Fashion drives rave music culture
Weâve all seen the scare-tactic videos that warn people against âout-of-controlâ rave dances: Grainy footage taken from a small camera hidden in a bag, blurred-out faces of teenagers in an underground cave somewhere in the middle of God-knows-where, doing drugs to the point of death, strobe lights flashing and sex happening right in the middle of the dance floor.
This is what I thought a rave was. You know, a bunch of weird, bored kids listening to weird music doing weird things and, by the looks of their sweat, smelling very weird. Upon moving to Los Angeles, however, I soon found out that those old videos are just plain wrong. Now, I canât vouch for how raves are in other places â they very well could be just like the ones depicted in those videos. But, the ones out here are quite simply some of the best events that anyone could possibly go to.
I promise Iâm not a âraver:â Trust me, I know those people who are professional ravers, who pick out their outfits months in advance, who think that Beyond Wonderland is actually the start of the new year. I am not that person. I am, however, a girl who got hooked on raves for two reasons: The music and, of course, the fashion.
You might have guessed by now that since this is a fashion column, Iâm just going to skip over describing how good the music is. But, take my advice: Spend a few minutes downloading some Crookers, Skrillex, Tommy Trash and, my personal favorite, Major Lazer.
More significantly, this Saturday, the farewell tour of Swedish House Mafia comes to Los Angeles State Historic Park. When my mom asked what that meant, I told her it was as if Barry Manilow decided to go on a goodbye tour. Swedish House Mafia is God for a large number of electronic dance music fans, just like Barry Manilow is … whatever he is for middle-aged women.
If you ask around campus, Iâd go out on a limb here and say that an insane amount of people are going. This might turn out to be the event of the year. This will be the night that USC students cause Instagram to crash. If you havenât purchased your ticket yet, donât worry â there are still some available on Stubhub for a cool $200.
Now youâve got your ticket and, hopefully, a basic knowledge of the music. So what do you wear? Youâve seen the photos: Sparkly bras, thongs, furry boots, weird-but-awesome panda hats. Remember that line about âprofessional raversâ? If you see any of the above, then you know who youâre dealing with.
There are two reasons why I donât wear just a bra to raves. First of all, sh-t gets sweaty. And the last thing I want is to rub up against that random sweaty â and shirtless â guy trying to do the shuffle even though there are literally thousands of people packed up against him. Second of all, I know I donât have a six-pack, and it should be a general rule that you canât wear solely a bra and thong in public unless your body resembles that of Kate Upton. Sorry to break it to you, but itâs not a cute look.
Keep the theme in mind, however. HARD Haunted Mansion is always Halloween themed, so youâll see lots of costumes and Day of the Dead makeup. Swedish House Mafiaâs last tour is masquerade-themed, so you can expect to see some pretty cool masks picked up for 99 cents in the fashion district. Gather your friends together and do something as a group.
You also want to make sure that your outfit matches the event in terms of its scale. Escape From Wonderland, held in San Bernadino with haunted mansions, several stages and a laundry list of top-notch DJs? Go all out. Crookers in the small, indoor Santa Ana Observatory? No, youâre not allowed to wear nipple tassels. You donât want to be that person whoâs overdressed â or underdressed. Wearing what you want is fine, but just make sure that the outfit matches the occasion.
The most important thing, however, is to make sure that your outfit is as comfortable as can be. Though neon tanks are apparently all the rage, it should be a general life rule that guys can only wear white or black tanks to raves because, letâs face it, you get sweaty and you donât want it to show. Iâd also stick to jeans: I once saw a guy in a head-to-toe leotard, and Iâm sure he regretted it later.
If youâre not one to run to the bedazzled bra section of Victoriaâs Secret just for a concert, I suggest a simple uniform of a cute, but comfortable shirt â and one that you donât mind getting possibly ruined. Closed-toe shoes are also a must: Sure, you might think that sandals are cute, but you wonât when your toenails pop off from someone âaccidentallyâ jumping up and down on them. And make sure that your purse/fanny pack is hands-free. Iâd suggest a crossbody type to make it easier to dance. Youâre going to be standing for hours â make sure that your clothes are the last thing youâre worrying about.
My sister once asked me why I liked raves, and my response was pretty simple: They always feature a sense of community, of passion, of excitement. Yes, raves are about the music, but letâs be real here: the process of dressing up is just as important. Clothes are an expression of who we are as dance fans and itâs our duty to be as creative as we can be. Have you ever heard of a boring raver?
This is your chance to show your true colors. Anything that youâre afraid of in your âeverydayâ life could be transformative in your nightlife. Even if you decide to go the bra-and-thong route, no one will judge you. Everyoneâs there for one reason: to listen to music and to have a great time. No oneâs there to hate on you â for once, itâs all about peace, love and happiness.
So take out your best angel wings, find your best frat hat and get ready to party as soon as the beat drops.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in Critical Studies. Her column âA Stitch In Timeâ runs Tuesdays.