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If we were to REALLY be honest with ourselves, we would know that after dropping $30-$100 on a one night show, hundreds on a festival weekend, and who-knows-how-much on the parking, gas, plane tickets, food, etc. we really don’t have all that much left for the outfits themselves. (Unless you’re lucky enough to have a really solid income, in which case, go ahead and rock those expensive outfits... I will hype you up all the same!) But for those of us with bills already up to our ears, how do we still look fabulous on a budget?
I know, I know, those high-end rave clothing stores have some of the most GORGEOUS pieces; but if you’re willing to put in the extra time, you really can create your own. Look around at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Plato’s Closet, or your local thrift stores. You will often be able to find tops, shorts, and layers that can be re-purposed or decorated! At stores like Walmart and TJ Maxx, you can find new fish nets, swimsuits, lingerie, and sports wear for relatively cheap as well! Personally, I own a good dozen black crop tops that I rotate through with some colored accessories and layers... And I found fishnets for just $7 at Walmart - no need to be upset anymore when you undoubtedly tear a hole or ten in them!
This one might have you a little confused, but it’s essentially online thrifting... It only takes a search or two on Facebook to find some groups that are dedicated to selling used rave clothes and accessories for cheap! More often than not, people will be selling the name-brand clothes that they no longer wear - such as Freedom Rave Wear and I Heart Raves, among others. It works great for everybody involved, somebody gets a new-to-them outfit, and the other has a little extra cash in hand.
When looking for rave outfits, keep this thought in the back of your mind: “where/how/when else could I wear this?” Sure you could wear it to another show, but would it look good paired with other pieces? Could you wear it to class? To work? Any other part of daily life? Thinking about these things is key for getting your money’s worth. Finding one top that goes with a very specific pair of pants is not nearly as worth it as a top that could be layered up and worn with jeans, leggings, or anything really. All but a couple of my pieces I can wear with a flannel and be set to go anywhere!
That being said... A couple of flashy pieces never hurt anybody... I’m guilty.
Focus on the Accessories
You could have the most simple outfit in the crowd, but how you accessorize could really make you stand out among the glitter and glow sticks. Kandi is HUGE for this - stack up the singles and cuffs, and maybe a couple perlers if you are feeling it. I also have found light up glasses on Amazon for right around $12. For other cheap accessory ideas, just keep reading!
Craft Store Sales
Stores like Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby ALWAYS have sales from 30-60% off and coupons if you look hard enough. With the sales changing weekly, you’re bound to see what you want pop up in the ads. I almost exclusively buy my items on sale - anything from fabric paint to face gems to glow sticks! It becomes an incredibly cheap way to accessorize for your next show and make your outfits unique! You can even go so far as to buy your own furs and fabrics, which leads me to my next point...
Sew Your Own Clothes
If you’re any amount of crafty, you can save tons of money by touching up on your sewing skills! Patterns for items like skirts, bralettes, shorts, halter or tube tops, etc. are really not too tricky to learn; and by sewing your own, you can get the fit just perfect and add all the little details you’ve ever wanted! A friend of mine figured out how to sew her own clip-in kitty ears out of faux fur found at JoAnn Fabrics for under $10, and they looked SO cute - I’m tempted to learn myself.
Comfy (Not Stylish) Shoes
This is piece of advice I wish I would have known sooner. Buy COMFY shoes over CUTE ones. (If you can find both... Please send me a link.) Personally, I bought some colored laces for my Vans and sacrificed them to the rave scene, they now sit as my dedicated “party shoes”. You need to keep in mind that whatever shoes your choose, they will more than likely be worn exclusively to your events. They are much harder to wash than regular clothes, and will have drinks spilled on them, have trekked through mud, and maybe even lost if you’re one of the unlucky ones. This is where thrift stores could come in handy again, but if you’re anything like me, you prefer your shoes new. Target has a surprisingly comfortable selection of sneakers for fairly cheap - so I recommend heading over and purchasing some black ones with really thick soles.
After all this tips, tricks, and ideas, there is one very important thing to keep in mind:
It isn’t about the look, it’s about the music and memories!
I know it can be so fun to take pics with your squad for Insta, but stop for a second and think back to the shows or festivals you’ve been to in the past. What do you remember the most - how you looked? Probably not. You’ll remember the people you were with, how much you danced, and how insane the visuals were. As long as you're comfortable, that is really all that matters!
I hope you found something useful out of this post, and if you did, let me know in the comments below! I would love to see the unique outfits you put together!
With peace, love, unity, and respect,