Functional & Fabulous Fashion Tips for Burning Man

Hey there Burners, it’s July. This means you should be well on your way with your planning. Part of that planning is having the right clothes. You’ll want to pack items that serve you well in keeping you safe and comfortable in the harsh elements. But let’s be honest, it’s Burning Man. You want to party.

This is not a do’s and don’t list for the hottest desert trends. I encourage personal expression. The best way to fit in is to not fit in. Totally follow your heart when selecting your garments. Wear what you want to wear.

These are functional tips. They are to help make sure you are safe and comfortable. This, plus the Survival Guide, will only enhance your experience. Be you. Just a safe and comfortable you.

My main advice I have for daytime is to make sure you have plenty shade, water and block. People get fried by the sun, totally dehydrated and hit with heatstroke. It’s so not fun.

If you’re not close to a shade structure, make your own. Big straw sunhats or parasols will help protect you and add an extra layer of expression. If you wear a sunhat, make sure it is connect to you with a string tied around your chin. Wind comes and it’s gone.

DRINK YOUR WATER. The heat wicks up your sweat so fast you don’t even notice you’ve sweating. Drink that water because you’re losing more than your consuming. Hydration is good.

The key to nighttime is to pack some extra warmth. Early on it may seem like you don’t need it. But when it gets cold, it’s gets damn cold. Grab layers, too: a warm hat, a fluffy scarf, cozy mittens, whatever. They make a difference. Hats are always a great way to express yourself – can’t say enough about them. With a zany scarf and funky mittens, you’re styled.

Some people may not like this next tip, but I stand by it being good advice. Real fur is awesome for the playa. You know the one your grandma had and is sitting in the attic? Grab it. Or if you see one at an estate sale, that’s what I’m taking about. I do not encourage purchasing new fur. No need for that. But if there’s a vintage one within reach, I say grab it. Real fur keeps you warm, is sassy and is totally cozy. Also, it’s WAY functional. When was the last time you’ve seen an animal covered in dust? You haven’t. Bingo. Real fur doesn’t hold dust like synthetic fur.

Nighttime is the right time for adding lights to your clothes. So many reason to do this. First, you’ll be seen: as in not being hit but by another person on a bike. It’s completely dark out there. Adding lights to clothes is all about safety. It’s also frickin’ cool. Sew el-wire to a jacket or hat and you’ll get noticed. It doesn’t have to el-wire. Any battery powered light strand works. For lights I recommend sewing over gluing.

All The Time
Bring a backpack; but not just any old backpack. Bring one that’s totally unique. This is another layer of creativity. If you can’t find one that sings your vibe, add to one to make it your own. Any craft store will have fun add on’s that will convert a ho-hum into an oh-yeah. If you’re going to use glue, I recommend E6000. It’s pliable and holds up to the elements.

One thing I don’t put in my backpack are my goggles. I have them on me all the time: around my neck or head or over my hat. It’s nice to have easy access to them and your hands free. Your goggles are expressive as you, too. Make sure they protect your eyes and have some fun.

For style and function for the lips wear lipstick with SPF 30 lip protection. If lipstick part of your look, you’ll wear it. Meaning your sundrenched but protected lips will thank you at the end of the week.

Just a few days before you head in, get a gel manicure. This will protect your nails while looking fabulous. Go big. Go bright. Have fun. But I recommend cutting them down a little more than usually. You’re going to be using your hands a lot.

My feet advice has nothing to do with looks. It has everything to do with comfort and protection. I recommend keeping them clean, coated and covered.

Fill a spray bottle with 2/3rds water and 1/3 vinegar. Then add some essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus. Before you step out, spray your feet down and towel dry them dry. Then coat those babies with some sort of balm. I use Bag Balm. When I say coat, I mean coat. A nice thick layer. Next, socks. Last, shoes that cover your entire foot. Protect your feet. It’s worth it.

Where to find playful, fresh, sexy and unique clothes? It’s not going to be at chain stores or any place that shouts BURNING MAN CLOTHES. That’s for the masses. Hit up thrift stores, estate sales or garage sales. Or try sewing yourself. If that’s not an option, hire someone to help.

If anyone tries to convince you that you need something because every Burner has one, they are missing the point of self-expression. You can be sexy. You can be funny. You can be whatever you want. It’s about being you.


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