In the run-up to Leeds Festival at Bramham Park, Stephanie Smith has tips on all-weather outdoor style as we move into autumn.
The August Bank Holiday weekend is always hard to plan for, on the cusp of summer and autumn, but this year it look as if it’s going to be more unpredictable than ever, as the balmy sunshine of the July and the Commonwealth Games becomes an increasingly distant memory.
Weekends at the seaside, canal boat holidays, a short break to visit friends in the country, or maybe a planned event such as an arts or music festival – all can prove a challenge to dress for, when you have no idea whether you can expect to be pelted by rain, buffeted by wind or baked by the sun (or all three).
Most music festivals are, quite sensibly, held in early to mid summer in the UK, recognising that this holds the best chance of two or three whole days of relatively mild weather (absolutely no guarantee, of course).
But in Yorkshire, we like to live on the edge, so Leeds Festival takes place towards the end of summer, this year on August 22-24, at Bramham Park. With a line-up including Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Disclosure, The Horrors, The Kooks, Vampire Weekend, Bombay Bicycle Club and comedian Simon Amstell, there’s a stylishly eclectic mix appealing to a wide audience of music lovers.
The camping side for most festivals has developed stylishly too in recent years and at Leeds there are accommodation packages that include tents, tee-pees and boutique camping in chalets (or the Queen’s Hotel, if you don’t want any risk whatsoever of being caught under canvas in overnight storms).
Mod cons such as hair-dryers and even hair irons are often included in festival camp provisions, just as you would expect on posh, modern camp-sites.
So, there’s no excuse to let your style standards drop, that’s what I’m saying.
The advantage of going to a festival at the end of August means you can dip into the new season fashion collections, and in particular, the outerwear.
The parka has had a serious revival and revamp for the coming autumn/winter, becoming more streamlined and sleek, which makes it a perfect topping for this year’s festival fashions of katftan tops and shorts, or lace and retro mini dresses, especially if you choose a longer line, fishtail back hem parka in a grey or khaki.
Capes and ponchos are also on their way in for autumn, doubling as handy throws and blankets (so maybe don’t take really high-end designer styles – check out the lower price point end of the High Street for washable fabrics).
And don’t miss the tail-end of the sales. White Stuff has a great sale going as I write, with lots of handy knits and light outerwear reduced, as well as its timeless cotton summer separates. You might only get to wear them once or twice this year, but put them away and you’ll be all set for next year’s festival line-ups.