“But What Will I Wear???”: How to Pick an Outfit for All of Your Favorite Concerts.

By Lindsay Longacre.

Going to a concert usually includes a lot of preparing and planning. Not only do you have to remember your ticket, know where to go, and then emotionally prepare to watch an artist that you love, but you even have to think about what you are going to wear.

Sometimes you can throw something together quickly and with ease and other times it can be a lot harder. No matter which way it goes, there are many things that come into play when planning the perfect concert outfit.

Considering that I am not the most fashion forward person and the furthest I’ve gone in dressing similar to an artist’s style is by wearing the same pair of shoes I’ve seen them in, I enlisted the help of a close friend with a much better fashion sense to offer up some suggestions for what to do when it comes to dressing for a concert. If you plan on putting thought and effort into what you’ll wear to your next concert, but don’t really know where to start, reading this article could help.

Kilisha Bell – or Kiki – is a San Diego native and she has been to various concerts over the last several years. She has seen a bunch of different artists who fall under a bunch of different genres, so she had to dress for a lot of different styles of concerts.

I asked her about what comes into play when she makes her outfit choices and the processes she goes through when planning for the different concerts she goes to. Kiki mainly likes to shape her concert outfits around what styles are trending in the moment and which of those trends she feels help express who she is.

"When I get to go to concerts, I’m expressing myself to the fullest and I do that with styles and outfits I love.”

She says she likes to wear as many trending styles as she can before they are replaced and that concerts are the place for her to do that. If she wants to pull inspiration from anywhere it’s usually from the artists themselves.

“I always admire the style of the artist’s I love because they are all their own and pretty unique. Seeing what they like to wear opens me up to new varieties of fashion that I’ll incorporate into some of my concert outfits.”

When it comes to picking a specific outfit for a specific show, things like the weather, where the show will be, the music style and fashion styles of the artists she is seeing, knowing about a show ahead of time, and whether or not she knows she is going to be meeting the artist contributes to the outfit choices she makes. She says it’s important to know what the weather will be like on the day of the show, especially if the venue is outdoors and you plan are being there for several hours.

“You don’t want to wear something like shorts and a crop top to a concert that will eventually be cold at night, but you wouldn’t want to wear a heavy jacket to a show when it’s going to be hot no matter how much you like how it looks.” An understanding of what works in what weather is the best way to go. Do not put your health in danger for a cute outfit, try to find a happy medium with what you decide to go with.

The style of show and the type of venue also comes into play not only for what you decide to wear, but also for how you decide to do your hair and makeup. If its going to be hot and sweaty, either because it’s a show outdoors in the summer or because it’s a general admission show where everyone will be standing and dancing close together, you may not want to go to crazy with your choices.

“I usually like to do a natural look with liner, lashes, and face makeup because of how hot and sweaty shows can get,”

“I choose not to do a nice eye shadow because I wouldn’t want it to get messed up and run down my face.” Kiki’s hair type also determines the style she’ll go for at these warmer shows. “I hardly straighten my hair because if I sweat my hair curls. If the rest is curled already and it just gets curlier during the show it will blend with the rest of my hair.”

You want to consider what is going to be most comfortable for you. If you usually don’t wear too much makeup, don’t try to do it to impress anyone. Chances are, if you dance and jump at the show, it’s may come off anyway. Be you no matter what.

The style of the artist you are going to see also plays a big role in what you may decide to wear to the show. Kiki says,

“Depending on the type of genre the artist is categorized under, whether it’s pop, rock, hip-hop, rap, anything, will always affect your style choices.”

She says this is the case because if the artist is wearing a certain style that means that they like to wear it and if they see you’re wearing a similar style from the stage it may catch their eye and they’ll notice it. “Getting a compliment from an artist you love on your outfit is everything.” Even if its just a small nod to what your wearing, receiving that sort of notice from someone you admire could make the whole experience even better. Putting together an outfit takes time and if an artist sees you’ve made an effort in that way, it can validate the whole process you went through to reach your final outfit decision.

Kiki says that how far in advance she’ll plan an outfit depends on the styles that are trending.

“Let’s say I have a concert in March, but I like the trending style that’s going around now and what the artist is digging at the present moment. In that case, I would plan my outfit now and have everything finished in like a week or two depending on where I am ordering items from.”

If she isn’t feeling the styles now, she has no problem putting something together as close as a few days before the show. Rarely does she wait for the last minute to plan an outfit, but sometimes last-minute changes happen.

Kiki went to two shows on Why Don’t We’s 8 Letters Tour this year and both times she had to make minor adjustments to her outfits. She almost didn’t go to the first show in March, and when she discovered she was going after all she had to put together an outfit pretty quick. When she saw them again in July, the fact that she was meeting them led her to make an outfit change.

“I wanted to stand out during Limelight, so two says before the show I went to the mall to try and find a shirt. I bought one that I wasn’t completely satisfied with, but I learned to accept it and make it work because it was so close to the show day.” She said.

If you know about a show pretty far in advance it may be easier to plan for considering that you may have months to get an outfit ready. Just remember that it could change, you may find something else you want to wear or not like your original choice anymore. Be open to the changes.

Knowing that you will be meeting some of your favorite artists could potentially be one of the biggest influences on your outfit choices.

“This can be the most difficult to plan for, I factor in what the artist is digging, but I want to make sure that my outfit is 100% on point with no flaws.”

This is because if you are officially meeting an artist there is a greater chance that they are going to notice what you are wearing and could eventually comment on your choices. “You want them to notice that you made an effort with your outfit and even pulled influences from them and their style.” Receiving a compliment on a well-thought out outfit will only validate the time and effort it took to put the look together. But Kiki does have advice in case it doesn’t go the way you want. She says,

“Sometimes they may not notice or say anything regarding your outfit, but don’t sweat it because you know that you killed that outfit even though they didn’t acknowledge it.”

Like with any element of a meet and greet, don’t go in expecting them to say something about your outfit. Let the meet and greet flow and if your amazing outfit choices come up in conversation, let it be another added bonus to the whole experience.

Overall, when you are planning an outfit for a concert Kiki’s main piece of advice it to always want to stand out. She says,

“Always being unique in your own way is a good thing and I think concerts are the best place to do that, the best place to be yourself and express who you are with the things you wear. You may be judged on what you wear, but if it’s what you like, and you feel comfortable in it, then I say go for it.”

Self-expression through your concert outfits is amazing. Even if you’re like me and you just like to wear merch and your favorite pair of jeans and sneakers. Go in what makes you comfortable, and maybe if you feel like mixing it up, take some advice from Kiki and plan around what is trending in the fashion world and what the artist you are seeing likes to wear. Either way you’re going to look and feel amazing because you’ve made the decision to wear what resembles you.

Make sure to check Kiki out on Instagram and Youtube!