By Megan Tvrdik
This spring break I didn’t head to the beach or the slopes. Instead, I was on my way to nine full days of “bat-shit craziness” in the city that holds the key to my heart — Austin. Yes, we were headed to South by Southsest, the music, technology and film festival that has become a part of the Austin landscape each spring. A $180 wristband would get us into all the music events around town.
But SXSW has become about more than just the music, film and interactive events. The fashion statements people bring to the streets are anything but ordinary. According to Amy Sciarretto, writer for Pop Crush: “SXSW is the hub of the music industry for a week. As fans, hipsters and musicians converge on the cool, artsy city of Austin, Texas, people are showcasing their unique style and expressing themselves in all sorts of ways, from Converse Chuck Taylors to cropped leather jackets and print pants.”
Being a fashion lover, I decided to document each day of my trip with my own fashion choices, along with the trends, styles and bizarre looks I saw on the streets of Austin.
Thursday, March 7
7:30 p.m.: I am so excited, and so antsy. Tomorrow is the day. I need to pack. Question is… “What do I pack?” I call my boyfriend. “Casual cute? Dressy? Heels?” I ask. He laughs, “Megan, you’re going to be downtown every day by 3, walking around until the wee hours in the morning. This isn’t Dallas, this is Austin.” OK, I guess casual cute it is.
Friday, March 8
7 p.m.: Work is finally over, and it’s time to get on the road. Here I am in Highland Park where girls are in their Seven jeans, H&M dressy tops, high heels, makeup and hair fully done. In a few hours I will be in a laid-back city where no one really cares what you’re wearing. Denim jean shorts with a cute crop top, sandals, little makeup and hair naturally air dried will be just fine.
11 p.m.: Made it to Austin. Staying in tonight. Long week ahead of me — need my rest.
Saturday March 9
9:30 p.m.: I drop my boyfriend off at work, then head downtown to meet some girlfriends, who are also from Dallas. Our outfits show it, too. I am in black leggings, a black tank with a sheer lime green button down and my favorite black wedges from Baker’s. My friend Erin is in salmon, straight-legged jeans, white sheer button down, and light brown sandals. Amanda is also wearing a white sheer top but denim straight legged jeans and sandals. All three of us girls have our makeup perfectly done and our hair curled.
Sunday, March 10
1:30 p.m.: “Wake up, wake up, we’re going to Gloria’s for lunch.” I did not want to get out of bed, but hearing the word “Gloria’s,” I jump right out. Sunday Funday is about to start off just right.
3:30 p.m.: Of course, my boyfriend wants to eat on the patio. It’s windy, and I’m so cold. A spaghetti strapped, orange and white, maxi dress was not a good idea.
5:45 p.m.: On Rainy Street. The atmosphere is great. The bar has a band playing underneath the extended tent. Everyone is chatting, drinking and enjoying the music. Girls are wearing high-waisted shorts or colored jeans with a crop top or tank. Not a single pair of heels in sight – only sandals, flats or boots. Guys are in shorts or jeans and just a regular V-neck or T-shirt. Some of the T-shirts have a skater or surfing brand logo or crazy design. The typical “guy look” – day and night.
Monday, March 11
9:15 p.m.: My boyfriend and I start to get ready for the night. It’s kind of chilly, so I put on my black leggings, tank top and a sheer black button down. We pick up our best friend on the way. Our motto: “We’re the three best friends that anyone can have.”
11:30 p.m.: Go into Trophy Room. My boyfriend’s friend meets us and has CASPA with him. Well, looks like we’re hanging out with a famous DJ tonight. As we are standing by the bull in Trophy Room, a girl jumps on. She looks like a “country girl,” wearing short shorts, a button-down white top and cowboy boots.
Tuesday, March 12
9 p.m.: I don’t know what to wear: Heels, no heels? Dress? Shorts? I throw on my sheer caramel button top over my black tank. Put on my Victoria’s Secret black jean shorts, and strap up my Baker’s caramel sandals.
11 p.m.: CULTURE CLASH. Girls are wearing everything from a “little black dress” to almost nothing at all: some booty shorts, a sports bra and those fluffy boots. The guys are still in uniform — jeans with a V-neck or TThe first thing I see when I walk to the stage… a guy wearing a Pandasuit outfitted with blinking LED lights. He is dancing around in the back with his friend who is wearing the same thing. I laugh, but it does look pretty darn cool.
4:30 a.m.: Danced the night away. Fedde Le Grand, Sultan & Ned Shepard… amazing set. Goodnight.
Wednesday, March 13
4:30 p.m.: It’s such a pretty day out. I throw on a sheer white top and hot pink shorts and head downtown with my friend. STARVING, Wahoo’s it is.
8 p.m.: Go into Mohawks to listen to the band and get a drink. There are a bunch of punk rockers here. Leather vests, black skinny jeans, piercings, tattoos and actual mohawks. Definitely look like a “goodie tu shoo” here.
9:30 p.m.: See a guy in a wolf mask playing the violin. I do a double take: Am I really seeing this?
10 p.m.: Have been running around downtown for hours. We walk into Republic Live. I feel like it’s a college party. Everyone has on their bandanas, sorority or frat T-shirts with workout shorts. Next stop, La Zona Rosa: 12th Planet is playing.
Thursday, March 14
2 p.m.: Attempting a dress today. Let’s see how this works out. And it’s white. I’ll throw my caramel sheer top over. Cute outfit.
5 p.m.: Head down to Austin’s main drag, Sixth Street, with my friend and her boyfriend. She is rocking a green tube top, jean shorts and Hello Kitty-striped knee-high socks. She’s a total hippie.
6:45 p.m.: Go to Fader Fort. Very diverse group of people. And there are a lot of girls running around in almost NOTHING. Swimsuit tops and booty shorts EVERYWHERE. Some girl’s tight floral dress is WAY too short. I now keep pulling mine down.
11 p.m.: La Zona Rosa… Alvin Risk, Krewella, Zedd and Wolfgang Gartner are playing back to back. We’re in the front row, and we won’t be moving for a while. This girl next to us is CRAZY. She looks like she’s been having a good time. She’s in a tank top and shorts, but her hair is a mess and her makeup is smeared down her face. LOL. But hey, no one has time to get ready three times in one day.
1:30 a.m.: Sixth Street is crowded. See a guy walking around in a full neon jumpsuit. I look up and see cowboy boots hanging above me on the street lights. WEIRD.
Friday, March 15
11 a.m.: Comfy clothes today. A dress was too much for 12 hours of walking and dancing around. White shorts and a navy blue “sweater” top. The top is light, so I won’t get hot.
3 p.m.: More people downtown than yesterday. A lot of tie-dyed shirts. There is a guy wearing a bright suit. Why would you wear that? It’s HOT. In an interview with Redeye Chicago, a pop culture website, musician and co-owner of the shop Violets and Vinyl Nicole Jacques says that a reoccurring trend this week is “90s style” — “Lots of floral, combat boots and crop tops.” Completely agree. I’ve been noticing this trend more and more as the day goes by.
10:45 p.m.: We are watching Dillon Francis play. And we are OUT OF PLACE. No one really knows who he is, so no one is dancing. My best friend and I are jumping around, dancing and getting stared at. Oh well, I love Dillon Francis.
1 a.m.: At the old Roial. My friend and I get onstage with the DJ. After dancing on stage and talking to him, I find out the DJ is Borgore — and 12th Planet is right next to him. AHHHH. I love SXSW.
3:30 a.m.: As we walk to the car, I step in a HUGE mud puddle. Now I have mud all over my white shorts. Not only were heels and a dress bad ideas but white shorts, too. Haha.
Saturday, March 16
2 p.m.: Last day of SXSW. What to wear? Hmm. Leggings, a tank top and a lace salmon-colored top. I am too lazy to do my hair. I guess I’ll let it air dry.
5:30 p.m.: We’re standing in line, waiting to get pizza. The girl in front of me is complaining about wearing heels and a blue jean skirt. I start laughing, happy I learned my lesson earlier this week.
9:30 p.m.: Tons going on. We get to the old Roial and there is a line wrapping around the building. Supposedly Skrillex, Paul Van Dyk, 12th Planet and a couple other bands are playing tonight. There are more guys in line than girls. And they are all sweaty and rough-looking. One guy is walking around with his shirt off like he owns the place.
Midnight: We end up walking over to another venue because the line wasn’t moving. Some rapper is playing. My friend’s boyfriend is so excited. As we walk in, we can tell we don’t fit in. We are the only little blonde girls here, and we look really “preppy.” Oh well, time to make the best of it.
Sunday, March 17
12:30 p.m.:I put on my soffees, tank top and Uggs. There is no way I am going to look presentable for this drive back. Crazy to say, but I am actually ready to get back to Dallas.
Austin, it’s been real. My first SXSW experience was fantastic. From seeing some of my favorite DJ’s to observing the festival’s many fashion statements (or maybe not-so-fashion statements), my experience showed me once again that it’s more than mileage separating Big D from the state capital. My second lesson? The saying “Keep Austin Weird” never fails to deliver.