See that picture above? That’s a picture of myself and some friends from NYC in a photo booth at last weekend’s Virgin Mobile Freefest, a totally free concert put on by Sir Richard Branson himself [in other words, the British dude who owns everything Virgin] for the love of his music-happy-American-fans.
The lineup? A variety of acts spread across 3 stages at the Merriweather Music Pavilion — a musical haven in the middle of nature with enough trees for a “Dance Forest”‘; a ferris wheel, Native American inspired tee pees, games & circus acts; space for Yeasayer, Chromeo, Ludacris, Sleigh Bells, Jimmy Eat World, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem and more big acts to share; and of course, tons of bathroom lines, overpriced water, booze & grub. But we weren’t complaining — because we were at a FREE music festival!
So what’s this blog post all about? It’s about seizing the fun, the style, and the good times had with good friends. Because style isn’t always what you “see” — it’s what you “make,” too. Read on for how I made my own style at last weekend’s down south hurrah at the Virgin Mobile Freefest — and for some inspiration on how you too can keep rocker chic while dancing your tush off with good friends for good, stylish fun.
You thought I was kidding about that ferris wheel? Here’s the evidence: I KID YOU NOT! Totally worth the $5 it cost split between four riders.
Ironically, the girls and I noticed that many of the roadways in & around Columbia had Native American sounding names. Think “Broken Land Parkway” and “Patuxent Road” [also a river, apparently]. So, it’s only fitting that someone from the UK would pay homage to the Native Americans once local to this area with tee pees set up for musical festival goers looking to sit back and relax between sets.
LOOK #1: My Rocker Chic Style
Accessories: BOUGHT shades, one long, crystal necklace in silver, extra large bangle bracelets, fanny pack, matching black & white head scarf.
Top/Dress: This is rocker chic to the max! Grabbed from the closet of the Bartz Sisters [also 2 of my 3 concert partners-in-crime], this homage to The Doors is the perfect throwback staple for a contemporary concert.
How I Wore the Top/Dress: Note the slash as a “top/dress.” This shirt really should be a shirt, and not a dress. But the 85 degree weather had me leaning more toward the dress direction – so I paired it with black running spandex to keep the look chic, cool and comfortable — NOT inappropriate. The results? I could dance and sit at ease. Scroll down further to see my video on just how MUCH I was dancing at this music festival!
Sneakers: Had ’em since junior year of high school, and 8 years later I’m still rockin’ em — literally! Pink Nike Cortezs added just the dash of color this monochromatic look needed for that Sammy D spunk.
LOOK #2: Beaded Jewelry
Andi and I screaming at the camera [or wait, that’s just me!].
Her beaded, also Native American inspired earrings were awesome. Beaded jewelry is really easy to find in thrift stores [and super cheap, too!].
LOOK #3: Very Deliberately Mixed Prints
I know, I agree. I can’t believe it either! B&W stripes with animal print?! I didn’t think it could be done. But it’s happening. And it’s working.
Note: This look only works at a music festival. Do not try this outside of one.
LOOK #4: Extra Large Tattoos
I’ve never seen a tattoo this large in my life. Too bad I couldn’t ask him to take off his shirt to see what laid beneath — but you can assume from the edges that this is a full color portrait of a beach and the background sky. I noticed quite a few “full body” tats at Merriweather — maybe the new sleeve is the full back tattoo?
LOOK #5: Bad Cut-Off Denim
I hate to be critical. So really, this ISN’T me being critical — just making a style observation for the sake of this post. While cut-offs, or more hipster appropriate “jorts” have been popular all summer long, what I noticed at Freefest was the prevalence of BADLY CUT denim shorts.
Imagine this: someone wants a pair of cut-offs, but they’re not really sure how to make ’em. But they give it a [valiant] shot anyway, but unfortunately thanks to some diagonal cutting and failure to leave space for more attractive rolled-up cuffs, the denim shorts look, well, like you tore up a pair of jeans and threw ’em on despite your mother’s nagging voice that you look “trashy.”
Friends don’t let friends wear bad cut-off denim!
LOOK #6: Industrial Boots
I’ve been wanting a pair of industrial, utilitarian boots since my friend Sabrina over at A New Mode first started asking me to thrift a pair for her.
Thanks to some serious grass [the kind you walk on, kids!] plus walking, stomping and climbing during and between sets, rocking a pair of industrial boots on a warmer-than-warm fall day wasn’t such a bad idea.
LOOK #7: Shades, Shades, Shades
Andrea said it best when we were moving between the Yeasayer and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Heroes sets [yes, we saw both bands!] — “There are a lot of interesting sunglasses here.”
Note the emphasis on interesting. I say interesting because sunglasses can be NOT interesting — just the regular tortoise shell, Ray-ban rip-offs or aviator style shades. Nope, not those — what we saw were popping with color and design. Think electric bright lens [like the BOUGHT shades Leah is rocking above], polka dots, stripes, diamond-encrusted and bedazzled … if you could DIY ’em, all the better. The sun glare that day didn’t matter when you were staring on stage — cause everyone was wearing their own pair of stunna shades.
LOOK #8: Fanny Packs
Some hardcore fashionistas may argue with me for referencing fanny packs as “fresh.” Sure, they’ve already outlived their heyday in the hipsterdom of Brooklyn, but c’mon! We’re in Maryland here. Things are just a TAD slower than the big ole’ borough that is the BK.
Fanny packs were frequently spotted — including my own! [see below] A lovely gem from Rickshaw Bagworks, a San Francisco-based sustainable bag company that uses recycled materials for bags with limited carbon footprint.
And now for the grand style finale — the real trend that truly stands the test of time, place and yes, even the weather conditions: DANCING!
I put together this quick video highlighting the best of the best that was Virgin Freefest — the atmosphere, the audible levels, the action and the never-tired, always-fresh awesomeness that is hitting the road with friends for a weekend of rocking the best style there is: Having fun and being yourself.