After two years of delays and postponements, concerts and music festivals are back, as is the ability to wear spectacular audience attire. Whether it’s wearing leather for a rock show or choosing a pop concert look that, well, pop, music events are a chance to ditch everyday style for more adventurous looks.
Before you perform with your favorite artists, polish your gig style with these tips from a New York-based stylist Gloria Cospito and stylist from New Jersey Amy Berenbak. Get ready for these outfits to be the star of the show.
Wear a group t-shirt in a fresh and fashionable way
Show you’re a fan of the artist and a fan of timeless style with a band t-shirt. No matter what concert you’re attending, the two stylists recommend customizing t-shirts with creative flair or DIY hacks. “Group t-shirts are great fun and give you leeway to [transform them] with just a pair of scissors,” says Cospito, noting that you can change the neckline, make it a crop top, or cut the fringes and bows with a few simple snips. To stock up on band t-shirts, consider the Merch by Amazon store, which features officially licensed shirts, sweatshirts, phone cases and more from a wide range of artists. We tested the line and found the Dolly Parton shirt to be comfortable and cute.
To style the must-have garment, wear it with leather shorts, as Berenbak recommends. While her favorite We Wore What pair is currently out of stock, try the Press Play Short at Free People for a similar style. They are available in black in women’s sizes from 0 to 14.
For a more modern version, replace shiny shorts with wide pants. “It looks like you’re not trying too hard, but you look really good,” Berenbak says of the “edgy cool” look, where the pants “elevate” the t-shirt. Take into account Madewell Harlow Wide Leg Pants for a versatile option that could go from desktop to arena. The best-selling style is available in women’s sizes 00-16.
Country concerts: put your heels in cowboy boots
Just as country songs go on pop radio, country singers like Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraces have recently imbued their stage costumes with pop-inspired glamour. “Country feels like it’s definitely changed over the past few years…but it’s always fun to include that typical or traditional country element,” Cospito says.
You can’t have more country than cowboy boots. Buy it Steve Madden Hayward Boots for an elegant take on traditional shoes. They’re available in five colors in women’s sizes 5 through 11. Cospito recommends pairing the boots with a matching white leather jacket and minidress.
Another country classic? Vests. “They’re just super sexy, but you can always make it more work-appropriate if you want to put something underneath,” says Berenbak, who suggests vests by designer Amanda Uprichard. Buy it x Quincy Revolve Vest in women’s sizes XS to XL.
For pop concerts: merging fashion and fandom
When it comes to pop gigs, think edgy, flashy [and] scintillating,” Cospito says, noting that some fandoms have recently made headlines for “going all out” with their looks. Harry Styles fans are among those making sure concert dressing isn’t the same “as it was” before the pandemic.
Don’t be afraid to play with the patterns, let the feathers fly or add some sparkle with a bra top like the Rhinestone Mesh Top at Urban Outfitters. After all, pop concert looks are all about “having fun and not being afraid to go above and beyond,” says Cospito.
The sparkly style comes in one size and can be layered with a plain tank top or a tee.
For a stylish ensemble, “bodysuits are amazing because they give this outfit a more streamlined look,” says Berenbak, who suggests pairing one with leather shorts and cowboy boots. She recommends Alix NYC, which sells a line of form-fitting clothing, including the Ivy Bodysuit. The trendy one-shoulder style is available in women’s sizes XS to L in burnt orange and white.
Like t-shirts, denim can be turned into a pre-gig project. “You could get denim pants and go to town in them creating tears [for] a bit of the distressed look,” says Cospito, adding that you can also add rhinestones with fabric glue or patches for a retro feel. “I feel like the ’60s is very much alive in all of these concert outfits, and you can really have fun with a pair of jeans and make them your own.” Shop second-hand jeans or get discounts from brands like Old Navy, which often have sales. Try styles such as the popular OG High Rise Straight Leg Jeansavailable in women’s sizes 00 to 30, for a blank canvas.
Alternative concerts: choose the style
Let fashion take center stage, so to speak, when creating an outfit for an alternative gig. Step away from costume territory and instead “go more haute couture, let it be your Vogue moment,” says Cospito, who recommends turning to bands like Haim as style muses.
Knit dresses are both elegant, “lightweight and comfortable,” says Cospito. Try it Katya Ruched Mini Dresswhich comes in a blue marble print in women’s sizes XXS to XL.
Complete the look with a combat boot, as Berenback recommends. Our tester recommends the Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal 8-Eye Boot for shoes that do not require breaking in. Buy it in women’s sizes 5-11.
Rock concerts: add style with leather and distressed denim
When it comes to rock n’ roll concerts, you’ll be ready to roll in a retro-inspired outfit. “We enter a glam rock [era],” says Cospito, with musicians such as Machine Gun Kelly leading the way in colorful looks.
Stock up on leather or “vegan leather”, looks like skirts, corsets or pants to add flair to your ensemble. For wide leg leather pants, consider the Star Cursed Lover’s Vegan Pants of the Free People. They are available in women’s sizes 0-14 in black, olive and brown.
If you prefer a sleeker, more form-fitting cut, opt for a bodysuit like the Faux Leather Scoop Neck Bodysuit in Skims. “The material is soft and stretchy, neither too thick nor too thin, these are quality pieces,” enthuses one reviewer of the style, which features an undergarment bottom. It is sold by the Kim Kardashian-owned brand in sizes XS to 4X for women.
Festivals: watch and stay cool all day
While festivals were once known for their bohemian styles, the dress code has shifted to “more fashionable street style” in recent years, says Cospito. But with a long, hot day ahead, you’ll want to consider function in addition to fashion. Sleek sports trainers such as Vejas, which we tested and loved, as did Berenback and Meghan Markle. Buy it Veja V-12 Trainers in women’s sizes 40 to 47.
When it comes to dressing for outdoor festivals, think about trendy styles that you can easily cool off in. “Incorporate swimsuits…that you could sweat all day and feel good about,” says Cospito. Put it on Always fits one piece from Good American for a swimsuit that doubles as a stylish bodysuit. We’ve tested the brand’s denim and love its style and quality. Buy the costume in women’s sizes XXS to 5XL.
In addition to swimwear, consider casual dress options like the Island French Terry Halterneck Dress by Fabletics. The lightweight style, part of the label’s collab with Vanessa Hudgens, is perfect for summer gigs and days at the beach. It is available in four colors in women’s sizes XXS to 4X.
For any show: keep your belongings safe with concert-ready designs
Since many sites don’t allow large bags, consider packing your goods in a clear fanny pack instead of a purse or backpack. The Clear Veckle Belt Bag is a bestseller on Amazon, with 4.5 stars from over 4,500 reviews. “Ideal for gigs where a clear bag is required,” writes one reviewer.
For another storage solution, forgo bags altogether by investing in a pocketed bra. Sports bras such as the Tracksmith Allston Pocket Bra have a pocket big enough to fit your phone, credit card or keys. Shop it in four colors in women’s sizes XS to L.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.