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Ask Allie: Should I Go to Coachella?

A friend of mine has an extra ticket to Coachella and asked if I want to go. I’ve never been to a music festival in my life, though I do objectively think I like good music. Is it all going to be “kids” and not my scene? What should I wear/pack? We aren’t camping, we are staying in a hotel.

Though I have been to many different music festivals, I have not attended Coachella. However my good friend Nicole has been the past couple of years and has had a blast. Like you, she stays in a hotel instead of camping. And like you and me, she is not a “kid” and isn’t into the stereotypical festie scene. I say go, you’ll have a great time and have a great story to share with your friends and your kids once they’re old enough to consider attending a similar event. You will see people of every age and walk of life. Don’t base a festival by the photos you see on the Internet, photographers love to capture that which will increase pageviews or look crazy/cool/fashionable.

Since you’re staying in a hotel, packing is far simpler. Treat it as if you were going to a day festival like Columbia’s Wine in the Woods or Virgin FreeFest. You want to dress and pack to be able to be away from your hotel for the entire day but no need to act as though you’re going on an expedition to the wilderness. But again, don’t base your fashion on the pictures you find on the internet of half-dressed college kids and celebrities. You can seriously wear anything and look fine; dress to fit your current closet and for comfort.

Shop similar: top | shorts | sandals | hat | sunglasses | bracelet | bag

This outfit embraces the boho style of California without looking like a costume. Wear a tank or bathing suit under the top when it’s warm, put it back on when in the shade or when the sun goes down. Denim shorts are a popular choice for music festivals because they can take a beating, but be sure they’re a bit slouchy and loose so it’s easy to slip them on and off when you’re sweaty in a hot cramped porta-potty. Sandals are fine for a festival, I wear them often, but be sure they are well broken in beforehand to prevent blisters. A hat and sunglasses are a must; a crossbody bag or backpack is the best choice to carry your essentials as it leaves your hands free to hold a drink, take a picture, or dance.

Shop similar: dress | sneakers | hat | sunglasses | shirt | bag

I love wearing cotton dresses to music festivals; they float away from the body, dry quickly, and are comfortable in the heat. Consider a pair of bike shorts underneath for both modesty when sitting on the ground, and to prevent chafing. A pair of canvas sneakers like Chucks or Supergas are great for a festival and look adorable with a girly floral dress. Such a dress looks great with a big sun hat and tortoise frames, carry a denim shirt to put on when the sun sets and the temperature drops.

Shop similar: top | pants | shoes | hat | sunglasses | jacket | bag

I love how flowy lightweight trousers and track pants are in style, they are comfortable in the heat and perfect for a music festival. In a breezy fabric, a pair of pants like this protect you from the sun, from chafing, and are uber comfortable. Pair with a drapey tank or tee for breezy style, lightweight shoes like TOMS or sandals will finish the look. A well-worn denim jacket stuffed in your locker or bag will not only keep your warm later in the day, it makes for a pretty good groundcover when sitting on the grass.

As for a bag, look for one that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time and leaves your hands free. I have a small backpack I take to festivals, but I have also done a crossbody purse and even a fanny pack. Each person has different needs when at a music festival, but I think these are the essentials:

reusable water bottle (take in empty) sunscreen | wet wipes (to sanitize hands before eating as well for gross porta-potties) | bandana (sun and dirt protection as well as much more) | extra hair ties or barrettes | ear plugs (you can get the disposable ones, I have these Hearos and they’re great and come in a carrying case) | cash (as well as a credit card and your ID and insurance card) | Sharpie and notepad and/or business cards (get autographs, write email of a new friend, etc.) | gum or mints | lip balm with SPF | cell phone with a battery case or a juice pack

For more information, visit my previous posts on music festivals:

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True Fashionista: Cynthia

I’m kinda glad that Google Reader is disappearing. I had been neglecting it for a long while and with the news, I decided to find a new subscription tool (Feedly, which has an awesome app and plug-in for Firefox) and with it, have been reading blogs more regularly. It reminded me that there’s a heck of a lot of awesome blogs I follow, bloggers who inspire me and consistently have fun and fabulous fashion. And one of those who I have reunited with thanks to Feedly is the awesome Cynthia of Simply Cyn.

If Cynthia looks familiar to you, you may remember her blog with the old name, Addicted2Etsy. While Cynthia is still a big fan of that site and features sellers and products from it regularly, her blog showcases her personal style, as well as peeks into her personal tastes and lifestyle. Her music mentions thrill me because I often learn about new artists that I too end up loving. Her hair is amazing and she regularly writes about how she cares for it. She does reviews of fashion and décor trends and beauty products without it being overkill and they always fit her clean, bright, fun and spirited aesthetic.

And Cynthia’s personal style? Just as stated above, it’s bright, fun, and spirited. She can pattern mix like the best, but always does it in a clean, thoughtful manner. You can see her personality and lifestyle through her clothing choices, be it a vintage Coach bag from Etsy, a band tee shirt, or a pair of sandals she picked up on a trip to Barcelona.

Cynthia can rock color and bold prints without it feeling costumey. She has a good eye for proportion, balancing voluminous blouses with skinny jeans and knowing the right hem length to flatter her figure. She shops at budget-friendly shops but looks like a million bucks with her creative styling and pairing. I love how her hair is constantly changing, switching up the look of re-worn pieces and giving a whole new effect to her personal style. And her smile – gosh it’s refreshing to see a big happy smile in a sea of duck lips and pouts!

Simply Cyn is a blog I always look forward to showing up in my reader; Cynthia is positive, creative, and inspiring. I was thrilled that she was willing to be part of my True Fashionista series. I asked Cynthia to answer the same five questions I ask of each True Fashionista; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is about being chic but with a healthy dose of ease and comfort. There was a time I would try anything that was fashionable but I learned that I feel most beautiful and get the most positive response from people when I wear something that I am truly comfortable in. Being comfortable in your clothes and in your skin really comes across. It’s about confidence.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My mum was always a top notch dresser. I grew up in Cameroon, West Africa and my mum actually owned a tailoring shop. I would hang out there with the tailors and watch them work and watch my mum give out instructions. I think that’s where I started really liking clothes and patterns and different designs. It wasn’t however until later that I realized how that fashion is not shallow, at least it doesn’t have to be. It can really help on a crap day, the saying that when you look good, you feel good.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
A few years back it would have been mostly magazines, but now it’s definitely from other bloggers and living in NYC, its the ladies & gents on the street and on the train.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is temporary, style is forever.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Experiment. Its harder in the beginning, but if you don’t try, you won’t figure it out. Grab something you wouldn’t normally wear, pair pieces you don’t think go together. Be adventurous. You might be surprised what you discover.


The purpose of the Friday True Fashionista series is to show women who use clothing to express their personal style. Each woman has a different, unique look and opinion on clothing and fashion. These women inspire me in my clothing choices, and possibly their bold sartorial statements will inspire you. Stay tuned, there will be a featured True Fashionista every Friday. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

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