It takes a special something for a festival outfit to achieve iconic status, whether it’s carnival-esque extravagance worn by the likes of Bjork to the more understated yet quintessential boho-chic from Sienna Miller. But if you’re after some inspiration for your own festival outfits, let’s face it, those looks in particular serve way more novelty nostalgia than wearability.

Join us as we delve into the past for a look back at some of the most defining looks in festival history – looks so ordinary that they’ve probably slipped your mind but that have in fact stood the test of time and still have their place at festivals and gigs everywhere today.

Janis Joplin – Woodstock, 1969

Janis Joplin Woodstock 1969
Credit: Pinterest
Men's Multicoloured Tie Dye T-Shirt
Men’s Multicoloured Tie Dye T-Shirt
Reworked Recycled Bailey Orange Floral Print Stretch Jersey Flares
Rokit Originals Bailey Orange Floral Print Stretch Jersey Flares
60s Carroll's Multicoloured Patterned Playsuit
60s Carroll’s Multicoloured Patterned Playsuit

There’s no denying that Janis Joplin’s full tie-dye outfit at the historic Woodstock in 1969 serves as an archetype of true hippie style, complete with bell sleeves, flared pants and tinted round glasses. This distinctively retro 60s/70s look may be way out of your comfort zone, but rock up like this at Boomtown and honestly nobody would bat an eyelid.

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Morrissey, The Smiths – Glastonbury, 1984

Indie 80s Morrissey, The Smiths, Glastonbury Festival 1984
Credit: Flickr
Barker Burgundy Leather Brogues
Barker Burgundy Leather Brogues
70s Blue Patterned Striped Shirt
70s Blue Patterned Striped Shirt
Harris Tweed Brown Wool Suit Jacket
Harris Tweed Brown Wool Suit Jacket

Every indie boy considers young Morrissey a style icon, and his outfit from The Smith’s Glastonbury set in 1984 is a great example of a look that is still very much current today in that kind of scene. With his oversized blazer and that pajama-like striped shirt, a look that feels very emblematic of the decade, Morrissey here wouldn’t look out of place if he time travelled to The Shacklewell Arms today. Maybe even throw on a dangly earring for good measure.

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Sinead O’Connor – Glastonbury, 1990

Sinead O'Connor Glastonbury Festival 1990 Leather Jacket High Waisted Jeans
Credit: Live Bootlets; Pixels
Vintage 80s Leather Biker Jacket
Vintage 80s Leather Biker Jacket
White Hooters Louisville, KY Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined T-Shirt
White Hooters Louisville, KY Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined T-Shirt
Tommy Hilfiger Blue High Waist Jeans
Tommy Hilfiger Blue High Waist Jeans

Black leather jacket, high waisted jeans, tucked-in graphic tee, black lace up boots – this simple yet effortlessly stylish outfit has not aged one bit in 19 years. What makes it so great is how it represents Sinead’s unashamedly modest and genuine style that stuck two fingers up at her record label who unsuccessfully tried to ‘sex’ her up in miniskirts. Even that buzzed haircut has totally made a comeback.

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Ian Brown, The Stone Roses – Spike Island, 1990

Ian Brown The Stone Roses Spike Island 1990
Credit: The Guardian; Radio X
Nike Faded Black Embroidered Logo Fleece Sweatshirt
Nike Faded Black Embroidered Logo Fleece Sweatshirt
Ralph Lauren Grey Long Sleeve Waffle T-Shirt - XXL
Ralph Lauren Grey Long Sleeve Waffle T-Shirt – XXL
1970s Vietnam M-65 Combat Trousers
1970s Vietnam M-65 Combat Trousers

Another completely timeless look if the streets of today are anything to go by. Though this baggy white long-sleeve and baggy trousers seems incredibly simple, Ian Brown’s look from The Stone Roses’ iconic Spike Island gig in 1990 is the perfect embodiment of that classic normcore ‘Madchester’ style that so many guys, maybe unknowingly, are influenced by today.

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Karl Hyde Underworld Glastonbury 1999
Credit: Getty

Also worth an honorable mention and falling under a similar category here is Underworld’s Karl Hyde at Glastonbury 1999.

Kurt Cobain, Nirvana – Hollywood Rock Festival, 1993

Kurt Cobain from Nirvana at Hollywood Rock Festival 1993
Credit: Iconosquare; Pinterest
Lucky Brand Striped Linen Shirt
Lucky Brand Striped Linen Shirt
Black Photo Print Nirvana T-Shirt
Black Photo Print Nirvana T-Shirt
Tommy Hilfiger Cotton Check Flannel Shirt
Tommy Hilfiger Cotton Check Flannel Shirt

The whole point of a real ‘grunge’ look is that it’s not really meant to be a look at all. Yet somehow Kurt Cobain’s unkempt, thoughtless, thrown-together look of an open baggy shirt over a band t-shirt not only became his signature style, synonymous with that Seattle sound, but also an enduring aesthetic that some actively try to replicate today.

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Skin, Skunk Anansie – BRIT Awards, 1997

Y2K Low Rise Pants Metallic Crop Top Skin from Skunk Anansie, Brit Awards 1997
Credit: Press Association Archive; Stylist Magazine
DKNY Silver Y2K Puffa Bodywarmer Sleeveless Jacket
DKNY Silver Y2K Puffa Bodywarmer Sleeveless Jacket
Vintage Purple Cropped Lycra Dance Top
Vintage Purple Cropped Lycra Dance Top
Y2K Danier Black Embroidered Leather Trousers
Y2K Danier Black Embroidered Leather Trousers

Though not strictly a ‘festival’, this shot of Skin from Skunk Anansie’s performance at the 1997 Brit Awards is such a look (also apparently worn earlier pre-tattoo as seen above) if you’re into this whole Y2K revival, that is. You might have thought we’d leave low-rise pants, metallics and stick-on gems firmly back in the 90s/early noughties but the last couple of years of fashion has seen all these things and more welcomed back onto the streets, at raves and certainly at festivals.

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Eminem & Marilyn Manson – Reading 2001

Eminem & Marilyn Manson, Reading 2001
Credit: Revolver
Rokit Originals Vivienne Reworked Vintage Corset Top
Rokit Originals Vivienne Reworked Vintage Corset Top
Big Mac Blue Long Dungarees & Coveralls
Big Mac Blue Long Dungarees & Coveralls
80s Gold Chain Necklace
80s Gold Chain Necklace

This whole ‘goth rap’ hip-hop-metal hybrid style that’s everywhere today, popularised by the likes of Lil Peep and Yung Lean, appears to have strangely sprung out of nowhere – in fact, the marriage of rap and metal is nothing new. These two seemingly opposite worlds in music have been colliding for years, maybe perfectly summed up by when Marilyn Manson hopped on stage with Eminem and D12 at Reading Festival in 2001. What should be an awkward pairing in both fashion and music somehow totally works.

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Lily Allen – Glastonbury, 2007

lily allen glastonbury 2007
Credit: Zimbio
Timberland Weathergear Waterproof Black Anorak Jacket
Timberland Weathergear Waterproof Black Anorak Jacket
Fila Grey Zip Up Hoodie
Fila Grey Zip Up Hoodie
Betsey Johnson Pink & Black Sleeveless 80s Style Party Dress
Betsey Johnson Pink & Black Sleeveless 80s Style Party Dress

It’s no surprise to see Lily Allen in a prom dress and trainers, a combo that she became famous for early in her career, but what makes this Glastonbury 2007 look so special is that there’s something so heart-warmingly British about it. Teamed with a hoodie, muddy barbour jacket and a can of beer in her hand, she is every British girl dressed pretty-yet-practical and having the time of her life at a festival in the rain.

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