It’s Showtime!

Don’t be shy. Put a little oomph 
in your fest dress. Trust us. No one else will show restraint.

Isolde Walsh Fashion & Style


The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has made fringe, feathers, funk, and flounce part of the sartorial vernacular for retailers from Saks Fifth Avenue to Forever 21, where there exist entire eponymous lines dedicated to the gritty glamour of the weeklong festivities.

The typical look plucks trends from many different decades, occasionally ( … often) with mixed results. Some examples: a Bavarian corset dress made popular in the ’90s transforms at the waist to become a ’70s-era extra-maxi skirt so you can get maximum drag for your dirndl and show that you were really there, man, by later presenting its mud-soaked hem.

Layered necklaces win Instagram every year during Coachella (they look especially sexy when they’re sweat-polished), and stacked rings with big turquoise rocks or a regal bird theme are mandatory. Eagles are not just for patriots anymore! You can wear them and still make fun of the country music at Stagecoach.


Dude, if the festival ever needs its own superhero, we’re going to call … Wolverine.

Kimono dragon lady

Hey! Have a shower curtain that is a little bit gross near the bottom and could use a replacement? Drag it down and wear it as a coat to squeeze just a bit more life out of it. Don’t forget your 3-D glasses, so that all the strange looks you get will be blurry and friendly. Plus, no worries if it rains! You might even make a buddy or two…


Tabs at the sides of this colorful frock’s tube skirt will inflate in case of an emergency. You may need to manually inflate them before your emergency evacuation from the mosh pit.

Peace out

Acid wash denim vest, striped shorts, and “tribal” print crop top. It’s the worst of the politically incorrect and overly colorful ’80s and it’s all tied together with a pair of sensible walking shoes, which you’ll also find on P.S. residents making their early- morning walking pilgrimages to Denny’s from senior centers all over the valley.

Want to borrow my mantra?

“Hey, baby, you know, it’s all free and loose here under my handmade caftan from Kazakhstan/Turkistan/Whateverstan. I found this one on an Insta shop, but I added my own embroidery. I find crafts hella relaxing, and it makes me feel close to my Grams, who was the original #nastywoman. You know what else is super chill, baby, but also hot? A soak in the hot tub. Yeah, let’s just hang out and see what happens. This scarf around my head doubles as one of those sports towels that is super absorbent after a good workout, or a nice long soak. My caftan is one size fits most, so you can try it on if you want to…”

Jungle Jim

I made a pair of Bermuda shorts in junior high and this guy clearly picked them up at a rummage sale before raiding his mother’s 1980s closet for a matching top (or, as they were known in that decade, a “camp shirt”). This deconstructed tropical jumpsuit is not going to lead to much bro-mance for this bro, even if he secures those droopy Muppet-locks in a man bun. We call this look #garagesalesafari.

She don’t want
to miss a thing

Get a $5 car wash with the daughter of the girl who was in that Aerosmith video back in the day. The paint polish costs extra.


You know when you go to Mexico and buy one of those beautiful flower halo hair things from a street vendor, and it’s so gorgeous and you wear it all week, but then in the final throes of packing you decide to leave it on a doorknob at your Airbnb because you wonder where and how you’d ever wear it stateside? Now you know. This intrepid traveler was thinking ahead!


A happy tie-dyed skater dress looks effortlessly DIY. Let’s just hope that potentially perilous hemline disguises a skort, and that our festivalgoer brought a backup pair of boots.


What happens when you cut off your black skinny jeans because full-length is just so yesterday-slash-Sex and the City? Go on Etsy and search for “funky but cheap 
Brutalist ring,” cut up a kilt that was part of a Party City Halloween costume, and raid your grandmother’s vintage button collection? This.

Shirt sold separately

The Grim Reaper, a dude with a serious sense of humor, showed these pants to Chanel so that she could die. Again.


The latest in portable antiaging care, this spectacular choker shoots laser beams of light into your chin, followed by a quick cryo-blast to tighten the neck and put off any creepo-de-mayos who might get too close during the slow songs. It also coats the body with sunscreen at regular intervals to protect the delicate décolletage area. Vegan leather and faux-suede boots are equipped with jet pack levitation devices. Goth does not mean unorganized or unhealthy anymore.


God, grant me the serenity to accept the chafing that will inevitably occur, to change my flip-flops at regular intervals so they don’t melt into my feet, and the wisdom to know the difference between “the higher the hair, the closer to God” maxim and the “put your hair in the air” hairstyles made popular in the movie Trolls and seen on toddler pajamas everywhere.

hispter than thou

A bonsai-style architectural man bun, a suit stolen off the costume rack from the movie Borat, and an ancient Moroccan medallion that emits a patchouli-hemp mineral blend at periodic intervals to make the ladies go totes cray.

are those real moccasins?

This guy did not get the memo, any memo. Or he thinks he’s ironically supporting Dakota pipeline protestors. Or maybe he wanted to wear his vintage Raiders T-shirt but felt self-conscious. Or maybe he’s just from Nebraska. In any case: an all-around hard no.

Inga gadda da vida

It’s Swedish Candy Stripers Go Wild—a look reminescent of your babysitter from childhood, the one you couldn’t stop thinking about in ways that made you feel funny. This look is called #fjordsgofreudian.

It’s Showtime! was last modified: May 15th, 2017 by Isolde Walsh