When you think of a rave, what comes to mind? Perhaps you imagine bright colors, outrageous costumes, crazy accessories, glow sticks, and body paint.
All of the above can make a rave outfit fun, exciting, and possibly picture-worthy. Raves give new meaning to the phrase “dress to impress” in all the best ways.
So, how do you go about crafting the ideal rave outfit for your next event? Whether you’re a first-timer or desperate for something new, this guide will get you on track to an incredible ensemble.
What to Wear to a Rave
Deciding what to wear to raves depends heavily on the venue and time. What you wear to an outdoor music festival in the middle of summer is not the same as an outfit for an overnight, indoor party in the middle of winter.
Ideas for Outdoor, Summer Rave Attire
Being cool and comfortable is key for outdoor summer concerts. While it can be awesome to do a body paint rave outfit, it’s not always practical or advisable, especially since you’ll likely sweat a lot.
- Comfortable, lightweight, and breathable clothing, like cotton or linen. Bathing suits are sometimes helpful for keeping cool and running through sprinklers.
- Sneakers or comfortable shoes are practical but don’t always fit your aesthetic, so you might want to dress them up a bit.
- Bright or neon colors add to the fun atmosphere and help you stand out.
- Accessorize as much as you like! Sunglasses, hats, and bandanas protect you from the sun and heat, but they also look the part.
Check the event’s website and social media for ideas about what other people wear or have worn in the past.
Ideas for an Indoor Rave
Picking through things to wear to a rave inside can be overwhelming because there are so many options to pick from. You don’t have to worry about the elements, but you might have to worry about keeping cool with so many bodies around.
Indoor raves might be more about a specific costume or theme. For example, a steampunk affair would have lots of metal and leather blended Victorian-era attire and unique accessories, like steampunk goggles.
- Neon bodysuits are popular because they stand out in a crowd. Plus, you can easily accessorize them with fun makeup, statement jewelry, glow sticks, and platform shoes.
- Glitter and sequins pack a punch and leave you shimmering on the dance floor.
- Crop tops are cool, comfortable, and fashionable. You can also layer them as needed
- Fishnet and mesh garments are staples of the rave scene. Mix and match almost anything from tights and leggings to bralettes.
- Holographic and metallic pieces work well with futuristic themes and look incredible under the lights.
- Top off any outfit with the right rave hats to show off your personality and bring them together.
Don’t forget the accessories! Statement pieces like chunky jewelry and other add-ons can make a good outfit into something legendary.
- Funky backpack, fanny packs, and bags
- Luminescent lollipops
- Illuminated specs
- Masquerade masks
- Battery-powered fairy lights on bendable wires.
When it comes to dressing for a rave, the possibilities are endless. From bright colors and sparkles to comfy fabrics and statement pieces, there's something for everyone.
What Not to Wear
Depending on the setting, some materials and accessories become hazardous and can spoil your evening. While most things fly at most events, there are a few items to leave at home for a different occasion.
- High heels and stilettos look incredible, but they aren’t practical in most settings. Don’t wear them for a night of dancing and walking because your feet will hurt and you could get injured.
- Heavy or bulky clothing gets uncomfortable fast. Not only does it hinder your ability to move around, but it also gets too hot.
- Long or flowy skirts and dresses might look fantastic at a summer music festival, but they can be problematic in some settings. It’s easy to get tangled up with other people and trip.
- Expensive or sentimental jewelry can easily get lost or broken in the rave crowds.
- Offensive and insensitive clothing goes against the premise of inclusivity and diversity that’s fundamental to the rave scene.
- Go light with the perfume and cologne to avoid offending everyone around you.
- Be wary about too-tight clothing that can restrict movement and make it too difficult to breathe.
- Many venues discourage wearing open-toed shoes due to the risk of injury.
Comfort and security should be paramount when deciding what to wear for a rave, but always consider the themes and setting. What works for one event might be a bad idea for another one.
Outfit Ideas for Different Styles of Raves
Consider the theme when choosing your rave outfit. Thinking of things to wear to a rave can be challenging when the theme is broad, so here are a few ideas to help.
- Neon is one of the most popular themes, it’s often referred to as EDM or techno with a lot of lights. Pair a neon bodysuit with bright accessories or a plain crop top with bright shorts or leggings. Top everything off with neon sunglasses and accessories.
- Space-themed raves call for metallic and holographic attire. Grab a silver, platinum or holographic top with black bottoms and futuristic accessories.
- Fantasy-themed raves call for your best fairies, dragons, and wizards so bring on the magic. Pair dreamy, lightweight fabrics, like a colorful tutu with fairy wings and flowers.
- Animal print clothing works for almost any rave theme. Wear a leopard or zebra print crop top with black leggings and a denim jacket.
- The 80s and 90s-themed raves focus on retro looks with big hair, lots of makeup, and bright colors mellowed with denim, windbreakers, or flannels.
- Hippie-inspired raves bring back the Woodstock vibes and almost anything bohemian, flowing, fringy, and flowery will fly. It’s all about peace and love.
- Masquerade themes tend to be more elegant with an air of mystery. Stick with dark colors highlighted in metallics and add a mask for good measure.
- Steampunk and cyberpunk raves love the mix of punk, Victorian, and futuristic elements. They have similar aesthetics, often mixed up, but think leather, metals, gears, and clocks.
This list is nowhere near comprehensive, but it should serve as a starting point for crafting your next rave outfit. Find out the theme, or choose your own, and work from there.
Aftercare for Your Outfit
You spent so much time crafting your outfit that it would be a shame to let it go to waste after a single use. It’s better to clean it up and store it for a future rave.
Caring for Clothes
Be prepared to do repairs after the rave if something inevitably goes wrong, falls off, breaks open, or ends up stained. Keep a repair kit at home and fix what you can before storing the outfit for next time. Discard any items you can’t fix and properly clean the rest.
If you have any delicate fabrics such as lace or sequins, hand-wash them using a mild soap solution. Once finished washing, hang dry all of your clothes in an area away from direct sunlight for best results.
Finally, store each item separately in garment bags. You can also store items in boxes or drawers lined with acid-free tissue paper to keep them safe until next time.
Caring for Shoes and Accessories
It’s also important to take care of your shoes and accessories after wearing them at a rave. To start off, wipe down any leather materials with a damp cloth before allowing them to air dry completely – this will help preserve their color over time.
For sneakers made out of fabric or mesh material, use warm water mixed with mild detergent when cleaning, then allow plenty of time for drying afterward as well.
Use jewelry cleaner for any metal pieces, like necklaces or earrings. Sweating in them could cause damage, so it’s better to clean them up before putting them away.
With some basic sewing skills (or even just some fabric glue), most minor damages can easily be fixed up quickly without much effort involved, making sure that no matter what kind of outfit you choose for raving purposes, it will always look its best every single time.
FAQs About What to Wear to a Rave
Still wondering what you should wear to the next rave? We tried answering some of your questions in the following section:
What should you not wear to a rave?
Avoid wearing anything too revealing or overly casual such as shorts and tank tops.
Instead, opt for clothing that is more comfortable yet still stylish. Think of bright colors, funky patterns, and statement pieces like chunky jewelry or bold accessories.
Remember to stay away from clothes that are too tight or restrictive, as they can be uncomfortable in the crowded environment of a rave.
Ultimately, steer clear of any clothing that features obscene or offensive graphics; this could draw unwelcome notice and detract from the general experience at the rave.
Should I wear jeans to rave?
Wearing jeans to a rave is, usually, not recommended. Jeans are typically too restrictive and uncomfortable for dancing and can be quite hot in the club environment.
They also do not allow your body to move freely or express yourself as much as other materials like spandex or lycra. For these reasons, it's best to opt for more comfortable clothing when attending a rave.
If you don’t want to wear skirts or shorts, consider baggy pants, such as Harem pants.
Why do ravers dress like that?
Raving is an expression of individualism and freedom. The eclectic mix of clothing styles, colors, textures, and accessories is a way for ravers to express themselves and stand out from the crowd.
Many people choose to wear bright colors or neon-colored items as a way to be seen in the dark environment of raves. Additionally, some may opt for more outlandish pieces, such as furry boots or animal masks to create an atmosphere that is both fun and unique.
Ultimately, ravers dress however they want to express their own personal style while having fun with friends at events.
What should I wear to a rave on my period?
When attending a rave on your period, it's important to wear something comfortable and breathable.
Choose clothing that won't chafe or irritate your skin while you dance. For maximum comfort, pick pieces such as flowy leggings, lightweight shorts, floaty skirts, and soft dresses crafted from fabrics like cotton or spandex.
For added comfort, layer up with a tank top or t-shirt under the dressier pieces. Avoid wearing tight jeans or restrictive clothing that can cause discomfort when dancing all night long.
Lastly, don’t forget to bring extra protection in case of any accidents - keep some pads and/or tampons handy just in case.
Make a Statement at Your Next Rave
No matter the event, it's essential that you dress in something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Be sure to consider the environment and dress appropriately for the style of music being played.
Don't forget to take care of your outfit after a night out, too - wash any clothes that may have been exposed to sweat or spilled drinks, and store accessories in a safe place.
Do you need a few things to round out your rave outfit? Head to Rave or Sleep to find everything you need from clothing to accessories.