Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

What Guys Should Wear to a Music Festival (That Isn’t Cheesy or Cheap)

Summer means music festivals, so let’s talk about the best apparel to bring for these stylistically-bold, sweaty crowds. If you’ve got one on your calendar — be it the upcoming Governors Ball in New York City, the jam-filled Bonnaroo in Tennessee, or the hitmaker-packed Lollapalooza in Chicago — approach your outfits and accessories with a mind toward quality, classic, and useful pieces that can hold up, rain or shine. Yes, there’s still room to get wild with edgy pieces and stylistic flair, but choose the right pieces. Here’s a guide to follow that includes the best festival clothes that don’t look cheesy or cheap. (No mesh shirts, guys… you hear me?)

Rock on.

Smartwool Merino 150 Micro Stripe Boxer Brief – $45

Baselayers aren’t just for winter. Smartwool’s Merino wool undies (which kick Cotton’s butt in terms of managing sweat) are a lifesaver under warm conditions where we’re traveling and on-the-go at summer music festivals. It’s necessary to wear a superior next-to-skin brief that wicks moisture, dries fast, regulates body temp, and doesn’t stink (double points for being comfy as heck). The last thing you want mid-day at a festival is a swamp crotch that radiates B.O. Don’t wreak and don’t stand in line to change in a port-a-potty. Just wear Smartwool, man.

See It

Håndværk Crew Neck Undershirt – $95

You might be tempted to go crazy with prints and patterns, but opt instead for a classic, balanced look (we want handsome not messy). Achieving this starts with the basics. Your essential summer festival go-to shirt needs to be classic and fine (cheap, bold-printed shirts can often be itchy and made with poor quality fibers). AKA, the shirt needs to come from Håndværk. Woven with premium Peruvian Pima cotton (seriously orgasmic to the touch), this luxury “essential clothing” label makes one of the best Crew Neck Undershirt we’ve ever worn in look and feel. Crafted from lightweight jersey fabric and knitted with super-fine two-fold yarn, it goes to show that true style and expression should come from within. Let your sunglasses and slacks be bold and go classic white tee.

See It

Ray-Ban Colonel Sunglasses – $178

Iconic sunglass brand, Ray-Ban, recently launched a new line called The Colonel, which updated the classic shape of The General (the one with signature flat double-bridge and temples). The new shape is a square-edged silhouette that still holds on to its retro, military feel without being bug-like. This new shape is great since it elongates and squares-out while not shortening the lenses too much. The sophisticated shape leaves room for dipping your toe into a fun festival colorway, like clear gradient crystal lenses with a gold frame. Just enough Hunter S. Thompson without going full Gonzo.

See It

Zara Printed Trouser With Side Stripes – $50

Waiting for the signature piece? Here it is. A premium dark trouser (meaning a crisp and refined cut) made wild with a pattern featuring vintage-tattoo-inspired snakes, roses, tigers, and cacti is the perfect blend of comfort, edge, and cool. You’re at a music festival after all! The contrasting side stripes add a retro athletic flair, while the elastic waistband and adjustable drawstrings mean you can dance, mosh, cartwheel, whatever. Pair with your basic tee to balance the outfit. We’ll make you a bet you get at least three compliments each festival day for these trousers.

See It

Iron and Resin Logan Shorts – $75

Want functional shorts that stay comfortable in the heat and yet still look stylish? The Iron and Resin Logan Shorts are the way to go — the brand makes gear for motorcycle riders and stylish festival-goers in equal measure. These shorts are fashioned out of corduroy for throwback style, and finished off with an elastic waistband for ease of movement.

See It

Deep Blue Juggernaut Swiss Automatic Watch – $420

Wearing a $400-plus watch to a music festival? When that watch is the uniquely tough, rugged Deep Blue Juggernaut with a premium Swiss automatic movement, you can be sure it’s a good call. Through rainstorms and spilled drinks right onto the night’s headlining act, this watch can go all day long.

See It

ASOS Reclaimed Vintage Inspired Chunky Skull Ring – $29

Don’t get swayed to think an earring that attaches to your nose is a good idea, or a fur coat, or chaps. When looking for a spot-on, somewhat different accessory, remember all you need is one small piece. There’s a saying in the women’s style world that goes: Take off the last accessory you put on. This applies to you during festival season … but keep on this vintage-inspired bulky skull ring. It’s a great piece to ease into pushing your style boundaries while not going too “WTF is he wearing.” Made with 100 percent brass, the ring also cleans easily with a damp cloth.

See It

Forsake Range Low Sneakerboot – $140

Some of the best spring and summer festivals are in the middle of nowhere, so why limit your adventure with flat-soled, zero-support slip-ons? Maintain an air of style with the technical Forsake’s Range Low sneakerboots. Made with a waterproof andbreathable membrane within the seam-sealed leather upper, these kicks can tackle all weather and elements. After the festival, your feet won’t be trashed so keep the trip going and venture to the mountains and trail. The Vibram Megagrip outsole is grippy and durable, while the extra-wide footprint keeps you stable.

See It

Valentino Garavani Men’s VLTN Logo-Graphic Canvas Backpack – $1,495

We’re torn between the sticker-shock and unique design of this stunning Italian-made backpack by designer Valtino Garavani — perfect for every summer festival we can think of (from Coachella to Warped Tour to Burning Man). The extra tall pockets are great for water bottles and the gritty dark canvas material jotted with brown leather pulls is all at once industrial, earthy, and military-inspired. The true test of a festival piece is whether it’s useful, looks stylistically rare, and holds a timelessness. Check, check, check.

See It

Topo Designs Daypack – $168

While you’ve surely got a stylish messenger bag or briefcase for your 9-to-5 grind, festivals call for something a bit easier to carry and functionally minded. The Topo Designs Daypack is easy to stow in a locker if need be and just as easy to carry from stage to stage — plenty of space for a phone charger, sunscreen and sunglasses (plus, a jacket for the rain). It’s easily a must-buy.

See It

Article originally published by Beau Hayhoe on June 2, 2017. Last update by Jahla Seppanen on April 18, 2018.

Jahla Seppanen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born and raised off-the-grid in New Mexico, Jahla Seppanen is currently a sports, fitness, spirits, and culture writer in…
Lightweight and classy: The best dress pants for men
Here are the best pants you can find

The grass is greener, the flowers are in bloom, and the baseball season is in full swing. Spring is in the air, which means the weather is changing with the coming of a new season. With the warmer weather starting to set in, your wardrobe will need to switch up to allow you to stay sharp and comfortable. Whether you are dressing in business casual or business professional, you need the best dress pants for men.

There are dozens of brands, and each one has numerous options for you to choose from, and we spent the time and did the legwork to help you find the best of the best. Here are the best dress pants to stay classy this Spring.

Read more
How to tie a tie: A step-by-step guide to 4 popular knots
Always look your best with these top notch knots
Close-up bright pink necktie makes a colorful contrast to a neutral gray suit on businessman

Neckties have been a staple in the gentleman's wardrobe for centuries, reaching all the way back to ancient Chinese warriors. Of course, they have evolved over the years, but the core of the garment stayed the same — fabric tied around the neck to bring attention to the head. But regardless of how long the tie has been in vogue, some men still don't know how to tie a tie.

That is where we come in, with a guide to help you figure out how to tie a tie and look your best. Of course, not every tie knot is the right one, so here are the most common four tie knots you should know. And how to tie them. Don't forget to take it one step further and send the right message with your tie by knowing what the color says.

Read more
Don’t sweat it: The no-fuss guide to removing sweat stains from shirts you love
Follow these steps to save your wardrobe
A man getting dressed, buttoning up his shirt.

Nothing brings a grown man to tears faster than a massive sweat stain on an otherwise perfectly good shirt. It’s inevitable. The “investment” white dress shirt that always brings you luck on new client meetings is suddenly showing pit stains. The basic T-shirt you bought specifically for its minimalist appeal gets a grease mark right on the chest. The best chinos you’ve only worn once get a grass stain from one slip in the backyard. Knowing how to remove sweat stains from shirts - and your other favorite items - is essential.

Sure, you could just throw them away and buy new clothes, but these days disposable fashion is getting a bad rap, and dusting off a little thrift ingenuity seems downright trendy. We checked in with chemical engineer Dr. Daniel H. Jones for a few easy-to-use pointers to create our guide for how to remove sweat stains from shirts to make clothes look new again.

Read more