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Wilderness festival 2015: fancy dress outfit inspiration

Jul 31, 2015

by Natalie Wall handmade and vintage goods

The countdown to Wilderness 2015 has officially begun! With the distinctly boutique vibe, gourmet grub and Björk’s only UK performance of the year, Wilderness is one of the country’s coolest festivals.

Created just five years ago, Wilderness is the brainchild of the people behind Secret Garden Party and Lovebox, but it’s already an institution of the British summer thanks to its killer combination of great music, a beautiful site, arts and culture and amazing food.

Beats, good eats, wellbeing, arts and crafts? Sounds dreamy! ✨ Read on for outfit inspiration and your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to the festival! Competition now CLOSED.


Away from the main stage you’ll find decadent parties, theatre, opera, arts and crafts, cinema, fire-walking, dancing, yoga, literature, talks, debates, yurt-building and who knows what else is in store? Not forgetting, of course, the lush lakeside spa that sits at the heart of the sprawling Oxfordshire estate.

Aside from all these things, there’s also the chance to get creative with your costumery with the daily flamboyant fancy dress themes, which you can find below – along with some UK Etsy inspiration, of course:

Friday costumes – Ancient Mariners & Merfolk

Friday night and all rivers lead to the ancient sea which is flooded with Mariners and Merfolk. Mermaids bask on rocks and slip under the waves. Ships and boats captained by wild men of the sea dock at the port of chaos. Sirens and seafarers are guided in by the music and the lighthouse. Listen for the songs of the sirens, dock your vessels and join the Mariners.


70s Laura Ashley dress, SartorialMatters


Vintage sailor collar and cuffs, £24.99, EmmaAtLHV


Silver disco catsuit, £60, Tirade13

CheriseDesign nautical trousers

Handmade nautical trousers, £99.64, CheriseDesign


Mermaid tie-dye crop top, £14, RetroSpectiveApparel


Custom mermaid shell top, £29.99, GiftsFromMermaids

Saturday costumes – Vintage Aviators

Saturday night, look to the sky and you will see an armada of flying machines. A conflation of ancient balloons, gliders, planes and blimps, all flooding in, dropping anchor. Their destination? Where you stand. Your soul is in the sky.

“My soul is in the sky.” William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night’s Dream


Steampunk Victorian top hat, £49.99, Mad4Hats


70s suede aviator jacket, £27.99, oldbutgoldvintagee


Handmade aviator shrug, £51.97, blackmirrordesign

Sunday costumes – Sovereigns

Sunday is for the Sovereigns. Stand proud, crown yourself a king of your own empire. A high queen of your own realm. Come to the valley, bejewelled. Carriages and gowns, mink and ermine, silks and luxury. Pearly kings and queens, princes and princesses, monarchs, dignitaries, leaders of the free world. Come, your grace, your subjects await you. Order of course will be manifestly unmaintained.



Faux fur couture crown, £80, livfreecreations


Handmade velvet dress, £65, ArjanB


Glitter crown headband, £12, JanineBasil


Wilderness festival will be held at Cornbury Park from Friday-Sunday, August 6th-8th. For last minute tickets, visit


OR for your chance to WIN a pair of weekend camping tickets, simply leave a comment below this blog post, telling us what fancy dress costume you’d wear to Wilderness, based on the themes above.
UK residents only; T&Cs apply. Travel, tent, food and expenses not included. Winner announced first thing on Tuesday morning.

WINNER: Congrats to Gemma from Nottingham!


  • marynorthgatfield

    Mary North-Gatfield said 5 years ago

    mermaid top with a flowing tail and shells in my hair!

  • Tucky14

    George Fryer said 5 years ago

    Friday: Yellow 48" stormbreaker jacket accompanied by wellies, a yellow sou'wester rain hat & to top it all off a fake grey beard. Like an old fishman would have. Saturday: Start with a plain white tee, then a vintage distressed brown leather jacket with a fur collar, blue jeans, brown boots & then not sure whether i'd go with a vintage aviator helmet with goggles or just some aviator sunglasses. Sunday: A silk shirt, black jeans & some boots, then a black game of thrones inspired night watchman cloak over the top (black cloak with fur shoulders).

  • kirstylucas1

    Kirsty Lucas from lovegivesafairytale said 5 years ago

    Totally awesome, LOVE it! X

  • TheKestrelAndTheSea

    Kes Samuelson from TheKestrelAndTheSea said 5 years ago

    Friday: As a contrast to all the pretty mermaids, I would be a Kraken or cthulhu, with shimmering scales of body paint, and a medusa-like headdress of tentacles! Saturday: I would be a steampunk female aviator, with windswept hair, vintage goggles, a compass, and a satchel in which to carry my star-charts, flightplans and a flask of tea. Sunday: The Queen of Hearts - Red Taffeta gown, striped tights, a golden crown entwined with little red heart-shaped fairy lights, and a handmade necklace of red & white roses and miniature playing cards!

  • missharry

    miss harry from missharry said 5 years ago

    Day 1 - Nautical mermaid, glitter, silver, green, tail, sparkle on bottom and on top anchor tats, eyeliner made facial hair, mouth like a sailor and a constant supply of rum. Day 2 - A collection of steam punk bits from my wasted youth, my flying machine is me! Wings made not from feather but a mismatch of items from my local charity shop. Day 3 - If I manage to still look human, I will come as Queen Charlotte, my mind will travel into the future to how our boho hipster royalty will be and I will dress accordingly. She will wear diamonds as big as her ego, her crown will be bigger than ones at a child birthday party and her dress will be just wow. If someone else comes up with the same idea then i will have to go to plan b - a mermaid avaitor queen of messy hair and cider breathe!

  • zhooley

    zhooley said 5 years ago

    I would dress as Neptune fake beard and trident and if we won I would make my husband dress as Ariel shell bra essential!

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 5 years ago

    Looks like a lot of fun! ;o)

  • TheHappyFeetCompany

    Ruby Adams from TheHappyFeetCompany said 5 years ago

    ANCIENT MARINERS AND MERFOLK I would go as a seawitch on the Friday with some handmade seashells clips in my hair and a long cream Beaded dress. I would drape myself in shawls and silk. With a seashel jewellery clinking and the fabric flowing it would create a ghostly figure that would glide across the festival. VINTAGE AVIATORS I would go as a bird on the sat (stretching the theme slightly I know) - some huge feather fans to represent the wings, feather collar as well as a feather headdress. All handmade in black feathers (the one with the green tint) my make up would be a severe black strip of colour across my eyes with nude lips. It would be striking, bizarre and flamboyant. SOVREIGNS On the Sunday I would go as a queen Marie Antoinette style. Complete with a huge white powdered wig and headdress with a ship. The dress would have a giant skirt with a traditional corset bodice in a periwinkle blue with white trim. Dripping with pearls I would be regal and outrageously over dresses! I would also take lots of photos! I went last year and I take my dressing up very seriously and I have etsy to thank for my amazing costumes.

  • sweetiepips

    katrien from sweetiepips said 5 years ago

    For Friday's Ancient Mariners and Merfolk I would dress up as the figurehead from an old ship. I have visions of me with flowing golden tresses and a long wispy blue gown like that of the figurehead in the Onedin Line. However I'm probably more akin to a battered and weather-worn-bosomed fishwife!!!

  • ministryofprojects

    ministryofprojects said 5 years ago

    Wilderness demand wilderness so ... Day 1 I'll be be Amphritite, the sea goddess, wearing a toga trimmed with real dried seaweed and a matching headdress sprayed with silver and diamonds for the sea. On Day 2 Amelia Earhearts ghost will appear - vintage flying outfit tarnished with white and ghostly face - glitter glory for the festival touch. Day 3 - Gid Savd the Queen a la Sid Vicious. A crowned, bejewelled punkish sovereign ready for a good time at the festival!

  • angelfreespirit

    angelfreespirit from TimeIsCotton said 5 years ago

    Friday - I'd totally be a mermaid with braids in my hair, with some feathers, and curl it right up! :D I'd then wear a purple sea shell bra, and a green sequin pencil skirt that's floor length :) I'd make my boyfriend dress up as Eric, but rock it up a bit with some jeans :) Saturday - I'd get an aviator jacket with all the sheepskin and suede on the outside :) I'd then wear skinny jeans, rolled up at the end slightly, and some 40's style heels, with a shirt and bandanna, like on the WW2 womens posters :) My boyfriend would match with the male versions of my clothes, and we'd have aviator sunglasses on too :) Sunday - I'd wear a beautiful long dress that is suited for a queen :) I'd then wear a crown, and a lot of sparky jewellery :) I'd top it off with a fur cape :) My boyfriend would also have a cape, a crown and then a shirt and trousers for a king :)

  • portlandnights

    Emi Prichard said 5 years ago

    Ancient Mariners and Merfolk: Inspired by the legendary Celtic myth, my costume would be a selkie - a shape sifting creature that transforms from seal to human. I'd wear a silky grey dress, long seal skin-esque faux fur cloak, a crown of tangled seaweed, flecks of silver facepaint to mimic sea salt and perhaps some delicate whiskers... Vintage Aviators: It could only be the world’s most famous would-be aviator, Leonardo Da Vinci. White beard, black floppy hat, velvet tunic, sandals and an unfurled copy of his iconic flying machine plans. Sovereigns: Not all queens wear crowns. I would make use of the vintage pearly queen jacket I stumbled upon in a charity shop and team it with a red neckerchief and little black hat festooned in colourful feathers.

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX said 5 years ago

    i never heard of such festival, must be fun! :)

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry said 5 years ago

    Awesome Post!!! Wonderful Creations and Costumes!!!!

  • susievictoriagray

    Susie gray said 5 years ago

    I love the glitter and tie dye of Friday's theme! Channeling my inner Ariel I would go full steam ahead with a mermaid theme - glittery scales, flowing tail and red locks!! Let's hope the weathers good!!

  • elisalocati

    Elisa Locati said 5 years ago

    I'd definitely wear a mermaid costume with all items ordered on Etsy! :D

  • laurenbenezra

    Lauren Benezra said 5 years ago

    Silver disco catsuit of course. With as many sparkles as I could fit on my face <3<3<3

  • owlishgrey

    Gemma from NewtonAndTheApple said 5 years ago

    For mariners and merfolk... I'd be raiding my craft box for natural elements to make a tiara fit for a mer-queen, with quartz daggers, natural cream reindeer moss and tiny sea shells interspersed throughout. I'd wear a flowing beige dress and use white body glitter to hint at shimmering scales. For vintage aviators I would, of course, be looking to Amelia Earhart for inspiration. With a big leather jacket and shirt combo and a flying hat with goggles if I could find one. For sovereigns, I'd want to go as a queen of the birds like a white albino peacock. We have these near my house and they are beautiful creatures and drop their tail feathers each year. I'd wear a huge white peacock feather crown with my silver sequin dress and silver tights.

  • monanalisa

    monana said 5 years ago

    Sovereign style, Queen of everything With lots of galaxy print

  • pinkstar81

    Michelle Raeburn from dreamsmadeofstars said 5 years ago

    A sparkling tree nymph

  • pearlington

    pearlington said 5 years ago

    Always tempting to dress up as a mermaid but think I'd go as a pirate complete with tricorn hat adorned with feathers and pearls. Saturday is go all top gun with flying boiler suit. And for Sunday- Sunday best with crown and sceptre. Xxx

  • christurnill

    Chris Turnill said 5 years ago

    Friday - Navy linen shorts and a blue and white striped shirt with white nautical colour. Red straw boater. Saturday - All in one aviator jumpsuit with goggle type sun glasses Sunday Pretty princess style crown with lots of paste jewels, floaty, glittery pale blue long dress. Wellies will of course be obligatory to go with all outfits.

  • kalatruman

    Kala from BlackFishes said 5 years ago

    I'd crochet an outfit of little shells and tiny bells, so I tinkled like a mermaid by the sea.

  • kewvan

    Daniel Housego said 5 years ago

    Friday: As I'd be hoping for warm weather all weekend, I'd wear a white laced shirt, with a thin and battered waistcoat. I'd also go with colourful nautical trousers, and a Jack Sparrow inspired hat to keep the sun off my head. Then I would get as near to the front for Bjork as I possibly could. Hopefully she'll play the new album in its entirity. It's fantastic! Saturday: I'd be handing out high fives in my Top Gun fancy dress suit: Aviator sunglasses with a flight suit one piece. I'd spend the evening at the debate tent, and enjoy the surreal situation of listening to intellectual conversation whilst wearing ridiculous clothing. Sunday: Me and the wife would go for Oriental inspired royalty! Dark red Kimonos, with black Hakama's, Tabi socks and Setta Sandals. The wife loves Ben Howard so we'd be mellowing out to his guitar with a tasty cocktail.

  • pipdunjay

    pipdunjay from SunFlashTattoos said 5 years ago

    Mermaid! Sequins everywhere, plus the gorgeous shell top.

  • ionaharris1

    Iona Harris said 5 years ago

    Friday: I think I would channel Pop Eyes look, a black shirt with a red collar, blue trousers, a couple of temporary tattoos, and to top it all off I'll carry a tin of spinach round with me for the whole night! Saturday: I would borrow my grandfathers aviation hat, which he still has from his days flying Spitfires in the 2nd world war, I would also borrow my dads first pair of skiing goggles that look just like flying goggles! Sunday: I would bust out my vintage corset that I 'borrowed' and never returned from my costume department at work. I wore it to Wilderness last year and it was a massive hit!

  • katchitnow

    Helen Carew said 5 years ago

    nautical theme. i'd take inspiration from the film 'querelle' by fassbinder. beautiful gay sailors, and a style all of its own

  • EffyVescent

    Aphra Kadabra said 5 years ago

    Friday for Bjork it will have to be Marie Antoinette style over the top wigs with integrated ships. I would be a broken hearted ghost from a ship wreck stuck in this realm, or maybe, juts maybe a giant kraken fascinator! Layers + corsets and lots of charity shop bling! I think that will do it :-)

  • CjAliveindia

    Sam Jain from SamrudhiHandicrafts said 5 years ago


  • olivemee

    Olivia Mee said 5 years ago

    For Saturday I'd get on a leather aviator jacket, and silk cravat - and channel Amelia Earhart! and then on Sunday I'd hope to plot up to a feast dressed as a king and gorge myself Henry VIII style! Fingers crossed!!

  • kayhowlett1

    Kay Howlett said 5 years ago

    I would come as a Swan Queen, in honour of Bjork and that dress!

  • dispersemofos

    Chris said 5 years ago

    I'd dress as a Moomin for the whole weekend. I'd be festooned with sailor's hat and seaweed on Friday, captain's hat and aviators on Saturday and a diamond tiara and moomin corgi for Sunday. I really like Moomins.

  • raymondliu1

    Raymond Liu said 5 years ago

    I would wear a stripey sailor's shirt, that's as far as I'd go

  • kerryhutchinson

    Kerry Hutchinson from roobee88 said 5 years ago

    Oooh I love an excuse to dress and pretend I'm in fantasy land. Friday is my fave. The excuse to be a mermaid :) I'd be wearing a lovely sea style headdress with coral and shells and lovely ocean colours with a long wavey blue dress and pearl bracelets and pretty sandals. Or perhaps I'd wear the mermaid leggings I once purchased and haven't had a reason to wear and be going hunting for the perfect bits to go with. For Saturday I'd be pulling out the air hostess costume and jazzing it up with some vintage air pilot goggles, knee high leather boots and tights and hmmmm I'm going to need a hat. Sunday would give me a nice excuse to wear a lovely little pale golden dress I have, with lots of full on golden glittery eye makeup and a lovely little tiara. I'd definitely want some thing glamorous and unusual to wear as jewellery too so I'd be shopping for that or crafting away.

  • autumnia89

    Katy from KatyAutumnJewellery said 5 years ago

    For the first day I would be a water dragon, greens and blues and turquoises, and scales and horns. For the second day I would dress as a steam punk aviator, with goggles, lots of gears and cogs, a brass pocket watch, tall boots.. But I don't need a plane or balloon as I have my own wood and canvas wings on my back, in the style of a da Vinci flying machine! For the final day I would dress as the Queen of hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, complete with an axe to chop off her head! This festival looks brilliant!!!

  • moodgie

    moodgie said 5 years ago

    Friday: I would love to wear the vintage sailor collar and cuffs and dress up as a little sailor! Saturday: The steampunk hat looks amazing, I would love to wear it together with a funky suit! Sunday: It would have to be the faux fur couture crown and the velvet dress, a proper queen's glamour!

  • MrRichTea

    Richard Tyler said 5 years ago

    I would go as the Sea King Poseidon complete with Trident, the full works! :)

  • elenilovesmum

    Eleni Samra said 5 years ago

    For Friday it'd be too impractical being at a festival to opt for a long mermaid fishtail dress inspired dress, no matter how pretty. I don't think those around me would appreciate a 'Birth of Venus' inspired outfit. So, I'd go with a cute a quirky nautical themed outfit, which of course I'd head to Etsy to find; (Or serve as inspiration to put it together myself) Since its an all in one dress I don't need to fuss and worry too much with the outfit. For Saturday: I'd grab an aviator jacket and helmet probably off Etsy and then wear a cute summer dress with it, or simple white t-shirt and black jeans to keep the outfit sweet an simple. For Sunday: I'd channel my inner Mary Queen of Scots and taken in all the fashion inspiration from watching Reign and wearing a beautiful beaded dress, and the prettiest tiara I can find.

  • boo36

    boo36 said 5 years ago

    Think I would have to be a steam punk mermaid!

  • anthonydias

    Anthony Dias said 5 years ago

    I would wear my infamous gold leotard for the entire weekend! I might not be going with the theme but its a total hit at every festival I go to!

  • vee83

    V T said 5 years ago

    70s dancing mermaid queen! Glitter crown headband (JanineBasil), Silver disco catsuit (Tirade13) vintage 70s shades ( and lots of pastel hair chalk (

  • ChunkAtATime

    Fernando Eizaguirre from EizaArt said 5 years ago

    These are alllllll gorges

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