July 3 2013, Health Beauty Spot

As the British climate moves ever faster towards a year round state of grey, with an occasional rise and dip in temperatures, our standard concept of the four seasons— spring, summer, autumn, winter— begins to merge and become obsolete and we favour a much more apt three seasons: spring/summer, autumn/winter, festival. Friends, we’re smack bang in the middle of the latter.

This special time of year is marked by the nation suddenly being overcome with ‘festival fashion fever’ (a debilitating but seasonal disorder marked by the desperate need to wear fringed everything) and you can’t move for pictures of Alexa Chung in denim cut offs and wellies standing in a field. This tends to go on for the next six months until something else comes along to distract us and we’re subjected to endless pictures of Alexa Chung in some other outfit. Usually, between the two fashion months.

Festivals are no longer about wearing something you can probably leave behind along with your battered tent at the end of the long weekend because those are the kind of mud stains that are for life. Sniffing that old t-shirt that’s been living under your bed for the past few months, which is crumbling at the armpits, and deciding it’s more than adequate to clothe you while you’re astraddle some tall bloke’s shoulders in an attempt to get a better look at Kasabian will no longer cut it. Instead, we must once again tuttingly inspect our wardrobes for clothes that will not only stand up to rain, mud, sun, endless drinking and powering on through some of the most brutal hangovers of our life while counteracting sun stroke, but leave us looking chic and styled at the same time. Whilst wearing make up we put on four days ago and have foregone taking off in favour of layering more glitter and mascara on top instead. Naturally leaving us fobbing the whole wardrobe off and deciding we need to go shopping. Sequins!

So here, my friends, is a guide to keep close to hand when you’re scouring the racks for clothes that are equally durable, chic and affordable (after all, if you get unlucky with the weather, that darling playsuit may well not be making it back with you).

Mud: like it or not, it will likely be your constant companion over the long weekend. Thus, pack with the mantra, ‘what would this look like covered in mud?’ running constantly in your head. Yes, leave those delicate sandals behind, no matter what the weather forecast.

Equally important, as much as it pains me to say it, is the mantra, ‘what would Alexa wear?’ ̶ plenty of blogs out there for inspiration, should you be feeling the need on this one. Those denim cut offs are a staple for a reason: durable, comfortable, chic and you can pass off the grass stains as ‘distressed.’

You’ll need clothes that can take you from day to night with as few return trips back to the tent to worry about as possible, this means layers are key. Wearing a wardrobe that will stop you from getting sunstroke and freezing to your core is tricky, but ultimately doable. Long socks will help, not only in making your wellies more comfortable. A plastic mac will see you through a lot. Leave your jumper and bigger coat by the tent door so you can quickly grab and throw on on your way to the next stage.

Port-a-loos. Yeah? PORT-A-LOOS. Yeah. God, the logistics of the port-a-loo. Bear in mind that, by day three, this is likely to be the equivalent of the seventh rung of hell. This is thus where the dress comes in spectacularly useful and anything that requires getting pushed down to your ankles and thus potentially making contact with the floor, less so. Think anything that will facilitate getting in or out as quickly as possible. Or maybe just squatting right there in the middle of the gig ‘cause you’ve made your way through a litre of cider and now is the crucial moment when that act is on stage and, not only are you wedged in, but you’ll be damned if you’re going to sacrifice that place in the crowd. It’ll likely be the more sanitary option that the port-a-loo anyway. In other words, playsuits and jumpsuits? No.

Finally, I can’t emphasise enough the power of sequins. They’ll add that necessary boost of glitz, glammer and sparkliness when you’re feeling like a smacked arse. These will revive you (along with the Berrocca and cider mix you’ve got going). Look for them in jacket form. Anything that you will be sitting on will leave you with a bald patch and leaving a trail behind you ̶ useful only to locate your lost sunglasses/drink/shoe.

Et voila! Festival fashion made easy. Just make sure you have the requisite amount of fringing and you’ll be good to go, no matter which one you’re trudging off to this year. And if you’re not heading off to a festival this season, fear not: this madness will all be over soon. In the meantime, feel superior every time you make contact with your porcelain loo.