D.C.’s summer concert and festival season is still in full swing. Check out Coburn’s tips for putting together a killer concert outfit this August — and how to stay adventurous with your wardrobe year-round.
Borders aren’t boundaries for Sandy Coburn, who has traveled as far as Iceland and England in recent years to revel in the refrains of her favorite rockstars. One of her superpowers is unearthing emerging artists with “cult-status followings” and artists on the cusp of stardom.
Another burgeoning superpower: Coburn’s creative and eclectic sense of fashion.
We sat down with Coburn to learn how she adapts her wardrobe for festival and concert season and tips for taming your summer concert style woes.
District Fray: How do you decide what to wear to a summer concert?
Sandy Coburn: It depends on the venue — if it’s outdoors or indoors — and the type of music. I dress completely differently for a punk show than for a DJ set. I also think about the audience. Having a fun look is always better when the crowd is high energy.
Do you have anchor pieces in your summer concert wardrobe?
I am 5-foot-3, so platform shoes, docs, heeled chucks and sandals all boost my height. My purple and pink balayage hair is part of my look. Everything else really depends on the show. I wear shorts and a tank for the heat for outdoor festivals. I do up my eyes for indoor shows — glow-in-the-dark glitter, stick-on jewels and iridescent or multi-colored sparkly shadow to stand out. The rest of my look may be a simple black tee and jeans, mesh tees, faux leather shorts or a dress meant for a rave. I’ve been in my jumpsuit era, which is pretty easy to put together and still stand out. I also have a sleeveless T-shirt dress with a silver and pink ’70s David Bowie print that makes a fairly regular appearance.
Have you noticed any trends among summer concertgoers?
I’m happy to see more emo fashion appearing at concerts. Y2K style is definitely everywhere right now; I see a lot more iridescent and neon colors at shows recently and multi-colored vivid hair colors. One thing about summer concerts is that people really love showing off their amazing tattoos. I always leave summer shows inspired to get more tattoos, though I wouldn’t consider tattoos a trend.
What advice would you give someone having trouble deciding what to wear?
Dress to express who you are. You don’t have to put together anything extravagant if that’s not who you are. Concerts are about a connection to music and how music connects people, and you should dress however you feel connected to that environment. For music festivals, dress to be comfy due to the heat and, potentially, sitting on the lawn. Also, check if the venue allows you to bring a bag. Many venues now have bag policies, but stadium venues won’t allow them, which may mean choosing a look with pockets.
How’s dressing for a day-long summer music festival different than dressing for a concert?
Festivals are marketed as places to put together a look, but they are so hot and messy that most people dress pretty simply. For stadium shows in the evening, you can wear something that stands out because a day of heat isn’t a factor. I often put together a look that’s a tribute to the band for stadium shows, so I’m wearing something that fits the performer’s style.
Should you wear the T-shirt of the band you’re seeing?
What summer concert accessories do you love?
For folks of all genders, I love seeing people in animal ears and light-up accessories. Mini-backpacks are fun. You gotta have a folding fan you can clap. For outdoor festivals, amazing sunglasses are a must. If you are putting together an easy look, these accessories elevate it to something fun.
What’s the best way to get adventurous with your summer concert wardrobe?
There is really no limit to what you can do. It’s always about the artist I am seeing and having a look that is an homage to their music. I look to music videos, album covers and even lyrics when considering my concert look. It’s a lot of fun if you go with friends to do a similar-themed look, and then you can have a pregame party to prep your looks together. But at the end of the day, fashion is all about self-expression, so don’t do anything that doesn’t fit with your personal vibe.
For more style tips and inspiration, follow Coburn on Instagram @sandy_coburn.
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