Festive fashion in your 50s – anything goes, as long as it’s with wellies

Festive fashion in your 50s – anything goes, as long as it’s with wellies

Kate Spicer proving a point - you can still be fabulous at 50 at a festival - Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Kate Spicer proving a point – you can still be fabulous at 50 at a festival – Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

There is no more iconic figure of festival style in living memory than Kate Moss. The model single-handedly raised the Hunter wellies fortune when she wore a black pair with a gold mini dress in the mud of Glastonbury in 2005.

If there’s one thing that woman taught us, it’s that you go your own way at a festival. Dancing in the fields is not a catwalk, although it is often a walk in the mud. Whatever your age, dressing up for festivals is about practicality and knowing who you are. That said, at age 50 or so, the days of wearing a Tigger costume or a Coachella-style wreath and crochet bikini are thankfully over. But not the festival days. Oh no.

If you thought the mud and mosh pits of UK festivals were reserved for teenagers drinking cider, think again. Recent statistics from Statista have as many over 41s as under 25s among festival goers, 31% of each. The newest generation of grandparents grew up in the rave era and may well – in what’s known as Saffy Syndrome, named after Jennifer Saunders’ no-nonsense daughter Edina in Absolutely Fabulous – be far more embarrassingly wild than their children. If Sir Paul can head Glasto at 80, then there’s no excuse for any of us. My mother went to her first festival, Port Eliot, Cornwall, in the early 70’s and loved it.

With ticket prices starting at £250 and VIP tickets at Glastonbury £700 this year, no one could describe the festivals as a game just for kids. So, enough excuses. Forget age-appropriate behavior; start planning what to wear.

Of course, some of us never give up on camping with attitude. And regular festival goers have an evolved understanding of how style is more important than fashion when you’re settling in a field for a few days.

For starters, there’s the British mood. What’s the point of being dressed up like a Kardashian if you have nowhere to hide the G&Ts. For me, a light, masculine Barbour hull with a poaching pocket inside does the job perfectly.

Kate Moss with Pete Doherty at Glastonbury in 2005 - Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

Kate Moss with Pete Doherty at Glastonbury in 2005 – Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

Sara MacDonald, who refuses to speak to me if I mention the word ‘middle age’, is on her 10th Glastonbury since she started working for them as a hot publicist in the 2000s. “It’s all about a bomber jacket. You need proper inner pockets for your phone and hip pockets for lipstick, gum, and hands. It helps to be at least vaguely waterproof. You don’t want a designer bag weighing you down.”

I agree with that, suitcases are luggage. I once did a festival with what I thought was a really fancy Chloe bag dangling from my body, which meant the minute I started dancing I tinkled like a jailer’s key chain. Gotta be pockets or a bag hanging from your hips

Rosemary Ferguson, super-cool model from the 1990s and now a mother of three, admits she’s a little scared about heading back to Glastonbury this weekend after a few years off. “I’m a doctor now, so my first tip is to drink plenty of water, maybe with added electrolytes,” she laughs. Ferguson has a stash of favorite outfits she wears during festival season. “For the night what you need is something warm but also ‘important’ [as in stylish] because it can get cold outside. And for that you have to love a cape. A good, heavy one will keep the moist morning air away from your bones.

A hat is an absolute must, it hides you from the sun and, after a few nights, your face from the world. Fedoras, bucket hats, panamas…anything goes, but make sure it fits, so it stays on your head whether you jump up or down.

Fifi Howden made her first Glastonbury in 1988. “I wore a tutu and DMs.” Today, at 54, she is the castellan of Cornbury, the Wilderness setting, a favorite of the festive upper-middle class. With a lake, an upscale Noble Rot wine bar, and a spa, there’s everything you need to recharge your batteries and regain your spirits when it all starts to feel like you’re heading south.

Howden’s approach is to go big. “I always plan my looks, it’s important to know what you’re going to wear every day; it makes me feel safe.” Her look is “Mummy glam. Baggy old jeans, comfy boots – you can’t beat DMs – Camilla’s fluttering, feathery capes. It’s a time to feel free, even when it’s in our own backyard in Cornbury, the magic of it never fades.” But her outfit, like Ferguson, is a jumpsuit.

Sequins are worth considering and no one beats Rosa Bloom, who has a pop-up shop at some of the biggest festivals of the summer. While you might arrive thinking you’d never go there, come on Sunday, with a headache and a three-day buildup of wonderfully smudged eyeliner, you might even like it. Oh yeah, and never say no to a crazy hangover purchase. Festival shopping got me the best pair of harem pants I own, for ten.

When it comes to dresses, pack something silky and long (but not so long that it drags on the floor) because on the third day, when the drinks start to weigh you down, get up and put on a silk kaftan, maxi, or kimono. Style dress is the clothing equivalent of a liter pitcher of delicious ice water. Style it with a chunky boot, wellies or sneakers. And, needless to say, a really great pair of sunglasses. The biggest you can find. I was given carte blanche by my podiatrist recently to wear cowboy boots all the time, so they are now my summer choice. But there’s a huge range of flatform sneakers from brands like Superga and Converse that offer that extra inch without losing comfort.

Finally, while there are no real rules for dressing at festivals, there is one. Never, ever buy jester hats unless you want your kids to cancel it instantly and forever. Other than that, anything goes.

Kate uses…

Beadnell Wax Jacket, £209, Barbour (barbour.com);  San Tropez midi dress, £825, Soler (soler.co.uk);  Oscar Boots, £289, Penelope Chilvers (penelopehilvers.com) - Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Beadnell Wax Jacket, £209, Barbour (barbour.com); San Tropez midi dress, £825, Soler (soler.co.uk); Oscar Boots, £289, Penelope Chilvers (penelopehilvers.com) – Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Cesca Colorless Hat, £135, Selfridges (selfridges.com);  Amalia Palazzo jumpsuit, £285, Soler (soler.co.uk);  cowboy boots, by Kate herself.  - Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Cesca Colorless Hat, £135, Selfridges (selfridges.com); Amalia Palazzo jumpsuit, £285, Soler (soler.co.uk); cowboy boots, by Kate herself. – Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Colorless Hat Ivy Beverly, £165, Harvey Nichols (harveynichols.com);  Capri Layered Henley Dress, £695, Soler (soler.co.uk);  Chuck Taylor All Star Lift Platform Canvas Shoes, 75lbs, Converse (converse.com).  Kate's own sunglasses - Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

Colorless Hat Ivy Beverly, £165, Harvey Nichols (harveynichols.com); Capri Layered Henley Dress, £695, Soler (soler.co.uk); Chuck Taylor All Star Lift Platform Canvas Shoes, 75lbs, Converse (converse.com). Kate’s own sunglasses – Andrew Crowley for The Telegraph

The jacket

Women's Lightweight Waterproof Jacket, £150, Hunter (hunterboots.com)

Women’s Lightweight Waterproof Jacket, £150, Hunter (hunterboots.com)

the extra layer

Lightweight crew neck sweater, £140, Sheep Inc (sheepinc.com)

Lightweight crew neck sweater, £140, Sheep Inc (sheepinc.com)

the floating dress

Jolene Multi-Floral Dress, £165, Kitri (kitristudio.com)

Jolene Multi-Floral Dress, £165, Kitri (kitristudio.com)

the pants loose

Short Shorts, £49, Hush (hush-uk.com)

Short Shorts, £49, Hush (hush-uk.com)

the low boot

Camilla Cowboy Boots, £180, Aspiga (aspiga.com)

Camilla Cowboy Boots, £180, Aspiga (aspiga.com)

The sunglasses

C Sunglasses in Desert Rose, £40, Izipizi (izipizi.com)

C Sunglasses in Desert Rose, £40, Izipizi (izipizi.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.