Your 7-point guide to dressing for a festival

Singer Flo Morrisey at Port Eliot
Singer Flo Morrisey in Chloé at Port Eliot Credit: Instagram/chloe

Somewhere within the Wardrobe Department's dahlia edged walled garden at Port Eliot festival it became even more apparent that wellies and an anorak are no longer enough to pack for a weekend camping.

The Cornish site’s high fashion tents, which saw the model Warren sisters flounce around in designs from Marques'Almeida and Michael Halpern, and Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller discuss her career with Sarah Mower, might seem like an anomaly to those who have braved the Glasto mud. But, this weekend’s Wilderness festival, held in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside, promises just as much flora, fauna and considered fashion. As someone who has attended the ‘creative celebration’ for the last two years, I can tell you that people take it very seriously. Yes, there are still sequins and glitter, but the bespoke designs will have been carefully ‘curated’ by the make-up artists on-site.

Those with tickets to Portmeirion’s Festival No.6 in September will not be able to escape the boutique dress code either. So, to avoid looking underdressed or too outré while quaffing prosecco in the craft tents, here’s what to pack.

‘Normal’ clothes

Boutique festivals don’t eliminate the amount of schlepping back and forth between tents, bars and stages. Your failsafe denim, Breton and weekend wear will come into its own during the day, meaning that not only will you feel comfortable but you will look like yourself. Consensus among the fashion pack at Port Eliot was that ‘underdressed’ is the new festival code. Dress as you would going for Sunday brunch, and you’ll nail it.

The whimsical dress

Don’t worry, we’re not about to go all airy fairy on you. Amidst the light layers, waterproof jacket and wet wipes, it’s worth packing something fluid and flow-y to flounce around the festival in (should there be a heatwave). This could be an embroidered blouse with voluminous sleeves, a broderie anglaise dress or maxi with unusual print. Team with hard-edged accents (leather jacket, ankle boots) to counterbalance the bohemia. Chloé creative director Clare Waight Keller teamed her botanical maxi with well-worn Puma trainers at Port Eliot and traversed the gap between looking put-together and try-hard like a pro.

The slip dress

Unlike the whimsical dress, which you will most probably wear once, a slip dress will become your failsafe layering tool over the weekend. Wear your Breton or band tees underneath, and tie a jumper or shirt around the waist. You can peel off or add on the layers as the temperature varies.

The beaten up kicks

Unless the fields have turned into a literal mud swamp there is no need to wear wellies. Instead pack a couple of pairs of trainers. Converse high-tops will never date, while adidas Gazelles are currently enjoying a moment in the spotlight. The best part? You can throw your kicks in the washing machine when you get home.


Britain has been known to enjoy balmy climes during festival season. Should such luck happen, your feet do not want to be encased in trainers. Pack a pair of Nike, Hunter or adidas slides (which are customisable - see below), which are lightweight, wipe-clean and durable. They will also come in handy when tottering around the lake, more on which below.

The long-sleeved swimsuit

Lake swims might seem like an utterly idyllic proposal, but the reality can involve something we have technically named ‘pond slime’. To avoid too much contact with the elements, pack a long-sleeved swimsuit. Lisa King’s vibrant one-piece, as worn by Kylie Minogue in Portofino, will ensure you nod to the festival fever.

Jewellery to layer

Avoid the itch to pin flowers in your hair by layering choice jewellery instead. Delicate stacking necklaces and bracelets will look chic against broderie anglaise, while eclectic gems can find a home on fluid maxis. Don’t worry about leaving your family jewels in your tent, pack costume items that will look interesting when layered, and ones that you won’t mind getting a little grubby. 21-year-old singer-songwriter Flo Morrisey’s stacking gems add a sophisticated point of interest to looks, and make a welcome contrast to glittery make-up.

With beautiful @flomorrissey thank you for the music 💚 and your sweet soul 💚 #portelliot #festival #cornwall

A photo posted by Clare Waight Keller (@clarewaightkeller) on

For holiday packing advice, see our ultimate six item guide