The 10 Commandments of Every Coachella Lookbook

It's not your imagination: every single one of them looks the same.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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It's not your imagination: every single one of them looks the same.

The 2015 edition of Coachella kicks off on Friday in Indio, California, which means that, for the next two weekends, your Instagram feeds will consist of near-identical photos of the sun setting over the ferris wheel on the festival grounds, and girls decked out in their most bohemian, desert-appropriate duds. Full disclosure: I'm a Coachella veteran and I had a fantastic time each year that I went, but I find the whole "festival style" thing to be pretty played out. 

Take a stroll past your local Urban Outfitters and you'll get a solid feel for what being at the actual festival is like — there are tiny cutoff shorts, white crocheted dresses, ankle booties, flower crowns and fringe for as far as the eye can see. In fact, the Coachella uniform is so consistent and specific that retailers have started creating entire collections based off of its popularity. That's likely why every Coachella lookbook that's crossed our desks in recent memory has looked, well, exactly the same

Judging by the images that fashion brands use to represent the festival aesthetic, we've deduced that there are 10 unchanging themes when it comes to the fashion at Coachella. Read on for the list, as evidenced by lookbooks past and present.  

1. You shall pack at least one white dress. 

Despite how dusty, grassy and muddy (think of all that spilled beer!) the Coachella grounds are, a surprising percentage of the ladies in attendance arrive at the festival wearing airy white dresses. Adorable? Yes. Practical? Not so much. Hopefully they remembered to pack a Tide pen. 

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2013.

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2013.

Ale by Alessandra, festival 2014.

Ale by Alessandra, festival 2014.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2014.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2014.

2. You shall wander aimlessly in the desert. 

The expansive blue skies and mountainous backdrop that characterize the road to Coachella are ideal for a photo op — specifically, a festival-themed fashion shoot. A model standing in the desert (looking somewhat lost) is a very popular lookbook motif.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2012.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2012.

Stylebop, festival 2014.

Stylebop, festival 2014.

H&M, Coachella 2015.

H&M, Coachella 2015.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2013.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2013.

3. You shall eat lots of watermelon (or pineapple).

There are countless food options at Coachella — from super-trendy food trucks to vegan and organic vendors — but by the looks of it, all girls eat over the three days are watermelon wedges and the occasional pineapple. Yes, they photograph well, but don't expect to get much energy for dancing on such few calories.  

Planet Blue, Coachella 2015.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2015.

Gypsum, festival 2014.

Gypsum, festival 2014.

LF. festival 2012.

LF. festival 2012.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2015.

Planet Blue, Coachella 2015.

4. You shall be proud to be an American. 

If you attend Coachella, you're bound to be caught in a crowd of bros chanting "USA! USA!" before their favorite DJ takes the stage at least once. But it seems that the ladies of the festival prefer to show some patriotic pride through their outfit choices.

Brandy Melville, Coachella 2012.

Brandy Melville, Coachella 2012.

LF, Coachella 2012.

LF, Coachella 2012.

Wildfox, festival 2015.

Wildfox, festival 2015.

5. You shall be the life of the pool party. 

The pool parties in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas are arguably more fun than the festival itself, so pack your trendiest bathing suit/sunglass combo and get ready to soak up the sun — and possibly rumble with some L.A. "It" girl over a pool float.

Jeffrey Campbell, Coachella 2014.

Jeffrey Campbell, Coachella 2014.

LF, Coachella 2012.

LF, Coachella 2012.

Planet Blue, festival 2015.

Planet Blue, festival 2015.

LF, festival 2013.

LF, festival 2013.

6. You shall have at least one ridiculous pool toy/prop on hand at all times. 

Lawn flamingos, hula hoops, donut-shaped pool floats and giant stuffed animals may be considered contraband at the festival, but that doesn't mean you can't take dozens of photos holding them before you pass though the security line at the gates.

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2014.

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2014.

LF, festival 2013.

LF, festival 2013.

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2014.

Nasty Gal, Coachella 2014.

7. You shall dress exactly the same as your festival friends.

It's already impossible to keep track of your friends in the crowd of nearly 100,000 people on the polo grounds, but the fact that seemingly every single girl is wearing a variation on the same outfit makes it even harder.  

LF, Coachella 2015.

LF, Coachella 2015.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2014.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2014.

LF, Coachella 2014.

LF, Coachella 2014.

LF, festival 2012.

LF, festival 2012.

8. You shall experiment with thematic headgear.

From floppy hats to flower crowns, ladies at Coachella just love to accessorize with statement headgear. We're all for keeping the festival spirit alive, but please try to keep the cultural appropriation at home, OK?

Free People, Coachella 2012.

Free People, Coachella 2012.

LF, Coachella 2015.

LF, Coachella 2015.

9. You shall go full Stevie Nicks.

Are you not old enough to know and/or appreciate most of the bands that played at Woodstock? That's no matter, just dress like you are.

Urban Outfitters, festival 2015.

Urban Outfitters, festival 2015.

Free People, festival 2013.

Free People, festival 2013.

10. You shall only travel in a retro set of wheels.

Coachella takes place in Indio, which is about a two hour drive from Los Angeles without traffic. So, for many festival goers, this road trip element is an important part of the adventure. But why rent a boring ol' sedan when you can call in a favor or two and ride to the desert in style? Vintage Mustang or bust, baby.

LF, Coachella 2015.

LF, Coachella 2015.

LF, Coachella 2014.

LF, Coachella 2014.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2013.

Urban Outfitters, Coachella 2013.