If your knowledge of rave culture stopped sometime in the 1995 film canon, it's time to get out.
This decade is all about house and dubstep music, and raves have been born anew as major outdoor dance festivals. Identity Festival first came to Tampa in 2011, bringing some of the coolest names in electronic music. It returns Friday to the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in an 8-hour spectacle featuring Eric Prydz, Wolfgang Gartner, Excision and Showtek.
Fashion at these shows is everything, and fortunately we're living in a bold Nicki Minajian style era. Some runway couture this year had a total 1990s vibe, with neon stripes, wild wigs, pigtails and facial gems. But you can also find neon tank tops and striped socks at your local Target.
We don't want it to get awkward when you see the inevitable Green Man bodysuit behind you in the beer line. Here are some tips for dressing like you mean it at Identity Festival.
Oh, you like white polos and khaki pants? Well, stay on the beach for your family photo session. You need color. Pulsating hot pink. Sour lime green. Bodacious lemon yellow. You need to assault your eyes and the eyes of those around you until you see day-glo orange floaters when you blink. Snag rave lights and LED light gloves at emazinglights.com. Search "neon" at Forever 21's website and you'll get 229 results in a hot second. Get thee to the mall.
Furry leg warmers
No, that girl isn't overdue for a wax. Fuzzy leg warmers are a staple at electronic music festivals. They narrow at the knee and flare out, obscuring your shoes, which is good since your comfiest sneakers are going to be the best option for the hours of dancing. Yandy.com is a blinding source for furry leg warmers in every incarnation from magenta striped to green leopard print.
Right, we know. Then why furry leg warmers? We don't have all the answers, but we do know sweltering summer shows are not the time to revisit those skintight pleather pants. Most girls pair leg warmers or knee socks with bikini tops, tiny tutus or scandalously small boy shorts. Just want to wear your bra? Totes cool. At a Kaskade tour stop in Miami, some ladies opted for body paint, the most refreshing of sartorial options.
With your abdomen free and clear, you can focus on overheating your head. Animal ears, fluorescent wigs and fuzzy hoods are the stuff of rave dreams. At amiclubwear.com, you can order a full two-piece monster costume with pink leg warmers, an orange tutu dress and a one-eyed monster hood with dangling pom poms for $66.99. Or you can buy a deluxe unicorn hood at yandy.com for $78.95. The mystical power of the horn will keep your internal temperature stable.
You don't want to carry an 8-ton Louis Vuitton shoulder satchel when you're planning to flail your arms like a Stretch Armstrong doll all night. Most ravers opt for little backpacks, often plush and shaped liked cartoon characters. How about an Elmo or a Yoshi or an Invader Zim Gir? Hot Topic sells plush Pokemon backpacks for $22.50, A good option if you can handle people chirping "PIKA-CHU" at you in the bathroom line.
Speaking of Pikachu, a juvenile aesthetic rules at these shows — Hello Kitty shirts, panda bear hats, pacifiers, glitter, twee hair bows, daisy headbands. You'll find all nature of Cookie Monster, Smurfs and Domo doodads. Some ravers still shake hands, swapping bright, glow-in-the-dark beads called — what else? — candy. Or kandi. Or candee. However you spell it, it's sweet.
For Y chromosome ravers, anything goes. At last year's Identity Festival, our photographer captured one gentleman wearing little more than a gold Speedo and a fake mustache. Another dude rocked a steel Viking helmet. Respect. For more mild-mannered fellas, it's all about tank tops and roomy shorts, or no shirt at all. Don't fret. Your body looks great under the black light.