As a former luxury hotel reviewer, I never thought that I could ever survive the extreme conditions of Burning Man, a week-long festival in the middle of Black Rock desert. But this year, something was calling me to the playa. Burning Man is a welcoming event where judgements are left behind and free-spirited kindness is currency. The festival, which is dedicated to radical self-expression, art and creativity seemed like exactly what I needed during a year of many life changes and transitions.
At Burning Man, average city-life clothing just won't do. First of all, the weather conditions make for extreme heat in the day, and temperatures can drop to 35-40 degrees at night. There is an overwhelming amount of checklists and guides on the Internet that provide fashion tips on how to survive the environmental conditions, adhere to the cultural essence and yet, still stay true to your authentic sense of style.
After countless hours of scouring the web, I've compiled a list of fashionable pieces, perfect for the playa. While some think of their Burning Man wardrobe as costumes, I'd like to think of the outfits I've curated as an extension of my true style aesthetic. (Well, ok, maybe without the blinking lights.)
Photography by: AC Design House
For those looking to harness their inner rockstar, New York-based More is More designs badass hats, headdresses and body chains - each piece one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted.
Burning Man's environment is well-suited for a Mad Max, steampunk style. Fringe and leather make for a perfect combination in this handmade outfit by Wu Creations. The New York designers behind the brand designed it in the vain of the primal desert. Following in the footsteps of Burningman creatives, they create one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories harkening to post-apocalyptic undertones with a twist of glam
Queen of the Desert
This statement piece is fit for a queen. The sweltering desert heat means a lot of people go topless and adorn their bodies with big, bold accessories instead. Inspired by the necklace Charlize Theron wore in her famous Dior ad, this gold-faceted accessory is made of glass beads.
Flower crowns are staple festival wear, but the ones from Lucky Stardust take it up a notch. This shop makes handmade, custom-designed flower bras, tutus and accessories with intricately weaved-in LED lights, that easily transition from daywear to nightwear with the push of a button. Being illuminated for the pitch-black dark nights in the desert are an absolute must to ensure that you are visible to the thousands of people flying across the playa on bicycles, motorized scooters and art cars.
No festival wardrobe is complete without a boho chic-inspired outfit. This beautiful handmade headdress from Aumi NYC is a one-of-a-kind piece, and can be customized to order. Paired with an airy crepe romper and brushed gold sunnies from online shop, Primary. Light, breathable fabrics are key to surviving the scorching hot sun and extreme heat of the desert.
This look utilizes materials like leather, feather headdress and more. This yoke-style feather collar is inspired by Bastet, the lioness Egyptian goddess of war. The hand-crafted bandolier also doubles as a headdress. Designed by LA designer Marissa Christiansen of Haute Deity, who creates a unique collection of statement pieces, ponchos and other goddess-like festival wear.
Galactic Goth Ninja
This galactic goth inspired outfit is complete with these killer silver epaulettes with fringe detailing. Created by Katie Kansas, this lifestyle costume shop has all the gear you need for pre-sunrise dancing - from disco bodysuits to rainbow booty shorts.
Tutu Tuesday is a tradition at Burning Man and this outfit fits the theme perfectly with a blend of whimsical and feminine. This white, ethereal mermaid top with painted shells created by Cherry Topping is entirely hand-stitched and comes paired with an adjustable, flouncy tutu bottom.
Radical self-expression is one of the core principles at Burning Man. Essentially you have the freedom to wear whatever you please knowing that you are safe from judgement. I don't know about you, but if I dress up as a mermaid every day without odd stares I probably would. This mermaid bustle set with a matching parasol is handmade by Bali design shop Ladee Taha. She also sells a collection of leather handmade holsters and utility bags which are perfect for bike-riding around the playa.
For an easy, bohemian gypsy look, this feather headband from Spirit Tribe is a great accessory that can be worn various ways. From New Mexico, the artisan behind this shop hand makes tribal bohemian inspired jewelry, dream catchers, ceremonial pieces and festival wear.
Dance the night away with these fluffy, faux fur leg warmers that are wired with color-changing blinking lights. Electric Styles creates handcrafted, light-up apparel from el wire jumpers to LED shoes.
No festival is complete without a statement flower crown. Brow New York has been designing outfits, headdresses and statement pieces for burners for over a decade. This pastel flower headband was handmade with a customized elastic strap to ensure the accessory stays in place.
Cyberpunk Space Ninja
Weather on the playa can be violent and unpredictable. Dust storms, high winds, freezing temperatures and rain means it's better to be overly prepared.
Starting from the bottom up, these space white leggings by Kitana matches just about anything and are great for keeping warm on cold nights. Whether you want to be a galactic ninja or get your army-bot on, this New York designer creates badass bodysuits and accessories that provide luxurious utility. This faux fur vest comes equipped with sewn-in LED lights with a secret inside zipper stash pocket for the battery pack. The shop specializes in light up apparel, glow fur and fiber optic clothing. Dust storms are a fact of life in the desert and it's pertinent to have eye protection at all times. These leather steampunk goggles with brass spikes provide protection from the playa dust while accessorizing your outfit with flare.