The How-To for Coachella 2011

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by Mia Hanekamp, Allegra Dimperio, Heba Elorbany, and Emily Connor

Tomorrow marks this year’s opening day of the annual three-day festival of music and art held in Indio, California. But there’s a lot more to festivals than what is actually being showcased. Whether you’re jetting off to California, streaming live online, or just thinking ahead to Lollapalooza, the MODA staff is here to give you the ins and outs of staying smart and chic at this festival. (MH)



In Indio, California, the days are sweltering hot and the nights can get pretty chilly. Here are some tips on how to stay stylish while making it through the weather, the crowds, and everything in between. My theme? Layers, layers, layers!

On Top

Shirts: In the morning, go for light fabrics in loose-fitting tanks and tees. This will keep you from getting as sweaty as you would with a tighter shirt and will allow for layering later in the day. For additional layers, bring light tank tops, camisoles, and tees to wear underneath your morning attire. I personally love Banana Republic’s tanks and camisoles. They’re not too fitting, but they won’t bulk up underneath clothing. And, most importantly, they are breathable and light.

Jackets: Be sure to bring light jackets or cardigans that can be folded up and thrown into in your bag in the morning. I love patterned and cropped jackets in neutral and bright tones. For the cutest spring jackets, check out Not feeling the jackets? Try a scarf or a pashmina! Wear it around your neck or your waist in the morning, then as a shawl at night to keep warm.

Not only does layering allow you to adjust to cool nighttime temperatures, but it also allows you to mix and match basics for endless possibilities so you’re always sporting a new look!

Down Below

Shorts: While denim shorts are always in style and easy to match with a variety of tops, you might want to toss them for festivals. Instead, try lighter fabrics in neutral tones, stripes, or even large floral patterns.  For fun, light shorts to wear to this event check out J. Crew’s broken-in boyfriend chino shorts.

Pants: Instead of denim, choose lighter fabrics such as linen or cotton. Also, try to stay away from wearing your tightest fitting pants, as that might not be the most comfortable or weather appropriate option for the morning.  Additionally, try to stay away from wearing black pants. Instead, go for tan, white, or brown tones.

Leggings: It seems that leggings are so easy to pair with such a large variety of outfits, but think about how much heat they would absorb! It would be an uncomfortable nightmare. However, if you do plan on wearing a dress in the morning, leggings would be an excellent and quick addition at night to keep you warm.

Skirts: Maxi skirts are very stylish this spring, which is perfect since they will be long enough to keep you warm at night but airy enough to help you stay cool in the morning. For great maxi skirts at low prices, try H&M (Giselle is modeling a fabulous one for just $9.95 at!)

Dresses: In addition to maxi dresses, short dresses in big floral patterns are great for this event. Make sure that the fabric is comfortable and light and that the dress is long enough that you can move. For beautifully breathable short and maxi dresses, I love H&M and Urban Outfitters.

For the Guys

If the girls are being conscientious about Coachella fashion, so should you! Tees and shorts are fine, but consider these tips as well.

Linen and Cotton Jackets: Leave your heavy blazers at home, gentlemen. For a chic alternative, try cotton and linen jackets and sport coats.

Sheer Button-Downs: Layer these on top of your morning tees at night. They’re easy to pack and easier to wear.

Light Tees and Shorts: Just like the ladies, you’re going to want to stay away from heavy materials. Lucky Brand and H&M have amazingly light tees for men. (HE)



While the festival presents an opportunity to see and be seen, it comes with the added challenge of looking good while being somewhat practical. As fly as those spike heels are, you’ll raise eyebrows for the wrong reasons when your shoes get stuck in the grass. And while its important to have a bag to carry all your essentials, you’re really not going to want to be the girl clutching the huge purse while everyone else is dancing. So how can you accessorize for Coachella while still looking great? By using pieces that are both fashionable and functional (trust me, they do exist).


Finding appropriate footwear for festivals is of the utmost importance. Standing, dancing, and walking on uneven surfaces for hours can be draining in even the most comfortable shoes – sadly for us, cute shoes tend to err on the uncomfortable side. Luckily, sneakers have entered a new era, and while they won’t make your legs that extra mile long, they will enable you to tear up the grounds.

Keds, Toms, and Converse have branched into aesthetically pleasing sneaks, and the higher end designers also have versions out.  While you could opt for gladiators instead of sneakers, you’ll both risk your pedicure and a broken toe, and a serious foot washing will be necessary. If you’re camping out, sneakers are really the only option.

The Bag

Then comes the bag. Because women’s pockets are notoriously small, having a bag to carry your cell and cash is a must. When purses won’t work and backpacks are bulky, crossbody bags come to the rescue.

The bag is perfect for concerts as it won’t slip off your shoulder or add bulk that bashes in to your neighbor. Worn like a messenger bag, crossbody bags come in varied styles and sizes and are available almost everywhere. Target sells a cute floral one for $10, Urban Outfitters has a funky leather horse blanket style for $50, and Marc by Marc Jacobs sells a bright yellow version of the Classic Q for $198. The bigger the bag the more you can haul, but your festival bag shouldn’t hold much more than your cash, cell, and water bottle.


On to headgear. It will be hot at Coachella, and no matter how dainty you are you will get sweaty. A good way to avoid that drenched look is to have your hair pulled back from your face. This also does a huge service to fellow festival-goers as there is nothing worse than a stranger’s sweaty hair on your bare skin.

If throwing your hair up in a plain black hair tie doesn’t appeal to you, there are several alternate ways to pull it back. Cloth headwraps are one style-conscious way of taming hair and are more forgiving than metal headbands. Whether you like braided, animal print or styles with bows there is a headwrap to match every outfit. Scarves are another way of keeping hair back, but that look takes a little more finesse to pull off. Play with hair accessories until you find your perfect Coachella look. (AD)



When camping out in less than ideal conditions, the two most important rules to remember when packing grooming essentials are size and SPF. With such limited space, only the essentials should be used, and the smaller the better. Sunscreen is an absolute must, but any product containing SPF is helpful for avoiding sun damage. Here are some helpful tips and products when camping out at the Coachella Music Festival.


Face: Minimalistic makeup is best when outside for long hours in the heat. To avoid melting foundation, use a tinted moisturizer, which will provide light color and SPF protection. To avoid buying an entirely new product, just mix a small dab of liquid foundation with your regular moisturizer. Try Neutogena Oil Free Moisture face lotion, $12 and Covergirl Natureluxe Silk foundation, $13

Eyes: Use waterproof mascara to keep eye makeup in place even through sweat and moisture. Skip the eyeliner. In harsh sunlight, too much makeup can look unnatural and heavy. Instead, press the mascara wand against the base of the lash line to slightly tint the lid for a liner-like effect. Try Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara, $10

Lips: Use tinted lip balms instead of glosses or lipsticks. They will stand up better against the weather, and they can also double as a cream blush in a pinch. Try Neutrogena Revitalizing Tinted Lip Balm with SPF 20, $6

Washing: Use makeup remover wipes if a sink is unavailable to use regular face wash. And instead of packing eye makeup remover, just put a small dab of face lotion on a cotton swab and gently remove eye makeup. The SPF will also be helpful around the delicate eye area, which can be especially prone to sun damage. Try Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, $8.50


Hair: When showering time is limited, both girls and guys can use a dry shampoo to soak up grease along the hairline. And if you are really in a pinch, use baby powder instead. Try Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, $5.50

The Guys: Travel size grooming products are widely available. Guys should focus on the essentials, like shampoo, body wash and deodorant. If deodorant still can’t mask the smell brought on by heat, travel size body sprays are available as a last resort. Try Axe 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner, $7.50 and Axe Travel Size Body Spray, $2.50

Mouth: Because access to regular bathrooms and showering space can be limited, be prepared for the worst. Bring travel size mouthwash if brushing is an impossibility. Another wise investment would be travel size hand sanitizer to avoid any messy situations. Try Crest Multi Protection Pro-Health mouth rinse, $1.30 and Walgreens mini hand sanitizer $1.30 (EC)