8 ways to look the part for festival season, with fashions from Charlotte boutiques

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Photo by Luke Calvin

Festival season is upon us, and this year Charlotte is hosting more than ever. You no longer have to travel to the deserts of California or to the Windy City to get your festival fix. There are countless local options, highlighting everything from music to beer to art. Charlotte festival fashion has become as popular as the festivals themselves.

Each festival is unique and your style approach to each should be as well. There is nothing worse than being underprepared (or overdressed) for a day of dancing in the sun. I visited four local boutiques and curated eight looks to outfit you for Charlotte’s busy festival season.

(1) BOOM

April 26 – 28

Photo by Luke Calvin

Who said Uptown gets to have all of the fun? Kickstart festival fashion season by heading over to Plaza Midwood for this annual artist-led showcase. This may be Charlotte’s most diverse festival of the season — it proudly offers something for everyone. All of the excitement happens within a short few blocks.

Style notes:

  • This Kimono can double as a blanket to lay on should you need to rest your legs.
  • Boots are one of my favorite festival accessories. They allow you navigate through crowds no matter the weather or terrain.
  • Dare I say a band T-shirt is essential?

Outfit available at KK Bloom. Shown: Denim Fray Hem Short: $128; Led Zeppelin Tee: $68; Cheetah Print Kimono: $98; Zebra Cuff: $42; Orange Snakeskin Cuff: $26; Wing Embellished Earrings: $42; Ring by Venus EyeTrap: $45.

(2) Charlotte Wine+Food Weekend

April 24 – 27

Photo by Luke Calvin

Frankly, the only thing better than wine is food. With four days full of customized wine and food experiences, this flirty outfit is perfect for the Grand Tasting. The dress code is “snappy casual”, so pop on a colorful earring after work and grab an oversized carryall — it is the perfect accessory to bring home some treasures.

Style notes:

  • A neutral- patterned dress makes accessorizing easy. A colorful earring with do the trick.
  • An elastic waist is forgiving, especially on a day filled with eating and wine tasting.

Outfit Available at Sloan. Shown: Neutral Patterned Dress by Hemant & Nandita: $332; Tribal Carry-All Bag by Bluma: $165; Pink Leather Tassel Earrings by Raven & Harley: $90.

(3) Charlotte SHOUT!

April 29 – May 11

Photo by Luke Calvin

Commemorating Charlotte’s 250th anniversary, Charlotte SHOUT! promises to be one of the biggest festivals Charlotte has ever seen and at 13 days long, there are plenty of events to show off your festival fashion. This look is perfect for any of the outdoor music events in Uptown. While you’re dressed for it, don’t forget to take a picture in front of the giant (but mischievous) rabbits at The Green.

[Related: 2-week festival will be ‘nothing like this city has ever seen’]

Style notes:

  • A denim jacket is indispensable when layering for a long day. You’ll be prepared for the air-conditioned indoor activities and with a quick wrap around the waist, ready for a warm afternoon of music in the park.
  • A suede slide elevates the look from a traditional flip flop.

Outfit available at BOEM. Shown: Gingham Bustier Crop Top: $100; Distressed Chambray Skirt: $268; Denim Bomber Jacket: $120; Beaded Statement Earrings: $34.

(4) Charlotte Jazz Festival

April 29 – May 4

Photo by Luke Calvin

Charlotte Jazz Festival is presented as part of Charlotte SHOUT! Mark your calendar for Lunch Hour Jazz, where you can hear some of Charlotte’s best musicians for free on your lunch break, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Presents Wynton Marsalis‘ “SPACES,” which combines modern dance with big band jazz. This look will allow you to groove to your favorite tunes from day into the night.

Style notes:

  • A simple dress can serve as a canvas to showcase your statement jewelry.
  • This dress works perfectly to transition easily from day-to-nightie activities.

Outfit Available at Monkee’s of Charlotte. Shown: Long Sleeve Maxi by Gal Meets Glam: $280; ‘Samo’ Multi Strap Sandal: $150; Statement Necklace by Which One: $250; Coin Bracelet by Which One: $120.

(5) Kings Drive Art Walk / Festival in the Park

May 4 – 5

Photo by Luke Calvin

One of Charlotte’s oldest and most beloved events, Festival in the Park, doesn’t take place until September, but in the meantime you can enjoy their spring fine arts event, Kings Drive Art Walk. Not an artist? This dress makes me feel like I’m wearing a piece of art. To personalize the look, add these “third eye” earrings.

Style notes:

  • A crossbody bag is the perfect way to go hands-free while shopping and exploring treasures.
  • Gladiators have not gone out of style. Wrap your feet in this cute pair and strut around looking like a masterpiece.

Outfit Available at Monkee’s of Charlotte. Paint Shirt Dress: $375; Yellow Crossbody: $68; Evil Eye Earrings: $168; Sapphire Wrap Sandal: $250.

(6) Untappd Beer Festival

May 4

Photo by Luke Calvin

Not all festivals need a full weekend to get their point across. The 2019 Untappd Beer Festival, which will take over Bank of America stadium, only needs one afternoon to fill you up with great tasting brews from the Carolinas as well as across the country. When selecting an outfit for a beer festival, you’ll want to find the perfect balance of comfortable and cute. The embroidered T-shirt will elevates your look above the everyday tee, and it works perfectly with a flowy skirt.

Style notes:

  • Accessories are a great way to add interest to any look without being too much.
  • For this event, choose a cuff over bangles — because if you’re going to be lifting beverages, you don’t want to hear them ‘clank’ on the bottles or glass.

Outfit Available at Sloan. Shown: Striped embroidered tee by Derek Lam 10 Crosby: $225; Mixed Pattern Skirt by Mes Demoiselles: $203; Embroidered Tassel Sandals by Meher Kakalia: $288; Hammered Lavender Cuff by Sibilia: $140; Rainbow Thread Cuff by Sandy Hyun: $75; Hand Spun Cotton Necklace by Caralarga: $130.

(7) Hippie Fest

May 11 – 12

Photo by Luke Calvin

Missed Woodstock? No worries, just 45 minutes from Uptown, you can experience the traveling Hippie Fest. This family friendly music and art festival features small business vendors, live performances and a car show. Is it similar to Coachella? Probably not. Are you certain to meet some great people and capture some Instagram-worthy festival moments? Definitely.

Style notes:

  • You can create this look with any maxi dress. Choose this vertical watercolor print or find your perfect pattern.
  • Add a belt and a statement necklace in order to take this outfit from Easter Sunday to Festival Funday.

Outfit available at KK Bloom. Shown: Metallic Layered Necklace: $68; Watercolor Maxi Dress: $86; Snakeskin Belt: $44; Aviator Mirror Sunglasses: $65; Silver Metallic Flip Flops: $50.

(8) Circle K Speed Street

May 23 – 25

Photo by Luke Calvin

Not long after we’ve recovered from SHOUT!, the 600 Festival will take over Tryon with the 3-day Speed Street festival. As a result, the streets will be rocking with a weekend full of live entertainment, interactive displays and plenty of great eats. All of this will require an outfit comfortable for walking, eating and dancing.

Style notes:

  • Animal print is trending this spring and what better way to incorporate it than in a high-waist short.
  • With most of the activities happening outside, a wide-brimmed hat can provide some much-needed heat relief.

Outfit available at BOEM. Shown: Western Hat: $116; Circular Bag w/ Beaded Strap Crossbody: $118; Tan Flip Flops: $35; Heart Breaker Tee: $44; Ring by Venus EyeTrap: $45.

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