Festival Dressing: Style pairings for summer’s hottest events


We don’t waste a single minute of summer around here. When the weather heats up and the days get long, we get our festival on! Whether your jam is comedy or country music, kid’s fun or the Blues, there’s a festival with your name on it. One of the things we love most about hitting the festival circuit is choosing an outfit to go with our favourite event. It’s always a great environment to try something new and show off your personal style. Here are a few of the festivals we can’t wait to hit this season (and the looks we plan to wear to each one!).

For the inner hippie – the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 9-13)
Five days, ten stages and over 50,000 of your closest friends…the Winnipeg Folk Fest has been spreading music and a sense of community in Birds Hill Park for over four decades. According to stylist Allana Schmidt of F2 Styling and Events, the most important consideration when festival dressing is choosing comfortable pieces in breathable fabrics. “Most festivals take place outdoors during peak temperatures in summertime, so being able to move freely in an outfit that promotes minimal-to-no sweat marks is so key!” This fun patterned tank and easy chambray skirt will keep you cool, while stylish yet functional accessories like an oversized backpack and sturdy wedge sandals will go the five-day distance.

For the theatre aficionado – the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival (July 16-27)
For two weeks in July, the Exchange District transforms into North America’s second largest Fringe Fest with hundreds of performances in comedy, theatre, improv and dance for festivalgoers of every age. Chic layers will take you from the office to dinner to the various performance venues right through to late night cocktails. Trying out a new trend like printed draped pants? Festivals are a great environment for taking style risks. But keep your own personality in the mix. Soft pants and a fitted cami are elegant with strappy heels, layered jewellery and small cross-body bag. Throw on a cardi to ward off overzealous air conditioning or a cool evening breeze as you ‘fringe’.

For the film buff – the Gimli Film Festival (July 23-27)
This historic harbor front town turns into a haven for film lovers when it hosts over a hundred film screenings over four days in July, including showing movies on the beach after the sun goes down. Tailored shorts and a light and airy button down blouse will take you from the film screenings to bumming around the town, as you cruise the boutique shops, enjoy an ice cream cone and soak up the summer sun. But don’t forget to stay true to your personal style. Says Schmidt, “A good rule to remember: Always personalize your outfits. Style is all about authenticity!”

For the small town girl at heart  - the Morden Corn & Apple Festival (August 22-24)
This quintessential rural Manitoba festival is packed with family fun from pancake breakfasts and parades to midways and historical tours, and of course…hot buttered corn and cold apple cider. A flirty and feminine strapless maxi dress will take you through a packed day at the festival, with plenty of sunshine on those bare shoulders (don’t forget the sunscreen!). A statement dress like this one in blue and white tie dye doesn’t need much in the way of accessories but a bold necklace adds an extra dose of personal style. Flat sandals finish the look.

According to Schmidt, a festival outfit should be more daring than an outfit you would otherwise wear in your day-to-day. But daring doesn’t always have to mean revealing. Go for brighter colours, flowy fabrics, rips in your denim, additional fringe, higher/lower heels, and unusual fabrics. They all make dressing for festival fun!

Which local festivals top your summer bucket list?

Visit these St. Vital Centre retailers to shop the looks:

Look #1 (Folk Fest)
Geo boho raceback tank: American Eagle Outfitters, $29.95
Chambray jean skirt: Buffalo David Bitton, $59
Black and wood wedges: Aldo, $80
Triangle necklace: Dynamite, $16.90
Gold and coral bracelets (each in a different set): Boes, $12 each set
Tortoiseshell sunglasses: Pearle Vision (Ray Ban), $169
Backpack: Spare Parts (Herschel), $95
Headband: Ardene

Look #2 (Fringe Festival)
White cami: RW&CO, $22.50
Polka dot flowy pants: Hudson’s Bay (Kensie), $59
Cardigan: Dynamite, $44.90
Black shoes with gold buckle: Call It Spring, $60
Gold necklaces (set of 2): Le Chateau, $25
Gold multistrap bracelet: Boes, $9
Clear bracelet: Buffalo David Bitton, $18
Double knuckle ring: Le Chateau, $9.95
Multi-coloured box purse: Boes (Nine West), $75

Look #3 (Gimli Film Festival)
Multi-coloured top: RW&CO, $55
Striped shorts: BCBGMAXAZRIA, $160
Black heeled sandals: BCBGMAXAZRIA, $289
Gold starfish bracelet: Le Chateau, $12.95
Pearl earrings (from set): Le Chateau, $9.95
Door knocker ring: Le Chateau, $9.95
Black sunglasses: Pearle Vision (Coach), $179.95

Look #4 (Morden Corn and Apple Festival)
Blue and white maxi dress: Hudson's Bay (Guess), $118
White flip-flops with gold medallion: Reitmans, $30
Gold branches necklace: Dynamite, $19.90
Gold multi-collection bracelets: Le Chateau, $18

*product availability may vary, please check stores for details.

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