The arrival of spring doesn't just mean posing on the ‘gram in your best sundress at the park. Most importantly, it means music festivals — including the granddaddy of them all, Coachella — are almost here! Yup, get prepared for tons of flower crowns, glitter, and boho-chic to clog up your social media feeds soon.
Since music festivals have such a strong impact on millennial fashion and culture, Nicola and I decided it was time to try out our best Coachella looks. That meant throwing away our standard head-to-toe New York City black and going for laid-back, skin-baring florals, as well as facing some serious fashion and body image fears.
Here's how we attempted to embrace festival fashion, minus the cultural appropriation that plagues festival season every. single. year.
Watch our festival transformations video and keep scrolling for more photos and how we edited our looks to be more respectful of all cultures.
Nicola, who is a size 14 in jeans, admitted Coachella style is too colorful for her. Plus, she's not down with all the cultural theft music festivals are known for.
As a size 8/10 in jeans, I knew I wouldn't face the same limitations on finding festival fashion, but I did feel somewhat out of place as a Black woman in a white space.
Look, I KNOW there are POC at music festivals, but they're usually few and far between. I was excited to try festival style, since, like Nicola, I exclusively wear all-black, but I was also hesitant because I wish I saw more people who looked like me at those festivals.
The first look Nicola recreated was singer Maggie Lindemann's bright yellow outfit.
Nicola loved Lindemann's pose because it personified Calabasas cool. "Look, Maggie Lindemann knows that her game is to get in, hit her poses, and get out. Might not be my style but at least she’s proud of her extra-ness," she said.
Although Nicola was nervous to try on this VERY bright outfit, she was actually surprised at how much she loved it!
"I was very afraid of the yellow in this outfit, but once I discovered how comfortable it all was, I forgot all about it," she said. Nicola liked the simple color palette of this outfit, which was a good start to getting her out of her comfort zone.
Since she's about 5'11," she was excited to find the length of the shorts were great.
Yellow shorts ($20, Old Navy)
"The shorts were just high-waisted, baggy, and long enough — which is a rarity for someone my height," she said.
She also understood the functionality of carrying a fanny pack. "Lightweight and hands-free storage is a must in an environment like Coachella, so I was a FAN," she exclaimed.
After posing in the bold colors, Nicola revealed the new look was growing on her.
"What made this color work for me was the fact that it was monochromatic. The reason I wear so much black is because it guarantees you won’t clash colors," she said. "That being said, I guess I could wear something similar to this, but maybe in a tone that’s a little more complementary to my pale skin."
Next, Nicola recreated Coachella Queen Vanessa Hudgens' boho look, and BOY, was she not thrilled about it.
"Vanessa’s style is also completely different than mine, and her Coachella style is what influences the entirety of Coachella style to begin with," she explained. "She’s certainly way too boho for my taste and therefore, I was not excited." Begrudgingly, Nicola suited up in a sea of florals.
Although Nicola KILLED this recreation, she still felt out of her all-black element.
She wouldn't wear this outfit for myriad reasons: "The denim shorts, floral top, and lace throw were all things high school Nicola would’ve worn, and I don’t know her anymore," she said. "She was confused and had no idea what her style was."
Rather than rolling it up into a crop top, Nicola chose to wear her top at its regular length as a personal stylistic choice.
"At the end of the day, though, I was glad we went with a longer top because I just wouldn’t want my stomach hanging out like that in such a crowded and muggy environment," she explained.
"For someone whose entire brand revolves around luxury cars and body-con dresses, Kylie’s take on music festival fashion was shockingly laid-back," Nicola said.
Nicola was a fan of the outfit. "First and foremost, it was black," she said. "Also, it was very flowy and totally appropriate for sweating outdoors and walking around a lot." BLESS.
The fanny pack made a comeback again for Nicola in this Kylie Jenner look.
Nicola LOVED the goth flower crown, even if it was a little extra.
Black flower crown ($10.99, Amazon)
"It was superfluous and maybe a little obnoxious," she said. "But I could definitely see myself taking it home and wearing it for… special occasions?"
Overall, Nicola felt comfortable in the look. "In fact, it was the one outfit I didn’t immediately want to change out of," she said. EUREKA!
As someone who prefers to be more covered up during the summer, I fell in love with the long black lace duster.
What I DEFINITELY disagreed with was the choice of footwear.
Then it was time to recreate this Alessandra Ambrosio look, which had me shaking in my boots.
As someone who does not fully fit the Eurocentric ideals of beauty, I was nervous at the thought of mimicking a supermodel who I admire, but don't exactly look like. After all, even off the Victoria's Secret runway, Alessandra Ambrosio can effortlessly command a room (or a music festival in this case). To compare myself to such an esteemed model would take a LOT of guts, and so recreating her style was frankly a mental workout.
This dress was definitely more low-cut than anything I would wear.
Ambrosio's top was a little bit too revealing for me, so I went with a more covered-up version.
I thought Ambrosio's top was beautiful, but I didn't think I was ready to walk around with that much exposed. The color ended up surprising me — after being so loyal to the color black, I was surprised this beige worked on me!
Once again, I was self-conscious about the length of the shorts.
Shiny shorts ($9.99, Amazon)
Sigh. I thought by the last look I wouldn't feel so self-conscious about exposed skin, but it still made me nervous. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable wearing these out in public, but it was good to know that I could wear them and the studio wouldn't burst into flames.
The flower crown was MASSIVE, so I was surprised I could slay in it.
Purple flower crown ($10.99, Amazon)
When I took the flower crown out of the packaging, I started having a mini-panic attack. HOW in the WORLD was I going to fit this wreath on my head? But in the end, it somehow really helped bring this look to another level, so I guess you need to take a "more is more" approach when it comes to music festival flower crowns!
Just like with the Kendall-inspired look, I thought the bold duster was a good way to keep the outfit from baring more skin than what I was comfortable with.
Sequin duster ($59.95, Amazon)
It would take a very brave soul to wear shorts that tight and shiny, so I felt the white duster was a good way to still channel my inner unicorn without completely sacrificing my comfort level. I would definitely wear the outfit again, but maybe with long blue leggings instead?
FINAL THOUGHTS: Although we weren't ready to take all of the fashion risks that our celebrity personas did, Coachella fashion helped us see how we can slay several festival trends regardless of our size or race.
By the end of the shoot, Nicola and I felt like we had been smothered in flower crowns, glitter, and lots of color, but it still taught us a lot. For Nicola, it helped her realize that she could slay in brighter colors, although she noted the celebrity straight-size looks were challenging to pull off.
"Plus-size women are certainly better off sticking with clothing they feel best suits their bodies and makes them comfortable," Nicola mused, "rather than trying to meet an impossible ideal of ease and style in a messy, outdoor setting."
Meanwhile, I had originally thought mimicking the style of a sample-size, non-Black supermodel was kind of intimidating, but by the end of the shoot, I realized that recreating a celebrity Coachella look wasn't about how I measured up to them. It was about realizing that there isn't one "ideal" Coachella style, look, size, or ethnicity.
So as you gear up for music festival season, do it YOUR way. Whether you feel more comfortable in all black long sleeves or a colorful bikini, just know that there is no wrong Coachella look. (Well, except for cultural appropriation. Let's keep that off the table, OK?)