faith recommend it here.

Instead, let's just assume that we're not going to be able to curl our hair. So, arrive at the festival with a freshly washed, coloured and trimmed 'do, a can of dry shampoo, and some hairbands and grips, and settle for a simple daily style that you can do without a mirror, for example:
"Thank fuck I didn't rely on rag rollers"
  • -  a chic 30s chignon
  • -  cute Wizard of Oz/ 1940s pigtails
  • -  a bouncy 50s sweater-girl ponytail, worn high on the head and tied with ribbon
  • -  all of which can be wrapped in one of your pretty silk scarves when your hair gets to the point where dry shampoo can't save it
If your hair is naturally straight, you could even get it cut into a chic 1920s bob beforehand, if you're feeling brave! Short, sleek hair was considered very sexy for party girls in the 20s, and just needs a quick comb to smooth it into your daily side-parting. This style works well with a rounded retro fringe, which can also help hide any breakouts you might get on your forehead from eating deep-fried festival food.

Which brings us neatly onto...

4.  Eat to Look Like a Peach
"What was that about block white?"

Flawless skin and a neat silhouette are two things I love and associate with the "vintage look". Unfortunately, festival food works against me on this by bloating me out and giving me spots. Living out of a burger van for days on end is not ideal.

Most festivals these days have at least some healthier alternative food outlets available, such as falafel carts, smoothie bars and vegetarian joints. Having the odd £3 greasy bag of chips is part of the festival experience, but if I eat nothing else, I look and feel exhausted by Sunday morning!

To add insult to injury, festival food is overpriced because the traders have a captive market. You can offset this a little by at least providing yourself with a healthy, delicious breakfast in bed each day:
  • Your favourite fresh fruits
  • Coconut water- it's a natural hangover cure and better for your belly than Lucozade
  • Nakd bars- the only ingredients are raw fruits and nuts, and they can replace breakfast cereal :)
You can also tuck some little snacks into your bag to take with you on your daily adventures:
  • Bottled water or coconut water
  • Make your own trail mix out of raw nuts, raw seeds and dried un-sulphured fruit
  • Half a dozen or more chlorella tablets give you a quick kick of quality protein
  • Cups of hot water are usually free, so bring caffeine-free teabags for tasty and comforting re-hydration. My favourite is peppermint, which perks me up and helps me digest the burger van food I inevitably end up eating!
Monday morning on the campsite

5.  Easy Retro Festival Skincare
  • Another important way to maintain flawless skin is to put on a high factor sun cream before leaving the tent each day, no matter the weather or your skin tone. Festival weather is notoriously unpredictable and raw, burned skin is never glamorous! (Ditto antihistamines, whatever the pollen count predictions for the weekend are, so you don't rub your cat's eyeliner off when your eyes get itchy from all the grass.)
  • As well as getting your hair cut and coloured, be sure to get a full body wax and a mani/ pedi before you leave, so you don't have to think about them when you're there. A 20s-style short, dark manicure is best, to disguise muddy fingernails!
  • Lay a clean silk scarf over your pillow at night to minimise facial lines
  • Bareskin Beauty Illuminating Facial Serum is made from natural, old-school ingredients and is both a base for makeup and a damage-repairing night cream, to maintain a Golden Age of Hollywood starlet complexion 24 hours.
  • A jar of coconut oil is my other secret weapon! You can use it as body lotion, lip balm, hand and foot cream, eyebrow gel and after-sun, and if times are really hard, you can even use it as toothpaste for a couple of days. It will be solid in cool temperatures and runny when it's warm- don't worry, this is normal! It doesn't need to be refrigerated.
Have I missed anything, vintage gals? What would be your best tip for looking as good as you feel at a festival?

Anita x