Concert Uniform #5: Phish Show- Rain Edition

20130811-173123.jpg photo by russ simon

After the monsoons of Chicago, I had a few people ask me to write up a “What to Wear to a Rainy Phish Show” article for the upcoming three night Phish run on Labor Day Weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Please note that while I like to dress like some Punky Brewster/army brat reject, the rules apply to even the most basic of colors and pieces. When dressing for Phish, you prepare for war, blood, bile and all, especially Phish shows in late summer in Colorado. It rains here in the early evenings all the time, enough that most locals have complete rain outfits to wear to Red Rocks. Rain doesn’t stop the show, and it shouldn’t stop you. Bring a raincoat. A cheap poncho will do in a pinch, but the wind often makes them fly around. I have a great North Face rain coat that kept me dancing during “Boogie On” in Chicago this year. Things would have been rough without it. I also have a sequined lined jacket that works great in light rain, sequins = water rolling off a duck’s back.

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You can get the North Face jacket in almost any color here: best lightweight raincoat

The jacket I got from The Gap years ago in NYC, it was some limited edition holiday jacket. It can be turned inside out for when you want to be incognito, and if you ever see something like it, grab it. I’ve hunted eBay for a back-up to no avail ever since.

Besides rain, it can get chilly at night here, so bring a hoodie or light denim jacket. I usually buy hoodies from the merch table once I’m at the show if I like the design. I also have many ugly hoodies that I had to buy, so check out the merch beforehand, you might want to save fifty bucks and bring your own. I never need my jacket during the show, but it can be straight cold afterwards, so plan ahead and don’t be that complaining shivering person at the end of the night, people like to hang out for awhile.

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I often bring an army jacket instead of a raincoat if the temp is supposed to really drop, but you are usually fine with something more lightweight. Ziploc bags are a must, bring extras for everyone’s cellphones. In fact, bring a tarp! I don’t want to bring up CO tarping issues, but it makes a great roof for a group on the floor during a downpour.

Skirts and dresses used to be my go-to bottoms, but in an effort to carry smaller purses, I have embraced pockets and tend to wear primarily denim cutoffs, gotta love that fifth pocket. I bought the ones in the top pic from Venice Beach after the Hollywood Bowl show, they are pretty ridiculous, plain ones work just as well. I don’t like having pants on in the rain, so I’d do my best to have bare legs at potentially wet shows. You know when you use the bathroom and pull your wet bathing suit bottoms up and they don’t fit right? Forget getting sopping wet skinny jeans back on, it’s like that x1,000.

As for shoes, I have an in-depth blog linked below, but in a nutshell, I’m a closed toed shoe person. Many like flip-flops, then tossing them and going barefoot in the rain. I prefer either a thin canvas shoe that won’t get sucked off your foot, like slip on Vans, or my trusty Nike Air Max just because they have some decent stats and are so comfy (they get heavy when water logged, though). My other favorite option is boots, either durable leather ones that can have mud scrubbed off them, or rain boots. Rain boots get cumbersome though, throw some little flats in your bag for when it doesn’t rain at all so you aren’t stuck in them all night.

Also, don’t forget a hat with a brim. Whether it’s a straw hat or baseball cap, you need something to stop rain from splattering in your face. An extra trash bag to put your whole bag in is a great idea if it’s pouring, as well.

Lastly, Phish shows are T-Shirt Fashion Week. Wear your favorite, mine is this Bob Dylan/Misfits tank I found in San Diego:

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I almost forgot! My latest must-have rain gear! The dear friend who forced Phish on me until I liked em guessed correctly that I wasn’t able to keep a setlist journal during Chicago due to the rain. He pops up in Tahoe and gives me a new notebook with paper made of waterproof stone. The most thoughtful gift, and I got to give Tweezer not one, but two stars in it (as well as a too hasty Piper call):

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See past blog on shoes to wear to shows (as you can see, my VIP’s still reign supreme): Shoes for Shows

And past blog on Showpurses to finish the job: Showpurses

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Overalls – Back With a Vengeance

These Free People overalls are on the way:

20130613-112650.jpg I’ll take the dark and the acid wash

Now that it’s super hot, I inexplicably want jeans that have a heavy denim top connected to them. Overalls are looking great these days, all slim and chic, no more farmer’s daughter here! I think they look best with minimal tops (now is your chance to wear those crop tops you are too shy to wear on your own), cute chain jewelry, and wedges or flat strappy sandals with the legs rolled up. Here are a few styles that are on my wishlist:

Ok, these aren’t actually on my wishlist, I already ordered them. You can make your own with some large overalls and basic sewing skills:

20130613-113043.jpg cute dress overalls from Urban Outfitters

I’d wear a neon tube top and some Jordans with these and go breakdancing downtown, check those sweet zips!

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For when you want to look like the most stylin’ 6 year old on the playground:

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Church overalls:

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For more formal overall occasions:

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However, not all overalls are ok. Just say no to hooded, distressed, elastic waistband shortalls:

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As a bonus, here’s a blog of photos of women wearing overalls. Almost seems fetishy. Actually, after reading it for awhile it’s totally a fetish site run by an older guy. It takes all kinds!: women in overalls

Concert Uniform #4- Symphony with Bela Fleck

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So you think you might like to go to the show. Got your fancy symphony ticket but it’s the symphony with Bela Fleck, what level of fanciness do you bring? Personally, I take my regular concert uniform for mid level and arena shows (as discussed here) but I take the sequins away because have some respect! Now is your chance to wear some really cute wedges and platforms, but I try to stay away from regular high heels because these venues usually have tons of very thick carpeted stairs, I’m not a fan of walking like I’m in quicksand.

20130504-102211.jpg photo by russ simon

Here we have standard pieces of uniform #3, buttondown shirt (I’m a HUGE fan of denim shirts, they match everything and if someone spills a drink on you whatever, it’s a jeans shirt). Swapped the sequin mini for a cheap cotton one. I have zillions of these cotton skirts, never pay more than $9 for them. Some will ride up and be horrible, but most are slimming and great for dancing, just give the bad ones away, you are only out $7. My favorite place to buy these is club wear stores with names like Zazzi’s or something. This one is from H&M, and comes in seven million other colors. It rides up if you don’t wear tights but what do you expect for $5.95. Here it is in leopard print, I like this one with band t shirts, leopard print is a neutral now, wear it with anything: cheap tacky great skirt

Now the black tights are a constant for me in CO since the temp drops at night, but I also love them because I can be less ladylike and still climb over seats if I need to get past a security guard to sit in seats by your friends that are empty and closer. When you find some that work, buy them in bulk. I’ve got three go to pairs, cheap, medium price, and not cheap. Right now is not a good time to shop for black tights, but I usually like a denier of 80-100, they make them up to 200 in the winter. 40 is great for the summer, those H&M ones are comfy since they are cheap, the waistband isn’t tight. The Wolfords are beautiful and almost as thick as leggings but I snagged em the first time out, they are not indestructible. Luckily, I like snags. The jacket is from the Volcom store in Boulder from three years ago, I can’t find it online anywhere, but it’s perfect, Zara has similar.

This photo is actually a lie. I ended up tripping in those platforms right after that picture (old H by Halston wedges from Bakers) and wore these which are really cheap now for someone with a tiny foot: cheetah bootie

Also, I never wear these Aviators because they slide down my nose, but I tossed them on to copy this blogger a friend showed me who looks and dresses like my classier, prettier doppelgänger, check her out!: Happily Grey

As for the show, it was fantastic. The first act was various songs by Bach, DeBussy and Pat Methany, interpreted by Bela with great commentary regarding musical theory by the conductor, and some awesome marimba. The highlight was “The Landing” with full orchestra, a Futureman request. Second act was The Imposter, a 4 part piece that Nashville commissioned Bela to write. The audience was very reciprocative, and the awesome elderly season ticket holders shared their jokes with us. “VELCRO?? what a ripoff!!”

Shoes for Shows

I’ve been asked about the best shoes to wear at concerts by a few people, so I thought I’d show the ones I wear. There are quite a few schools of thought. Some go barefoot, flip-flops, sporty offroad style sandals, and then the closed toe shoes and socks people. I’m the third one, as I tend to get my feet stepped on a lot, and my bones get tired so I need some support. I LOVE flip-flops, lived in them year round in Texas, but they just don’t cut it when you need to jump over a barrier, one always falls off. Anyway, I don’t like wearing the same shoes day after day, so I’ve found lots of options. Below is an extremely long catalog of shoes I’ve worn to concerts that worked.

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Nike Air Max Sunrise – these are my VIP’s. They’ve seen 50+ shows, great support, good quality, and cute. In Charlotte this standard dirty hippie guy came up to me and said “excuse me, but are those the Air Max Sunrise? Well done!” and in Ohio a venue worker found them on her phone, she wanted them for work. That’s all the approval I need!

sold out, here are a bunch of other color combos though

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I’ve had a pair of checkered Vans in my arsenal off and on since I was a kid. Once you break in the back, these are the best. Cheap, you can toss them in the washer and dryer, and they match everything. These even stood up to the high tide coming up to our ankles at Jones Beach for Phish. Journey’s. I worked there when I was 16 and they were great to work for, thus I buy vans and tube socks there, they have a quota on socks that is tough to make.

checkered Vans

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The lace-up Vans are just as good. Since these come in men’s sizes, you will often meet a dude in the same shoes. This requires you to put your shoes next to each other, then do the Kid’n Play and high five. You will probably see this guy in two more cities and Kid’n Play each time. Journey’s as well.

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Jordans. This is when you want to make a statement. These are pricey shoes to be wearing in sticky arenas, by wearing white ones you are showing you are stupid and frivolous and do not care. When I wore them at SXSW, I got stopped multiple times to get my picture taken for streetstyle blogs. This did not happen in any other shoe. Sold out, eBay with inflated price

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These are for classier shows, where you will be dancing, but people will be older and in control of themselves, like a Medeski, Martin and Wood show or Spiritualized. These all live in their shoeboxes, and it’s taken years to collect. Whatever you do, take care of your shoes.

gold high tops

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Speaking of Red Rocks, it’s slanted, so I like to have a cowboy heel when I’m there. I’m obsessed with ankle boots that don’t make your legs stumpy. I liked these MIA boots so much, I bought both colors. If you like something, buy all the colors, you never regret those purchases. This style is no longer for sale, but these are similar and even better. That’s also a really good price!

MIA ankle boots

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If only they came in more colors.

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Since they don’t come in black, I wear these Vince Camuto Marcin boots. Softest leather I’ve ever felt, they are like wearing a slipper with spurs. They look really funny in the airport x-ray machine.

starting to get low on sizes

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Oh hey! The same boot in a Chelsea style in cheetah print! I had to wear thick ski socks for awhile breaking them in, they are great for running around on steps in the dark.

these were $60 when I bought them, keep your eyes open

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Speaking of running around in the dark, these are great for sneaking around quietly and quickly. However, they get demoted a point because they stain when someone spills their drink on you.

I like all of their stuff

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Here are their fancier cousins, these are so freaking fun for dancing. I thought they were stupid looking, but after I kicked around in them it was on. I can’t recommend these enough, they come in a ton of colors.

that color is no longer available, but these are pretty

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As we get further into taller boots, these get worn to metal shows and anything that’s going to get crazy. Buy Frye boots on eBay for much less, and you get the added bonus of someone else breaking them in.

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Final concert shoe. These are the best boots I’ve ever owned. Frye leather is awesome, if it already looks like they came from the Gold Rush, then they look good forever. Comfortable, cute, and warm, these are my go to for winter concerts.

I hope this helps at least one person, and keeps them from breaking a pinkie toe (happened in flip-flops), stepping on broken glass and bleeding everywhere (happened barefoot at a small outdoor venue), or getting tetanus (hasn’t happened). At a concert, you want to have fun and dance to great music, not complain that your feet hurt. Have fun out there!!

Concert Uniform #3 – Midlevel Dance Party- Arena Wear

20130402-110650.jpg photo by Russ Simon

Want to find me at a concert when I’m not working? I will be in some form of this outfit, maybe even this exact outfit itself! Concert clothes get grossed up,and I see no point in spending lots of money on concert clothes. This skirt is from Wet Seal, and most likely was no more than 7 bucks. It’s scratchy, it’s cheap, it’s stretchy, it’s perfect. Found out the hard way that you need to wear tights under it, but that’s ok because not only do they save you from thousands of tiny scratches, they keep the skirt in place! I always feel bad watching younger chicks pulling and pulling their little cotton miniskirt ever since they came back in style. Take a walk around the block, always test your stuff out before embarking on five hour dancing excursions! And size up, if it keeps pulling up, it’s too small. No shame in wearing the size that fits and looks good.

The shirt is a really thin linen one from The Gap, and I could kick myself for not buying every color. You get the look of the mismatched plaid without the heat of a flannel. Amazing. It’s not on sale but The Gap, bring this Slim Boyfriend Shirt back. You had it in red/white and blue/orange, too.

I lean towards ankle boots lately just because I’m a little moto and cowboy booted out, and spring is coming! These are awesome and I actually have them in three colors. The leather is soft like a slipper, be careful when taking them off at the end of the night (don’t grab by the heel),

Vince Camuto Marcin Bootie (on sale)

This outfit is so clutch that sometimes, it can even be used as workwear as long as I bring my camera bag (only one pocket with this outfit, must have showpurse ). I love my camera bag from Cheeky Lime, durable, simple, and people know there is camera stuff in there so it parts the sea like Moses.

Classic Red Camera Bag from Cheeky Lime

20130402-112448.jpg photo by Russ Simon

Concert Uniform #2 : Coffeeshop-type Venues

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Coffeeshop venues are so easy to dress for. Basically, you can wear what you want, your work clothes, date night clothes, or something like this. Obviously a plaid shirt is always a fall back, but this one is more fitted and buttoned all the way to the top, because the fashion blogs say that’s how we wear them now. almost cholo style, but buttoned to the very bottom. Great for showing off chunky shorter necklaces or a bowtie if you are daring.

I always wear jeans to singer/songwriter type venues. First off, it’s usually a bunch of high tables and stools, so you sit cross legged like a lady ( great time to wear heels, hook it on that lower rung for stability) or you have to sit kind of open legged like a man. I do the latter, so jeans it is.

As for shoes, rock those heels, wear your nice ones, even! These crowds are chill, there isn’t beer spilled everywhere. Only venue I will dare wear a pair of Jordans is of the coffeeshop venue variety, why not? It’s clean! Also, go ahead and bring your nicest purse, you’ve got that high table to flop it on (bonus if they have hooks under the table) and it never leaves your sight!

Doll up, go see some folk and Americana, come home and say “Hey ! My super high heeled boots didn’t hurt tonight!”

Festival and Concert Hair- for the Ladies

Fellas, this one is not for you, put a baseball cap on, grow some dreads, rock a bowl cut, no one is looking at you. Ladies, concerts are your time to look like a cute little fairy rockstar, and I have a couple cute suggestions that work for me. Many of you can put your hair in a ponytail and go. Something about the way I dance causes that ponytail to turn into a tangled rat tail, so I often go for pigtails since they lay lower and don’t tangle or smack people behind you in the face.

For the past few years, feather hair clips were a hot item. Now it’s all about the permanent streak of funky color. Here’s Selena Gomez rocking blue:

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Blue, purple or teal is great for brunettes, while blondes have been going for more pinks and corals. Blondes-a warning: pink dye loves blonde hair. The other colors tend to fade, but not pink, so make sure you really like the look before you get it done. Below is my hair. That’s about a year and a half of layering various colors so my hair wouldn’t fall out just because I wanted to look like a My Little Pony:

20130325-082701.jpg photo by Russ Simon

If physically destroying your hair for the sake of looking funky isn’t your thing, then you are in luck. Braids are HUGE and Pinterest has more tutorials than you can shake a stick at: Braid Hairstyles from Pinterest

Lastly, we have the flower headband which is big this year. In past years girls wore headbands around their foreheads, and I can’t stand them because they always make your hair do this:

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It makes the hair by your part all puff up weird and your head looks like a lightbulb. Seen this WAY too much. Instead, go for this. Much prettier look, doesn’t leave a line across your forehead, and who doesn’t like letting their inner flower child out when dancing at Red Rocks (or your local venue):

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Or if you are a next-level concert-goer, go big:

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Heck, combine em together and suddenly you are Drew Barrymore during her really good style years! Happy dancing, ladies!

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