Burning man Fashion – Gaining Confidence

Burning Man Series Part 2
by: Jessica v. Beusekom

Dressing for the Playa is a huge thing. No really.. it’s major. Google “burning man fashion” and you will find a huge number of over-the-top outfits. Following the principle of radical self-expression, the most important thing is to wear what you want and what you feel like wearing. A lot of people tend to believe that you need to dress a certain way for Burning Man, which is true: you need to wear whatever it is you want! The misconception is that one needs to follow a certain ‘dress code’ for Burning Man. Yes, there are definitely fashion trends amongst Burners, think of faux fur or steam punk, but don’t feel like you need to dress that way just because so many others are doing it.


So to help you out on your Burning Man fashion:

  • As mentioned, wear what you want. If you feel like something is way too outrageous for your likings, then don’t wear it. At the same time, don’t be afraid that something might be too over the top. There is no such thing as being overdressed at Burning Man.
  • You can buy some cool new stuff of course, but the most fun is when you get to DIY your own items and outfits. Check what you already have in your closet and see whether you can alter that. Go thrift shopping and upcycle whatever you can find.
  • Bring clothes that may get dirty and that may get ruined. The Playa dust is mean and some of your items might not make it back in the same condition, so leave your precious items at home.


Now, although you should wear what you want, there are defo a bunch of items that are a MUST:

  • A warm jacket: You might be in a desert where it can be 90°F (or 30°C) during the day, but don’t be mistaken.. it will get very cold during the nights, at times even below freezing point.
  • When you look at pictures of Burners, you will see most of them wearing goggles or ski masks. Yea, it might look cool, but it’s definitely more than a fashion statement: dust storms happen on the playa.. they happen all.. the fucking.. time! So to protect your eyes you must bring a pair of goggles or a ski mask.
  • Bring scarfs and bandanas for the same reason you bring goggles. When a dust storm hits, you’ll be happy you brought that scarf to cover your mouth and nose with.
  • Bring comfortable shoes. A certain pair of boots might look super cute or cool, but if they tend to get uncomfortable after wearing them for an hour, then leave them home. You will be on your feet all day at Burning Man, so it’s essential that you wear something that won’t leave you with blisters. Another thing that I can recommend is to wear shoes which are completely closed and that cover your feet at least up to your ankles. Playa dust contains alkaline, which will leave your skin super dry, and you really don’t want the skin between your toes to start cracking.
  • Following the principle of leaving no trace, DO NOT take items with you that have anything on them that can fall off. Think of glitters or feathers. Also, be respectful of others; cultural appropriation is not cool, so leave that feathered Native American headpiece at home.
  • Excess of clean socks: just trust me on this one. There is no such thing as too many socks on the playa.


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Around the time of my first Burn, I was very self-conscious about myself. I was uneasy with my body and the way I looked. I took a few cute things with me to the Playa, but ended up not wearing any, simply because I was not comfortable with my body.

A year later, I was in a completely different mindset. I was comfortable with who I was and how I looked, and it definitely showed. I felt way sexier and dressed a little more daring; bodysuits were defo my staple that year. I had a bunch of DIY ideas in my mind of what I wanted to wear, but unfortunately I started working on the outfits way too late and I didn’t manage to realize my ideas. Luckily, I already had a bunch of cute things at home, so I made it work.

So for this year, I made it my mission to at least have a few DIY items that I’ve been dying to make. After the last burn my head was overflowing with all these outfit ideas that I wanted to do. For me, dressing up at Burning Man is like transforming into the fantasy version of me. I work in a corporate environment, which tends to be all about blazers, button-ups and formal shoes, and although I rebel and rarely dress like a white-collar worker, Burning Man is that one time where I can bring all my alter egos to life.

I have been working on a bunch of outfits.. all completely different, yet all expressing different sides of me. I’ve let my creativity flow and I am excited to wear them upcoming burn. It’s only 4 more months until the burn, so if you haven’t started working on your outfits yet, it’s time to get to it!

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