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Fashion faux-pas to fend off at music festivals

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A group of friends jump rope on the first day of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on Friday, April 11, 2014. (Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

A group of friends jump rope on the first day of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on Friday, April 11, 2014. (Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Most people say that with festival fashion anything goes, but let’s be real: that’s not always the case. The festival circuit has seen some outfits that have garnered weird looks or even stirred some controversy. Here’s our guide on what not to wear this music festival season.

First and foremost: the bindi. It doesn’t matter how many celebrities – namely Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez – have worn them. The bindi is traditionally worn between the eyebrows, placed there to represent the third eye. It is worn most commonly in South Asia, especially in areas that practice Hinduism, and represents intellect and spiritual depth. Its intended uses do not include making your outfit original and cute for a music fest, so unless you are practicing Hinduism, please just do not wear one.

Next on the list are Native American headdresses. This style has been seen at festivals and fashion shows for years and it never fails to stir up some serious criticism. Many Native Americans compare donning one of these to “blackface,” explaining that it is deeply offensive to Native cultures. If you can come up with a justification for your fashion choice despite these facts, please let me know, because I can’t think of one.

There are, of course, other outfits that you can don that will probably end in disaster even without being offensive. For one, avoid wearing a see-through maxi dress with the wrong undergarments. These dresses require a slip, preferably of matching color, so if you don’t have one, don’t put on the dress.

Another fashion mishap waiting to happen is wearing a fringed, midriff-exposing tank top, especially when self-cut. The look doesn’t work for everyone, but for best results, be sure to pair it with high-waisted shorts or a cute maxi skirt.

The next big offense is not wearing pants. We can’t all be Lady Gaga. Yes, it’s summer and getting a tan line from shorts can be a hassle to even out, but that doesn’t give you the clearance to wear nothing but bikini bottoms. Unless the festival is on the beach and you can feel the sand between your toes, save the bathing suit for a different occasion.

Although left-of-center prints and patterns are definitely in this summer, neon is out. Maybe it worked in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but that is no longer the case, so please leave the electric colors at home this year.

Aside from these few bad fashion choices, there are tons of other options for your festival outfit – and almost everything else goes. So whether you go for a relaxed bohemian look, or a summer-ready look that’s a bit edgier, take the above advice into account (especially with the bindi and Native American headdresses) and you’re in the clear to look great and have an unforgettable time at any music festival from Boston Calling to Lollapalooza.

Adria Kelly-Sullenger can be reached at [email protected]

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