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Coachella is the perfect place to release your inhibitions, see your favorite artists, meet new people and express yourself through personal style. More than 100,000 people from all over the world flock to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA preparing for “Instagram Heaven”—and in the process, they collectively create a new array of Coachella trends. Festival-goers come dressed in over-the-top costumes—sometimes nothing more than a bikini and sneakers. Men sport matching sets, influencers dawn the trendiest fashions, groups coordinate their clothes and some festival attendees pay homage to their favorite celebrity performers through their sartorial choices. Everyone finds creative ways to express themselves, and often, these methods of self-expression overlap—creating full-blown style movements.
I attended Coachella this year and last year, and both times, my aesthetic has resembled that of a casually hot festival goddess. Sneakers, denim cut-offs and crop tops abound. I layer on a couple necklaces and several scrunchies, and I keep a pair of sunnies on hand for sunshine-filled afternoons. A colorful handkerchief keeps the dust off my face, and a touch of glitter keeps me feeling my best. I tend not to get too into festival trends, but I love watching them unfold.
1. Wearing the Rainbow
There was all kinds of rainbow representation at Coachella this year. (The only time I’ve seen more ROYGBIV? Gay Pride!) I saw crochet dresses and matching sets, rainbow flags worn as capes, and even rainbow hair! Although some of these people weren’t purposefully trying to showcase their LGBT pride, it made me, as a community member, feel supported.
2. Neon, Neon and More Neon
The most popular palette at this year’s Coachella? Neons—specifically, neon greens and yellows. Everywhere I turned, I saw someone wearing an outfit fit for a roller rink. Neon was everywhere, with celebrities like Winnie Harlow, Teyana Taylor and even Kendall Jenner sporting the trend.
3. 1990s and 2000s Styles
The styles of the 1990s have made an obvious comeback in recent years, and the 2000s have joined them in 2019. Coachella attendees donned ’90s-style sunglasses, graphic tees and retro hairstyles. As always, fanny packs were on the sartorial menu.
4. Showing Skin
I’ve unofficially dubbed this the year of the butt. So. Many. Butts. Everyone’s booty was on display this year. And as someone who is extremely focused on maintaining a perfect derriere, I took note.
5. Read My Shirt
All kinds of people sported outfits that made a statement—quite literally. From tops adorned with Mean Girls quotes to ensembles emblazoned with statements about the human race, messages were on display for my—and every other Coachella attendee’s—reading pleasure all festival long.
6. Space Buns
Space buns made a resurgence on the 2019 festival grounds. With fewer flower crowns in sight this year, I saw loose braids, hair clips, barrettes and beads as the new hair accessories that could be seen on the likes of Vanessa Morgan, Elsa Hosk and practically every influencer at Coachella.
7. Costume Central
This year, I saw so many incredible, handmade, avant-garde looks I felt like I was at a costume party. Each time I passed someone in full costume, I said to myself “Wow, that’s commitment right there.” But seriously, that hard work paid off.
8. Tributes to Ariana Grande
How could people not pay tribute to Coachella’s headliner, Ariana Grande? From a “Thank U, Next” T-shirt to a man in a space helmet ready for NASA takeoff (a nod to Grande’s song “NASA”), Ariana Grande-inspired looks filled the festival.
Oh, and in case you wanted to score some trendy Coachella duds of your own, I took note of the brands festival-goers sported most. For shoes, people favored Doc Martens, Vans and Filas. For kimonos and dresses, Free People. For tops and shorts, Urban Outfitters. And for backpacks, Fjällräven Kånken.