How to Dress for a Rave -- Women

Rave fashion ranges from tribal beads to space-inspired garb.
Rave fashion ranges from tribal beads to space-inspired garb. (Image: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The key to dressing for a rave lies in capturing the essence of the event. Forward-thinking, futurist fashion reflects the electronic beats while bold and bright clothes capture the rave's excessive, celebratory nature. While celebration and self-expression play heavily into rave culture, ravers also act as one pulsating organism. To that effect, taking fashion cues that have been established for decades helps you stay stylistically in-tune with seasoned ravers -- even if it's your first time on the floor.

Up Top

When choosing a top for a rave, think about movement. Baggy, low-cut T-shirts with short sleeves make for a visually stimulating choice as they flow on the dance floor, especially with bright colors, bold graphics or audacious patterns. On the flip side, a neon crop-top -- or even a bikini top, if you're feeling racy -- keeps you plenty flexible. For cooler weather, you can't go wrong with a playful hoodie in a primary color, or one with an ironic graphic. For a truly excessive touch, try a cropped jacket in neon-hued faux fur.

Down Below

Hip-hop-inspired bottoms such as baggy sweats or drop-crotch pants fit the bill for rave-approved bottoms. For a sexier style, dress down with booty shorts or a tutu, the latter of which captures rave culture's blend of whimsical and sexual. Candy-colored leggings or those with a chunky, colorful geometric pattern strike a balance between stylish and danceable, as do knee-highs. Pair a long, flowing skirt with your crop top, especially if it has a psychedelic print.

Ecstatic Accessories

Raves embrace a child-like exuberance and your jewelry should reflect this. You can't go wrong with plentiful layers of brightly colored plastic accessories, including numerous snug bracelets and varying sizes of beaded necklaces. Glowing plastic jewelry is another essential, while suspenders and vests add additional pop to your ensemble. Keep your footwear dance-friendly with canvas kicks, 90s-inspired high-tops or glittered-out ballet flats. Use primary and neon colors for your makeup and add child-like hair clips, temporary tattoos and stickers to complete the look.

A Wild Touch

Over-the-top, party-friendly accents really top off the rave ensemble. Trinkets hung from necklaces, such as plastic whistles or the classic pacifier, are rave staples. A small backpack holds all your essentials and serves as a statement piece, particularly if it features a wild graphic or takes the shape of your favorite pop-culture cartoon. Deck out your head with a rainbow headband or tight, tinted goggles, or choose clothes with built-in electronic lights for a sci-fi touch. If you're out of ideas for accessories, remember this time-tested rave rule: glitter and sequins go on everything.

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