The man burns in 11 days. With a planned arrival in Black Rock City one week from today, we’re finishing up our costumes for this year’s burn. Since costume planning is my favorite part of preparation for Burning Man, I figured I’d share it here to go along with my recent post How to Prepare for Burning Man.
1. Know The Don’ts
Anything that has the potential for creating MOOP (matter out of place) is bad news. Stay away from feather boas, sequins, loose glitter, and the like. Essentially anything that you can’t be sure won’t break off into the natural environment. (Read Burning Man’s latest stance on feathers in general on the playa here.)
Also, don’t wear anything branded. That would kind of go against the whole spirit of Burning Man.
2. Keep the Weather in Mind
Prepare yourself for hot days and cold nights. And while you’re at it, take a few simple precautions for unpredictable weather, too. Lately, there’s been bouts of rain in Black Rock Desert, and if a storm rolls in while BRC exists, you’ll want to be ready. So do yourself a favor and spend a buck on an emergency poncho and pack some shoes that will fair well in mucky playa.
3. Gather Ideas
Here are a few ways I like to gather ideas for my Burning Man attire:
- Google image search
- View the people category in the Burning Man gallery
- Peruse the sites from Playa Wear resources on the Burning Man website
- Visit thrift stores or garage sales and see what outfits you can create with what you find
- Dig through old clothes and search for DIYs incorporating your finds
Costume trends seen on the playa each year (all apply to both men and women):
- fur coats
- steam punk
- tasteful nudity
- fur boots
- EL wire
- body paint
- body makeup
- fur vests
- tasteless nudity
- Flashy, blinky light-up things
- decorative bra tops
- long flowy skirts
- fur accessories
- full body spandex suits
- full body character costumes
- top hats
- bare skin
4. Pack the Essentials
A week in the desert is a long time, and you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable. No matter your costume choices, don’t forget these essentials.
Dust Protection – If you’re generally an allergy ridden person, sensitive to dust, or if you wear contacts, invest in covering your face. A pair of well-sealing goggles and a dust mask will do wonders for getting you through dust storms unscathed. To prepare this year, I ordered disposable contacts, invested in a pair of motocross goggles, and I also opted for a washable cloth mask, though the less expensive disposable masks work just as well. For both mask and goggles: Find one that will fit well and conforms to your face.
Sun Protection – Slather on the sunscreen. I like fresh smelling, non-slimy sunscreen, and I like to have one specifically for my face, too (one that won’t run into my eyes when I sweat). Neutrogena always seems to have the best good smelling, grease free options. And I’m liking the facial lotion I recently found at Trader Joe’s, so I think I’ll bring that along. Though it’s only SPF 15, I’ll have either a hat or my new parasol with me during the sunniest times of day.
5. Wear Whatever You Want
Ultimately, what you wear at Burning Man should be all about self expression. To put it simply: wear what you want.
It’s a week-long break from the default world. Rather than judging, people will applaud any “out-of-the-ordinary” attire you choose. On a similar note, if you don’t want to wear an attention-grabbing, elaborate, this-took-me-six-months-to-make type of costume, you certainly do NOT have to. Plenty of people at Burning Man keep it simple. I’m keeping my BM attire simple, functional and comfortable this year (see photos below). Don’t feel pressured to spend a bunch of time, energy or money on what you wear. But if it suits you, go for it!
A couple of daytime outfits I planned for the burn:
Burning Man 2014: Portraits of a Camp
View photos of us and our campmates in costume at our 2014 burn here!
Did I miss anything?
If you’ve got any great idea gathering tools to share, or if I missed any frequently seen costume items in my list above, post a comment below.
I hope you enjoyed this post.For more Burning Man inspiration here on North to South, check out How to Prepare for Burning Man.
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.