The main purpose of pride festivals is to celebrate love, diversity, and equality. It’s also about individuality and self-expression, so what better way to attend a fabulous event than in a fabulous outfit, complete with fabulous accessories?
Many pride festival goers usually go all out and make a statement through colorful outfits and various accessories such as the pride flag, hats, shoes, socks, sunglasses, jewelry, bandannas, glow sticks, and more.
To help you prepare for the festivities, we’ve compiled 10 of the best accessories you can wear for a pride festival, with some careful considerations. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned attendee, wearing the right accessories can help you look your best while staying pleasant and comfortable.
Pride Festivals: Where Did It All Start?
Following the historic events of the Stonewall riots in 1969, the first ever Gay Pride Parades took place in the states of New York, California, and Chicago in 1970. Thousands of LGBT+ individuals attended the event to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising and stand up for their rights.
The demonstration for equal rights and other liberation movements that took place afterward were a result of decades-long organizing and activism by LGBT+ individuals.
Pride parades and festivals still take inspiration from the “Reminder Day Pickets” events that were celebrated every 4th of July from 1965 to 1969 at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Today, members of the LGBT+ community continue to fight for acceptance and equality through these celebrations.
Making a Statement: Pride Fashion Through the Years
Since the beginning of time, people have been expressing themselves through the clothes and accessories they wear. Pride fashion is no exception.
Queer fashion has evolved through the years, with glamor, creativity, and diversity being the key factors to expressionism during Pride festivals. From chill get-ups to full-on drag, a pride event is the best avenue for all types of queer folk to showcase their creativity.
The president of the Indiana Fashion Foundation, Michael Weston, says that flowy clothing, metallics, avant-garde fashion, and other feminine styles that showcase diversity and glamor are still prevalent during Pride festivals.
“Expressionism in general, how we show up as well as how we’re seen, makes a huge difference in how people perceive us,” Weston said. “From there, the basis of these Pride events was the ability of queer folk to express themselves, and style and fashion are so closely related to that. Dressing androgynously, in drag, or similar styles are just art of the conversation about what Pride even is.”
He continues that a notable portion of Pride’s inspiration for fashion goes way back to the events at Stonewall Inn (one of the first-ever gay bars) in the 1960s where members of the LGBTQ+ community could dress however they wanted.
The Evolution of Pride Fashion: A Breakdown Per Decade
Here’s a breakdown of iconic Pride festival fashion throughout the decades:
The iconic rainbow flag, now the LGBTQ +’s symbol of solidarity, emerged in the 70s and began to appear in clothing and accessories that pride festival goers wore. Wide-collar and statement t-shirts, aviator-style sunglasses, and high-platform shoes were also the rage during this time. Don’t forget those fun bell-bottom pants adorned with all sorts of colors and patterns!
Denim and leather were prevalent in 80’s pride fashion, as popularized by the 1980 film “Cruising”. It would be common to see festival goers sporting leather jackets and vests, plus accessories like harnesses.
Outfits were also inspired by punk and new wave music – edgy outfits, bold makeup, and studded belts were rampant.
But 80’s fashion wasn’t all dark, neon colors were also very in! Neon tights, headbands, and other colorful accessories were also commonly worn.
Pride festival outfits were more relaxed in the 90s where cropped tops and high-waisted bottoms were considered trendy. The grunge movement also had a major influence on pride fashion with plenty of festival-goers sporting flannel shirts and Doc Martens.
In the late 90s, colorful, futuristic, and highly revealing outfits known as clubwear were common, as influenced by the rise of electronic dance music.
The turn of the century brought in new styles for pride festival fashion.
The emo and scene aesthetic were big around this time where band shirts, skinny jeans, punk hairstyles, and other edgy fashion trends were prevalent during this time. Later on, cyberpunk fashion became the trend, wherein tech-inspired getups with metallic and neon accents were all the rage.
In the 2000s, alternative drag was also introduced. Queens attended festivals sporting various styles from simple punk to full glamor, and everything in between.
In current times, you can witness festival goers going for gender-fluid get-ups, and wearing outfits that defy traditional gender norms. Modern pride fashion consists of clothing and accessories that support all identities of the LGBTQ+ community.
Comfort in Glamour: Top Considerations for Choosing Pride Festival Accessories
A pride festival is a huge event that usually lasts a weekend. You’re gonna have to deal with large crowds, so before we get to the accessories, we want to impart you with a few reminders to ensure that you’re safe and comfortable (while still looking fantastic!).
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing accessories to wear for a Pride festival:
- Safety: When going to any big event, it’s important to practice safety. When you attend a pride festival, be sure to use accessories that won’t pose a safety hazard for yourself and other attendees.
- Comfort: Sure, we know you’d love to look fierce and fab, but you’ll be on your feet for most of the day, so be sure to prioritize comfort. Choose accessories that won’t make you uncomfortable or weigh you down!
- Weather Conditions: It’s essential to check the weather forecast for the day of the pride festival so that you can choose accessories suitable for the climate. It’s also important to come prepared no matter what the forecast says – always bring an umbrella, sun protection, and rain gear to be extra safe!
- Versatility: To ensure that you look fab whether it rains or shines, go for versatile accessories that allow for easy adjusting, removing, or layering if conditions change throughout the day.
- Durability: Make sure that the accessories you use or wear are durable. Festivals can be lengthy and full of energy, so go for ones that won’t get easily damaged!
- Visibility: Accessories can help you make a statement and stand out from the crowd, so opt for accessories that are bright, bold, and will elevate your outfit. If possible, choose items that are visible from a distance.
- Theme: If the event has a theme, show your support by aligning your outfit and accessories according to it. If you’re attending with friends, it would be fun to coordinate your accessories with them to create cohesive and impactful looks!
10 Cute Accessories You Can Wear or Use for Pride Festival
1 – The Pride Flag
You can’t attend a pride festival without a pride flag, or at least an accessory with its colors.The pride flag was originally designed by Gilbert Baker, an openly gay man and a drag queen, in 1978. It became the global symbol of the LGBTQ + community.
Each color in the flag represented the following:
- Red – Life
- Orange – Healing
- Yellow – Sunlight
- Green – Nature
- Indigo – Harmony
- Violet – Spirit
In 2018, the LGBTQ + community introduced the ‘progress pride flag’, wherein each color represents a marginalized group within the community. Now, everyone can sport a flag according to how they identify.
At the festival, you have the option to wave an actual flag or wear it as an accessory like a pin, badge, patch, and the like.
2 – Headwear
The best thing about hats and other headgear – you can choose one according to your style! From a simple baseball hat to an elaborate headpiece, headwear is one of the best accessories you can wear at a pride festival.
Choose headwear that will complement your outfit. You can purchase a ready-made one or make your own, like this adorable rainbow tie-dye cap!
Hats, caps, and headpieces can also help provide shade from the sun during festivities.
3 – Footwear
Footwear that allows for comfortable walking is a must during pride festivals if you don’t want to end up with blisters! You can choose from walking shoes, sandals, or trainers, whichever suits your outfit and style.
If you plan to wear something elaborate, you can wear your fancy shoes for picture purposes, but be sure to bring an extra pair of comfy shoes for walking later on. Don’t forget to bring an extra pair of socks, too!
4 – Bag
A bag is another versatile accessory that can elevate an outfit. You can choose a bag that matches your get-up or adds a flair to it.
However, if you’ve been to a pride festival before, you know that you can get lots of freebies such as pamphlets, cookies, and condoms, so be sure that your bag is roomy enough to fit all the free stuff you can get.
Tote bags, bum bags, or drawstring bags with a print of the pride flag or a rainbow-colored heart are a popular choice because they’re lightweight, comfortable, and make a statement.
5 – Sunglasses
Sunglasses are also a must at pride festivals. Not only will they provide your eyes with protection from the sun, but they can add a stylish touch to your outfit.
You can opt to wear aviator-style sunglasses that will go with any style, or go for a more fun and quirky piece like rainbow sunglasses to make a bold statement.
6 – Bandanna
Like many of the accessories above, bandannas are also dual-purpose – they can provide a nice accent to your outfit and can also be used to safeguard your face from harmful UV rays or wipe your sweat.
Bandannas can be worn in various ways – as a headband, as a hair tie, around the neck, and more. Go for a color or pattern that compliments your outfit or use an LGBT-themed one!
7 – Sweatbands
Speaking of wiping your sweat, sweatbands are great accessories for the pride festival, especially when the sun is scorching hot. You can expect to see many attendees sporting cute bands in rainbow colors!
8 – Jewelry
You can wear a simple outfit and it will instantly look elevated just by accenting it with some jewelry
When we say jewelry, we’re referring to earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, regardless of their quality. Pieces of jewelry are a staple in any outfit, more so in a festival where outfits range from casual chic to elaborate costumes.
Feel free to wear any type of jewelry that can make your outfit cuter, just be mindful of comfort and safety. Perhaps large hoop earrings aren’t the most ideal for an event where large crowds are full of energy!
9 – Hand Fans
You’ve probably caught on by now – it’s going to be hot at the festival (depending on where you are located and when you celebrate Pride month in your country), so you have to come prepared.
Traditional hand fans are great for making a bold statement, but in recent times, those cute battery-powered handheld fans have been a popular accessory to bring to outdoor events. Trust us, you’ll thank us later!
10 – Face Paint
Wearing face paint (or body paint!) is another awesome way to demonstrate your support for the community while looking fab! Some attendees paint most of their body in pride colors, but if you’re feeling hesitant, you can start with a small painting of the pride flag on your face.
The design for face paint is limitless, so if you can’t express your personality through a big outfit, do so using paint!
The same goes for make-up – you can expect queens to be wearing their signature drag makeup. You can opt to wear makeup in a fun, bold way if you’re not a fan of paint!
Accessorizing for a pride festival is personal. In the end, it all comes down to how they can elevate your outfit while providing comfort and safety. This will not only allow you to look your best but also fully enjoy the festival experience!