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How to Dress at Concerts for Comfort, Lookin' Cool and Getting a Drink

Proper rave attire: Skin and bright colors.
Proper rave attire: Skin and bright colors.
MAEGAN PUETZ

When you go to a concert, which is purportedly a collection of like-minded people on the grounds that you're all there to see a particular thing you personally enjoy, you have two choices. You can either dress like you think everyone else will, or you can shout "FUCK IT" into the mirror and dress entirely the opposite way. The middle ground, where you try for either and totally misjudge it, is where madness lies. Here's a guide to the etiquette of dressing for a concert.

• Your decision between assimilation and outrage may rest on the perceived violence of the crowd at the concert. Should you, a large hairy man, decide to wear a fancy frilly pink dress to a Kid Rock show, then your cross-dressing may not be met with the same warm acceptance by the tank-top wearing masses as it would be in other more enlightened crowds.

• Guys, jeans and a T-shirt are acceptable for 90 percent of gigs. However, don't go wearing a T-shirt of the band you're there to see. Then you're a try-hard, and no one wants to French kiss one of them. The ladies will instead flock to the man with the T-shirt promoting a band that is one of the group in question's major influences. For instance, at a Tool show, wear a King Crimson shirt. The women will never stop admiring your musical knowledge and prowess.

• At a rave, grab the item of clothing that is simultaneously the most revealing and the most colorful. If like me you are colorblind and unable to figure out what is blazingly colorful and what is not then simply light yourself on fire, thus guaranteeing you are the stand-out individual and almost certainly the one with the most flesh on display (this is dependent on the duration of the fire).

• If you find yourself at the other end of the spectrum (so to speak) attending the kind of show where the only acceptable color you can wear is black, then you have two opportunities. One, anything other than black will make you astonishingly easy to find, which is a boon to your group of friends, and two, you will get served at the bar faster while all the black-wearing people with black hair and black make-up blend into a sea of black.

• My wife, who I feel like is an example to us all, is determined to find a pretty dress for every occasion. She recently managed to find a dress that was suitable for both The Polyphonic Spree and Cannibal Corpse on one recent downtown music marathon evening. Jeff Mangum? Dress. Mastodon? Dress. She doesn't even have that many dresses. It's testament to her courage, self-conviction and ability to convincingly argue with people that, yes, this works fine. These are qualities we could all do with more of.

• If it's a music festival, for goodness' sakes, only take things you are comfortable getting destroyed. You see that paint-splattered T-shirt you used last time you redecorated? By the third day of a camping festival it's going to be the best-looking piece of clothing on the whole site. Those shoes that are falling apart? What's three more days! You didn't need your toes anyway! Coachella being declared "all-nude" is only a few years away, so get a head start.

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