Summer Music Fashion Festival

Hooray for summer! Finally, after all those months of cold weather where it seemed as though heavy coats and wool sweaters would forever be a part of our wardrobe, we are seeing temperatures rise high enough that we can dare to show off a bit of leg, or shoulder, or perhaps a touch of midriff. One of the most fantastic aspects about living in Indianapolis in the summer is the wide array of outdoor concerts that are available. Looking through the lists from the many different venues around town, one can easily find something to satisfy almost any musical palette.

The challenge, of course, is that when one is dropping anywhere from $10 to $200 on tickets for their favorite show, one doesn’t want to be caught wearing the same ol’ beer-stained grunge as everyone else on the lawn. No, you are way too cool for that. Fortunately, we’ve put together some ideas to help you find ensembles that will be cool, comfortable, and fashionable no matter which music genre fills your summer weekends.

FestivalFashion_001Let’s start with Country. Hey now, we’re not going to tolerate any snobbery here. Country music is one of the strongest-selling genres in the market and when Tim McGraw hits Klipsch Music Center this weekend there’s no doubt the lawn will be packed and rowdy. There are a number of very high-profile Country acts hitting town this summer and if you are going to any of them one thing is very important: don’t forget the boots. Having grown up in Oklahoma cowboy country, we never really looked at boots as a fashion statement. If one slipped their foot into a pair of Justins or Ropers, chances were more likely that they were about to go slogging through a muddy pasture looking for the cow that had calved during the night. This summer, though, having a well-styled pair of boots is the key to a good, fashionable Country look.

The other aspect is denim, and fortunately for you denim is everywhere this summer. We chose a denim vest over a dress from Boho Pretty with the skirt tied at the calf. Why a dress? Because a skirt is going to be infinitely cooler and more comfortable, especially if you’re stuck in the sun on the lawn. Wear tight jeans for hours on end in summer heat and you’re just asking for a rash. Top the look with a hat, any hat, because its trendy and helps prevent melanoma. Accessories from Six boutique complete the look.

FestivalFashion_006When outside for hours like this, you’ll want to keep your makeup light. Don’t go heavy on eye color, you don’t need it! Just a bit of shimmer and a matte pink lip keep your look soft and fun. Keeping the hair down is just fine for these situations, though you may want to make some adjustments depending upon the style hat being worn. If wearing your hair down doesn’t work, we would suggest trying a nice braid.


FestivalFashion_002Certain to be a big hit at White River State Park this month is singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne on the 13th. Folk/Americana music has seen a tremendous resurgence in the past five years and its popularity is at the highest its been since the late 1960s. This comfortable, easy, heart-felt style of music has a strong multi-generational appeal, which means one is likely to find their parents sitting across the lawn from them partying in ways you didn’t know they were capable of partying.

Again, we suggest wearing a dress for events like this, and one probably wants to pack a blanket. Unlike the heavier sounds of rock, pop, and country, folk music gives concert attendees a change to actually sit and just listen peacefully to the music every once in a while. Dresses like this one from Boho Pretty provide plenty of room to sway and dance in the grass, or sit casually on a blanket with a picnic basket. You’ll want to be careful in your choice of fabrics, though, to make sure whatever you are wearing can breathe. Summers in Indiana tend to be a bit humid and silks are especially bad about perspiring, then staining. Also consider going with brighter colors. We really like the peach/orange pieces that are on trend for this season.

FestivalFashion_007I fully expect to see a lot of bob cuts from older folk in the crowd, but the younger set thrills me with their neo-hippy leanings, and long hair in a gentle side pony tail seems to be the perfect touch to go with this look. You might want to go with a more glossy lip for this one, to give you more of a pop, and just a touch more color on the eyes. Accessories from Forever 21 do a good job of completing the look.


FestivalFashion_003Warped Tour rolls into town July 3, and all through the summer it seems there is a pop concert of some kind just about every weekend. I think I even saw Avril Lavigne and the Backstreet Boys arriving here mid-June. You’ll have to hit these without me, I’m afraid. Not only are my bones too old, my ears are just not as tolerant of this genre any more. I’m chalking it, reluctantly, to a requisite of old age. Parents are never supposed to like the same music as their children, are they?

Critical to dressing for crowded and often rowdy events like this is keeping the look attractive, on theme, and simple. This is not the time to put together an ensemble with 17 different pieces to it!  This grey jersey dress from Boho Pretty is perfect in a number of ways. Not only is it going to stay cool, but the material is going to stretch and give you plenty of room to dance, gyrate, and even twerk should the mood strike. A soft, cotton-based material like this is also going to be more likely to absorb spills without staining, an important factor when one is surrounded by strangers who may or may not have had eight or nine beers too many. We accessorized with long strings of beads from Forever 21, which can be a lot of fun, but one may want to slip them off and into a clutch of the crowd starts getting a bit intense.

FestivalFashion_013A bit of glitter on the eyes, along with some black eye liner, seems quite appropriate for this style. A glossy berry shade on the lips gives a darker look without falling over into anything too goth. Hair up in a low, messy bun is practical, cool, and right on trend for this summer. Keep the whole look cool, fresh, and comfortable and you’ll have a good time.


FestivalFashion_004Rock takes a “classic” turn this summer with a number of bands going on what I would have to consider their Geritol tours. I mean, really, if these guys were playing sold-out arenas when I was a kid one has to assume that there is some manner of dark magic keeping them on their feet. Kiss, Journey, Motley Crue, Steve Miller, and Def Leopard are just a few of the acts that have either managed to find new audiences or are playing to my contemporaries who, in a strange turn of events, promised their children they wouldn’t stay out past curfew. I hope there are medics by the dozen standing by as aged vertebrae crack when attempting to lift a girl onto one’s shoulder just like we did 40 years ago.

The Boho Pretty top shown here is one I’ve already seen on the streets a couple of times this season and I think it is a great choice for these hot, loud, raucous, anything-goes concerts. Cool, loose, and with a potential for the uninhibited, the sleeveless top and denim shorts combo is as classic as the music on the stage. This is Indiana, though, so one might want to keep a jacket handy for after dark. Even on into late June and July the nights can get a bit cool. Keep your footwear sensible. This is not the time for heels, or anything that might hold liquids. Accessories from Six boutique are especially sharp with this look and are a large part of what separates how you dress for this concert from what Crazy Aunt Jenny will be wearing.

FestivalFashion_009One wants to keep that hair down, loose, lightly curled, and bouncing all over the place for these events. Feel free to smudge the black eye liner a bit, especially if the guys on the stage are wearing more makeup than you. A dark cherry lip sets just the right tone, separating you from the 60-year-old groupies who are still using the same shade of candy apple  red they had in 1974. These concerts are likely to be the last for many of these groups, so have a good time and if you come across an old man stumbling around with his cane, feel free to help Jagger to the nearest exit.


FestivalFashion_005Finally, there is a host of R&B/Hip Hop acts coming through town this summer. The legendary George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic hit The Vogue on June 26 and Mr. Blurred Lines himself, Robin Thicke, comes to the Fairgrounds Coliseum in August. Earth, Wind & Fire and Pitbull are on this summer’s schedule as well. Indy surprises visitors with its strong taste for Jazz and R&B and even when there’s not a national act in town there is no shortage of fantastic live music at places such as the Slippery Noodle and The Jazz Kitchen. If you want tickets for one of the major acts of this summer, one would be strongly advised to purchase those quickly before they are long gone.

For these events, we chose a sleeveless multi-colored top from Boho Pretty over a pair of well-fitting jeans and, don’t forget this part, a lovely summer fedora. If anything, the hat may be the most important part of the ensemble as it elevates most any look to the necessary level of coolness required for an R&B show. Finding one’s groove is almost impossible without a cool hat and they are such a strong trend for this season that finding them has never been easier. The parent in me recommends writing your name in the head band, but that is a personal choice.

FestivalFashion_015This is a good time to add more color to your eyes. After all, you want a look that is as bold and strong as the music. There’s no reason to back off or be shy here. A rich burgundy lip as seen here is also a nice touch, smooth, sensual, and sexy as the sound of a wailing saxophone. A low pony tail keeps long hair out of your way without interfering with that all-important hat.


With so very many music options coming through town this summer, I don’t find it the least bit unreasonable to design your entire summer wardrobe around the events you plan to attend. So many choices, so many styles of music, and even more that we didn’t have time to mention. Indianapolis is blessed with an incredibly strong music scene and I would really question one’s sanity, and possibly even one’s humanity, if you go all summer without taking advantage of some of the opportunities available here.

Where ever you go, whatever type of music you enjoy, remember that it is summer. Comfort rules. Don’t wear spikey heels if you’re going to be on the lawn all afternoon. Don’t wear silk in temps above 85 degrees. Don’t be afraid of hats and other cool accessories. This is a fantastic time! Dress for the pleasure of summer music!

Photo credits:
Model: Laura (L Modelz)
Photography: charles i. letbetter
Makeup: Danelle French
Hair: Anthony Perez
Styling: Nativa
Photography assistance: James Thorpe

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