5 problematic things you probably shouldn't wear at Coachella

We get it, it's festival season and you want to go all out with your outfits at Coachella. 

But be warned, there are a few things you absolutely should not be caught wearing at Coachella, or any festival for that matter, unless of course you want to end up in the "don't" section of a fashion blog.


Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Let's knock this one out first as it seems to be one of the most popular Coachella fashion statements: Do not wear a headdress to Coachella.

 As Jessica Metcalfe, creator of Native American blog and boutique Beyond Buckskin, told Mic in 2014:

 [The headdress is] a sacred, important symbol to us. And it's still a tradition that is practiced in our communities. That is something we hold on to dearly, because we face so many struggles, a big one of which has to do with our youth. A lot of young people grow up disconnected from their community, and they look to celebrities as role models. And whenever you have celebrities or major companies misusing the sacred headdress, that is a direct way of destroying our culture.


Matt Cowan/Getty Images

The bindi has become an accessory mainstay of music festivals everywhere, however it's as equally offensive as the headdress.

The bindi is actually a religious emblem worn by South Asian Hindu women. As Jezebel writer Isha Aran wrote, "Taking a symbol from a culture that is thousands of years old and divorcing it from its meaning — or even embracing its meaning for the express purpose of looking cool (bro, do you even chataranga?) — does not lend you any cred — street, worldly or otherwise. And wearing a bindi to Coachella certainly is not a genuine celebration of Hindu culture, so please don't even start with that."

Henna tattoo

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The temporary, hand-painted tattoos have been spotted on celebrities like Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and the queen of Coachella herself, Vanessa Hudgens. But just because your favorite celebrities wear the trend doesn't mean you should, too. 

Henna, or mehndi in Hindi and Urdu, is an ornate paint used as a wedding tradition among Muslim and Hindu brides, or for very special occasions — Coachella not being among them. 


As the site Stand Up described, "The dashiki is a loose fitting, pullover garment native to West Africa and popularized in other parts of Africa, that is usually sewn from colorful fabrics and covers the top half of the body." It is not, however, an "it" fashion trend, as Elle Canada would like for you to believe.

What's troublesome, according to writer Karla Talley, is that often times those wearing a dashiki have no understanding of its origins or cultural significance, as evidenced by this interview in Vice. When dashiki-wearing festival-goers were asked if they felt awkward wearing the garment one simply replied, "I feel funky in it. I put out good vibes and I feel good."

War paint

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"They're making fun of our culture. They're playing dress-up. They're saying look at us, we're the Indians," Halifax's poet laureate, Rebecca Thomas, told CBC News of concert-goers in imitation war paint. "And that's not OK."

Many Native American tribes paint their bodies and faces with war paint for rituals, dances and battle. It is not the paint, but rather the application, color and design that holds special meaning to many tribes. We suggest you stick to funky temporary tattoos with no hidden meaning. 

If you have to ask a friend, "Is this racist?" or don't understand the meaning behind your look, it's probably best to turn around and try on a new outfit.