Learn from their mistakes: the worst Coachella trends ranked by a festival veteran


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Learn from their mistakes: the worst Coachella trends ranked by a festival veteran

Yes, I actually went there

In the last two decades, festival season has emerged as a tenable fashion, tourism and marketing phenomena. Brands ranging from For Love and Lemons to H&M have developed entire “festival chic” fashion lines, capitalizing on the April to September season of musical festivals with distinct characteristics scattered throughout the country.

June’s Bonaroo in Tennessee is for the authentic, “I would have totally been at the Summer of Love” type, while August’s Outside Lands caters to a more chill craft-beer-and-wine variety. Lightning in a Bottle is a sedated version of a rave in the woods, and Governors Ball in New York City lets the festival set make it home on the subway. Point being, all of these festivals have distinct idiosyncrasies, except for one notable exception, the one which sets the tone for festival season by kicking it off in early April: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Coachella loyalist. There’s almost no other time of the year I can see Kendrick Lamar’s new album live before pretty much any other audience on Earth, Migos literally four times, Lady Gaga, Drake, the XX, Father John Misty and Hans Zimmer (yes, the Lion King composer, and yes, I stayed for the whole set) for less than $400. Indio and the greater Palm Springs area essentially have Coachella down to a science, rending the whole affair the perfect 72 hour vacation from Los Angeles. But nearly two decades later, Coachella has gone meta, becoming so ubiquitous that it cannot possibly prevent becoming a meme of itself. While everyone knows the quintessential image of a girl in a flower crown and a garish combination of lace and feathers, every year presents a unique fiasco of trends threatening to poison the rest of the music festival season.

So here we present every terrible fashion faux pas at Coachella in the hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes as your predecessors.


Reappropriating Princess Leia buns is not a worthy tribute to Carrie Fisher

The deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother, fellow icon and superstar Debbie Reynolds, were some of the final heartbreaks of 2016. For some reason, 75% of girls at Coachella 2017 decided that an appropriate tribute was to wear the iconic double buns of Princess Leia.

Now, I was once five as well, and back then, I too wore these buns. However, if you’re 31 and on drugs in the desert, this is not a cute look on you. Plus you will absolutely hit people in the face with them as you scream, “this is my jam!” while bouncing up and down watching Migos for the third time.

The other appropriation: don’t use religious symbols as a fashion statement

While there is a way to draw influence from other cultures for the sake of fashion (secular Indian styles come to mind as an obvious choice), it shouldn’t have to be stated in 2017 that it’s disrespectful to appropriate sacred symbols for your Instagrams. Whether it’s Native American dreamcatchers or Catholic crosses, religious symbols as a style statement look not only ignorant, but also insanely trashy.

(Bonus points if you made an insensitive joke about Jesus in your Easter weekend Insta!)


The first and obvious point that needs to be made about this one is why the hell would you want a cape in nearly 100 degree weather? The second point to be made is why the hell would you bring a flag, an object that is not supposed to touch the ground, and wear it as an article of clothing for 12 hours? I don’t care if he’s “not your president” or if you’re all #MAGA (yes, there were many American, rainbow and Don’t Tread on Me flags too) — this is not the time for you to be this pathetically self-aggrandizing and wave your insecurities flag in my face, especially during Karma Police, you ignorant fool (this happened to me.)

Sweaty butts wrapped in fishnets wrapped in too tight jorts

I’m willing to give a pass to this idea in theory, because I’m sure that there’s a tasteful springtime look that employs fishnets and some sort of denim in breezy weather. However, 90+ degree weather is not the time to test this out. This is a flattering look on no one, and it will absolutely make you take 25 minutes to go to the bathroom.

Kendall Jenner

After refusing to accept responsibility like an actual adult and independent woman for her disaster of a Pepsi ad, Kendall Jenner reportedly only took interviews at Coachella with pre-submitted questions. TMZ said of outlets who would try to pull a fast one on Jenner, “Kendall will be immediately pulled from the interview and the outlet will forever be persona non grata.”

The obvious insanity is symbolic of why so many people hate Coachella without ever giving it a chance. This holier than thou attitude is without a doubt the worst part about Coachella. It’s what kills the vibe of harmony that music is supposed to channel throughout a crowd of strangers, and it’s what turns Coachella into a zoo of celebrity and fame rather than art and talent.

Yes, coming from Los Angeles especially, Coachella is a social affair and a fine place to embrace desert trends you wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise, but the precedence of celebutante drama and “doing it for the Gram” is what’s turned Coachella into a national joke.

Go for the vibes, go for the friends and go for the beats, but try not to embody the literal worst of music festival culture while you’re there.