I have a long and sordid history with plus size festival fashion, starting when I was in university. At the time, festival fashion was much more suited to slopping around in puddles of beer and mud than it was to taking selfies. In fact, I went to Lollapalooza in 2006 and wore a denim mini skirt, a graphic tee, and a pair of flip-flops. Of course, the denim mini skirt was actually a skort purchased in the plus section of a department store — whatup, Croft & Barrow! However, most of the other festival-goers were actually in some version of what I was wearing. In other words, we kept it simple.
Over the next few years, I began to see a slow and steady transition in the realm of festival gear: Crochet materialized before my eyes, ditsy floral maxis started falling from the sky, and feathers began appearing in everyone's perfectly sea-salted hair. I was in my mid-twenties then, and I absolutely loved boho festival fashion. Unfortunately, at the time, there was none of it to be found in my size. Much of the "alternative" summer clothing in plus-sizes was festooned with skulls and cherry prints, and the basics made me feel less like I was ready to dance and more like I was ready to golf.
You'd think that I would be overjoyed that now it's 2015, and places like Forever 21 and ASOS are incredibly well-stocked with boho festival fashion. Sadly, I am now Forever 29 and have grown out of the trend in favor of monochrome, unusual silhouettes, and overall minimalism. The only thing that hasn't changed is that I still like to go to festivals. So what's a pared down grown-ass woman to do? Well, even though it might feel like fringed kimonos are coming at you from ever angle, there are still plenty of more subdued options for the slightly older, slightly crabbier festival goer. Here are some of my favorites.
1. The Solid & Sturdy Crop Top
Sleeveless Zip-Up Crop Top, $25, Charlotte Russe
I love a good crop top, and there are two things that make this one stand out for me. One, it has that gold zipper for some visual interest. Two, the straps are thick and provide more coverage than a spaghetti strap or tube crop top situation — perfect for plus-size women who wear big sturdy bras.
2. The Perfect Oversized Jumpsuit
I am absolutely obsessed with this jumpsuit because it's got an incredibly unusual silhouette, and it's in a lovely, light shade of grey. The business in the front of the jumpsuit keeps you from having to worry about necklaces — all you'll need to accessorize is a top knot and a great pair of sunnies. The jumpsuit is also made of linen, which will keep you cool during all festival activities.
3. A Monochromatic Co-Ord Set
ASOS Curve Co-ord Linen Culottes/Top in Stripe, $108 for the set, ASOS
There are a lot of bodycon and floral co-ord sets making the rounds this season, and those are totally great. However, I love the fact that this striped set is monochromatic and includes two things that plus-size women are told to never do but should totally do: A crop top and a culotte. This set is also made from an easy, breezy linen that won't wrinkle if you spend too much time drinking on the festival lawn.
4. The Short & Simple Jumpsuit
H&M+ V-neck jumpsuit, $34, H&M
This doesn't require a ton of thought, and still keeps your look fresh, on trend, and totally devoid of boho vibes. I would pair this with a pair of Birkenstocks, an outrageous sandal, or possibly a pair of Adidas Sambas. Rompers like this are a great alternative to a skirt or dress because you can, well, romp.
5. The Leggy Maxi Tee
Defense midi dress, $35, Fashion to Figure
This is a bit of a departure for me, but lately I've been really into things with jersey numbers on them. This would be such an easy outfit for a festival — it's basically like wearing an gigantic t-shirt. Liven up this look with a pair of bright flatforms and you will have yourself a day.
6. The Most Perfect Tunic
The Most Perfect Tunic in Cloudy Skies, $36, Redress NYC
This might be the best throw-on and go dress I've seen thus far. I love shapeless silhouettes, but it's nice to have the slight flare out at the waist, if only to highlight my 29-year-old boobs. At a festival, this long tunic would be easy to jump around in and not too susceptible to stains. The best part? Re/Dress, the brand that sells this frock, also sell a bike short to go underneath. So long, chub rub.
7. The Fanciest Festival Dress
Shaina Mote Mandela Dress, $334, Meismith
I live and breathe for an oversized white shirt dress, and I would wear this to a festival exactly as it is styled in the photo, with the addition a pair of absurd sunglasses. However, this dress is designer and therefore has a designer price tag, so I would only consider doing so if Drake finally decided we could be friends and I was only watching the shows from the side of the stage.
8. The Side Split Joggers
Side split challis pants, $55, Torrid
We don't hear a lot of talk about pants for festivals because they can get way too hot to bear during a long day of concerts. These joggers are a great solution for those who want to head out with their legs covered, because they have a breezy slit on the sides. I love them with these ankle-height gladiators.
9. The New & Improved Skort
Nadia Embossed Asymmetric Skort, $24, Boohoo
This ain't your mama's Croft & Barrow skort that she bought on sale for you when nothing else would fit. This amazing little number is comfy, minimal, and edgy — I love the fact that the front looks so structural. Wear this with a black crop top and an intense geometric jangle for maximum impact.
10. The Simple Swing Dress
ASOS Curve Swing Dress With Embroidered Tape Detail, $40, ASOS
Behold, the first pop of color you've seen on this list! This swing dress feels minimal enough to suit my aesthetic, but also fun enough to let people know that I'm not going to a Sad Sullen Morrissey Festival. I love the idea of wearing this to an outdoor show with a backpack and a pair of ankle booties.
11. The Kimono
Asos Curve Festival Kimono in Solstice Print, $63, ASOS
Kimonos will always be a festival staple, but just because you are wearing one doesn't mean that it has to be floral or, god forbid, "tribal." I love the monochrome, ink-blotty print on this kimono so much that I am able to look past the boho fringe. Style it with a solid black romper, or a black bikini top.
12. The Side-Split Tunic
High Slit Marled Tunic, $23, Forever 21
These are popping up so much this year that I almost feel like they are trying to be the anti-crop top: Still showing off some skin, but not necessarily the belly (not all plus-size women are confident showing off their bellies, and that's cool, too!). I love the look of this side split tunic, but I would pair it with a wild pair of printed shorts and maybe even work in a little neon somehow. The best part? You can still easily put your phone in your back pocket.
13. The Brushstroke Maxi
Side Slit Maxi Skirt, $80, Eloquii
While a maxi skirt might feel a like a little bit too much fabric for a festival, I am totally into the idea of pairing this maxi with a crop top and a pair of flat sandals. There is also a side split in this skirt, so you can show off those gams while you're getting your groove on.
Images: Courtesy Brands