There’s something special about festival fashion. It gives you a license to get a little wild, a little weird, and get out of your comfort zone with over-the-top maximalist fashion that might feel a little, well, over-the-top for day-to-day life. There’s something freeing about wearing things like bikinis as tops and sequins in the daytime, and having it not only be accepted as the norm but celebrated. There’s also a liberating aspect of rejecting the societal strictures of what we “should” and “shouldn’t” wear, especially when it comes to size — I saw more plus babes in crop tops this Governor’s Ball than I have in ages, and they all looked amazing.
Of course, there’s the added element of creativity that comes in when figuring out how to express your personal style while keeping the practical considerations of festivals in mind. For long days with unpredictable weather; far-flung stages; and lots of standing, sitting on the ground, and dancing, you need clothing — and, even more importantly, shoes — that is going to be durable and comfortable enough to get you through it all.
So with all that in mind, I set out to put together three plus-size looks that merge style, self-expression, and comfort for this year’s Governor’s Ball and the festival season ahead.
Plus-Size Festival Outfit Day 1: Metallics
For the first day of the festival, I knew I wanted to go with liquid metallics. This is one of my favorite fashion trends of 2023 and a natural fit for festival fashion. I almost went with a silver bikini top from the Gabi Fresh for Eloquii collaboration, but something — maybe the Scandoval-driven resurgence of Scheana Shay’s “Good As Gold” — had me reaching for this cut-out one-piece from the collection instead.
I paired it with faux leather-accented shorts from Abercrombie (one of my favorites for plus-size denim lately) and my beloved gold cowboy boots. And, for a day where the headliner was none other than Lizzo, I wanted to incorporate something from the artist’s clothing brand Yitty. The rain in the forecast made this lightweight windbreaker the obvious choice, and one I was really happy to have made when the skies drenched us during the Kim Petras show. (For the earlier sets, before the ground had turned to mud, it also came in handy as a makeshift blanket for sitting on.)
But the unexpectedly dual-purpose piece that truly saved the day was the Pretty Connected mask chain I brought to hold the KN95 mask I was wearing as a result of the smoke from the Canadian wildfires. When the air quality fell back into the “good” range, I stowed the mask and the chain in my bag. It wasn’t until the strap on my swimsuit snapped during some vigorous dancing that the gold chain returned as a shockingly effective strap replacement thanks to the large clasps on each end. Even when I found myself jumping up and down with abandon again during Lizzo’s incredible set, it kept everything where it was meant to be.
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Plus-Size Festival Outfit Day 2: Corset & Mesh Skirt
Day 2 was a short day for us because my husband and I were headed to my niece’s graduation party. Since we didn’t have as much sitting on the ground ahead of us, I decided to wear this fun (sold-out) crystal-embellished mesh skirt from Eloquii. There was still a lot of walking, so I applied a liberal layer of Megababe Thigh Rescue — an anti-chafe stick is an absolute essential for me if I am wearing a short or sheer skirt — before heading out.
I paired the skirt with a denim corset tank from my sustainable go-to Warp + Weft, a real bra (lesson learned from Day 1!) and a pair of chunky sole sneakers from the recently relaunched Buffalo Shoes. The brand, which reached icon status when their platform sneakers became a Spice Girls favorite, has reissued some of their most popular styles and, ever since I got a pair, they’ve been in regular rotation. As a short girl who loves added height but hates uncomfortable heels, these feel like the Bratz doll shoes of my dreams.
I played up the Y2K vibes with a Dior dog tag necklace and a vintage pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs shield sunglasses. This look was incredibly comfortable, so don’t be surprised if you see me outfit-repeat in it.
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Plus-Size Festival Outfit Day 3: Matching Set
For the final day of the festival, I decided to lean into one of my favorite colors with a full-on tangerine look. The matching set was from Ashley Stewart, a legacy plus-size fashion brand that I’ve noticed adding more fun, on-trend options to its selection lately. While the joggers were comfortable, if I was ordering them again, I’d size up for a flowier fit. I also kept seeing bits of the fringe left behind when I’d get up from the ground. After the third time that happened, I started to fear that these pants might be here for a good time, not a long time, but, at the end of the night, the fringe looked lush and full, so maybe it was just some unavoidable shedding. The coordinating mesh bodysuit fit perfectly and mercifully had snap closures, making navigating the festival port-a-potty situation that much less hellish.
This look was definitely an instance of more is more because I didn’t just stop there and topped it off with a cropped silver paillette cape from ASOS that made me look like a walking disco ball. The capelet was an absolute compliment magnet, and the lightweight tulle base kept it breezy enough that I didn’t roast in the hot sun. The only thing it was missing was some type of front closure — I kept having to shrug it back up onto my shoulders as I danced and ran between sets.
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