So you’ve just bought a ticket to Secret Garden and along with the confirmation email the festival sends you a friendly heads up that they will be playing dress-ups and the theme will be announced shortly. The all too familiar feeling arises as the panic creeps in. I have to wear a costume? What if I’m the only person dressed up? What if mine isn’t cool enough? Does a poncho count?
Take a few deep breaths; put down the stress ball it’s all going to be okay. We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you nail that festival dress.
Are you ready for Secret Garden? Before the lineup is announced, you need to get working on your best Space Cowboy outfit, here’s some handy pointers.
If there’s a theme, take it seriously
The title says it all, it should be the most obvious but we’ve seen enough half-brained costume ideas to realise that some people don’t ‘believe’ in their costume, they believe in the idea of them. If there’s a theme, take it seriously, the festival has put it there for a reason because it’s ridiculously fun to dance next to Chewbacca or share a drink with a taco. Remember the vibe can’t reach peak surrealism if you don’t allow your freak flag to fly high.
Be unique, just like everyone else.
Secret Garden’s first day theme is space cowboy so don’t just whip on a cowboy hat with glitter on it and call it a day. This is your chance to seize the moment, this is your time, this is the Wild West meets Interstellar. Think Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy; we want to see sparkles, lasers, space helmets, leather chaps and maybe a small alien companion.
Sure you can just head on down your local costume store and dress like an astronaut but we suggest delving deep into the dark matter of your brain to retrieve something unique. Originality goes a long way in these scenarios and a loud costume will be recognised and respected. It might even nab you a partner to share a tent with.
This is a big one so easily overlooked and so commonly regretted, if you can’t sew now’s the time to learn. While you’re down there in the dark matter make sure you take some time to think about the material your costume is going to be made out of. Breathability is a major player in allowing your costumed antics to continue well in to the night. You are presumably going to be dancing and it’s going to get hot and you need to breathe, unless you plan on passing out prematurely.
Polyester and pleather are not your go-to materials here it’s best to go with the cotton blends, even better if you can nab some fabrics that are at least water-resistant. Your local op-shop should do the trick but if you’re going vintage nothing beats your parents wardrobe, ask before you snoop around, the contents may scar you.
These costumes are going to be surrounding your person for the foreseeable future and dehydration at a festival is already a major problem, but most importantly make sure you have a pocket, lovingly referred to as a storage pouch for your water, wallet, drink tickets and any other random memorabilia you collect along the way. There is nothing more alluring than a Space Cowboy who comes prepared. Of course if you choose to don a heavy leather outfit, make sure you have a surplus of baby powder.
Commit to your character
We cannot stress this point enough it comes back to taking the theme seriously. If you’re dressed as a cowboy you will be a cowboy, if you’re in a hotdog suit you will remain a delicious savoury snack for the rest of the day and if you decide to be The Joker you will BE The Joker, short of the homicidal musings. It may seem strange at first but you will soon begin to feel the old you slip away and the new, improved version of yourself will emerge. The only times your hat or helmet or mask is removed is if you are wiping your brow or offering a pleasantry to a passing Knight or Dame.
Find The Humour But Be Respectful
Fancy dress can be deceptively high stakes in this arena and there is a well-trodden line of funny and downright offensive. One of the greatest aspects of donning a costume at a festival is your imagination can run free and you can escape in to fantasy for a day, so if you are going to wallow in the satirical political incorrectness then make sure it is done in good taste.
As a general rule we suggest you steer clear of man thongs (nobody really needs to see that much dude), morph suits (we have no idea who’s behind that one way fabric and it freaks us out, a real vibe killer) and one of the more controversial is Indian headdresses or for that fact anything to do with indigenous nations. Unless you are in fact of that indigenous nation it’s generally perceived as pretty thoughtless and it tends to trivialize a race that have rightfully had enough of it. If you have to ask then The Ridiculous Six should cover all of that.
While we would love nothing more than to hold your hand and walk you through this milestone together, we only have so many hands and we have our own costumes to worry about. Hopefully this guide will get those grey cells pumping and on the road to festival success. We have taken you this far the rest is up to you.