A rave is a large, usually underground gathering where people dance to electronic music amid pulsating strobe lights, a barrage of neon colors and hundreds or thousands of fellow partiers. It’s typically a wild, wacky, no-holds-barred affair, and that goes double for the clothing. It’s common to see people dressed in crazy costumes and colors, and it’s the right time to let loose and unleash the wild side of your wardrobe.
There are no rules when it comes to rave wear – except to leave the formal wear at home. If you’re uncomfortable in loud, colorful or revealing clothing or if it’s your first rave and you’re unsure of what the atmosphere will be, it’s acceptable to wear street clothes like jeans and a t-shirt. Raves involve heavy dancing and being surrounded by many other people, so don’t wear anything too heavy, and stick with breathable fabrics like cotton.
Take advantage of the judgment-free environment of a rave to let loose your creativity — wear wacky, brightly colored clothing or even a costume. Angels, fairies, and cartoon characters are common costumes. Outfits and costumes sometimes consist of simply a bra-top and short shorts, plus accessories. With more skin-baring outfits, you can also use body paint. You can buy or make your costume, but don’t rent one, as it may well become dirty or damaged at some point during the rave.
For men, you can wear a simple jeans and t-shirt combination or amp up your everyday street wear with LED shirts or clothing items with loud colors and patterns. If you know you’ll be dancing or sweating a lot, you can wear jeans, pants or shorts with no shirt. You can also use body paint to draw creative patterns, prints or symbols on your chest, face, arms and legs. Costumes are also an option. You can dress up as anything from an animal to a mythological creature to a cartoon character. The point is to have fun and get creative. Again, buying a costume is better than renting, since you don’t know what condition it will be in at the end of the rave.
While rave wear from the ankles up is about expressing creativity, footwear should be about practicality. Raves can last for several hours and involve heavy dancing, jumping and standing, so comfortable shoes are a must. Wear sneakers, flats or comfortable boots. A rave can be held in outdoor areas such as muddy fields, so make sure that you wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Women who want to wear heels as part of a costume should opt for a platform or wedge heel rather than a stiletto. Also, invest in comfort insoles or shoe liners prior to a rave. Don’t wear a brand-new pair of shoes to a rave; instead, wear ones that are broken in and that you’re sure won’t cause discomfort or blisters.
Whether you’re in street clothes or a crazy costume, turn up the volume of your outfit with flashy, wild or wacky accessories, such as bracelets, necklaces and sunglasses. The name of the game for rave accessories is neon, so opt for anything bright, rainbow-colored or glowing. You can wear accessories with built-in LED lights, such as shoelaces, neckties, glasses and gloves, or glow sticks fashioned into bracelets, necklaces or headbands. You can also buy glow-in-the-dark jewelry or a glow-in-the-dark spray that you can use on your clothing or accessories. Some of these items may be sold at the rave, but with a significant markup, so it’s best to stock up beforehand.
References and ResourcesRave Ready: What to Wear to a Rave
Cosmopolitan: What to Wear to a Music Festival
LA Weekly: The Evolution of Rave Fashion
Friend Up Music: What to Wear to an EDM Event