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The Unique History of Rave Clothing

Fashion at raves has changed dramatically in its approximately 40-year history, but some things have always remained the same. In particular, those who go to raves have always dressed in ways that are not generally considered to be socially acceptable. Rave-goers have always revolved their clothing choices around being as fantastical as possible.

But that kind of fantasy trend has changed through the years in some interesting ways, as what started with wide-legged jeans with large pockets has moved toward booty shorts and DIY underwear and bra sets. What was always concerned with bright colors and neons has started to transition into black mesh and nipple pasties.

Rave outfits have always been evolving, but how exactly did this happen? A lot of it was effected by the environment that rave culture was living within, and that resulted in rave outfits changing with the times.

The Start of Rave in the 1980s

At first, raves began as a part of club culture and all of the participants were wearing mainly designer outfits. However, as many of them wanted to dance, they began switching over to more comfortable and baggy outfits in bright and bold colors. There were also plenty of large pockets, according to iHeartRaves, so that people could carry all of their important items.

Additionally, as noted by iEDM, there were some other practical accessories that were a part of these rave outfits that people loved, including whistle necklaces in bright colors and bucket hats. For the most part, the rave outfits were centered on the fun and bold colors and comfort that everyone wanted to wear but couldn’t during work hours.

Getting Baggy and Bright in the 1990s

The 1990s came with a lot of new and exciting trends to accompany the rave scene, as well as all of the rave outfits. Of course, the wide-legged pants were ever popular during this time, as were the supposedly drug-enhancing bright and neon colors.

Interestingly enough, people were also known to wear adult pacifiers, or dummies, in order to soothe their teeth from the after effects of constant grinding. And in order to get stronger effects from the drugs that they took, rave goers would often wear masks that had been lined with some kind of petroleum jelly in order to keep the drug as close to their noses and mouths as possible.

Instead of just having a good time on drugs, however, there were also many trends that allowed people to show of their fun and sun-shiney personalities to each other. Everyone wore tie-dye, bright yellow smiley face t-shirts, and had fun colors in their hair, according to Amen Breaks. Essentially, everyone just wanted to have a good time.

People were also starting to have an affinity for the fuzzy, bringing stuffed animals, feather boas, and spiking up their hair. Even those who didn’t necessarily want to play with that kind of texture still had a number of options to choose from, including glitter on everything, wearing cute and cropped baby doll shirts, and putting their hair into pigtails.

Starting to Get Sexy in the 2000s

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some parts of the world started to regulate the rave scene, moving the rave-goers from underground activities and into clubs again. And for a brief period of time, that meant everyone had to adhere to club dress codes and start bringing in more mild looks as opposed to the more exciting rave outfits we know and love today.

Wild and Free in the 2010s

By the time to 2010s came around, the rave scene started to get back to itself and evolve into the kinds of rave outfits we see today. The fashion got very sexualized, as more and more creatives started bringing in diy bedazzled bras and bikinis to their favorite events.

This also meant that pasties became more popular, as showing more and more skin was becoming exceedingly acceptable at these kinds of events. Following suit, booty shorts also came into style and became quite trendy.

However, something changed around this time, as now the styles are the most diverse they have ever been. Furry accessories are still in, but now these can be seen in pastel and earthy colors, black, as well as the typical bright and neon colors that you would generally expect.

And, instead of tie-dye, now there are more fun and eclectic patterns that are being utilized in these fantastic rave outfits. Now you can see illusions, galaxies, and holographics all over the bodies of these rave-goers.

And there are also plenty of kid-like images covering these events, including aliens, mermaids, and unicorns. Instead of the boiler suits that were popular for men to wear in the 80s and 90s, it’s incredibly common for people to go to raves in their oversized and colorful onesies. And everywhere, people are trading kandi beads like they’re friendship bracelets.