Fairs are more about food, fun and family than fashion. But giving a little thought to your clothing choices can make your trip to the State Fair all the more enjoyable.

Comfort should always be the top priority when putting together an outfit for a walking-intensive activity. Still, there are plenty of ways to be both stylish and comfy, even when you’re elbowing your way through the swine barn.

A few things to keep in mind:

• Since you will be outside most of the time, consider sun exposure. Long sleeves will likely make you hot and miserable, but be sure to slather on the sunscreen. Consider lip balm with SPF, too.

• If you’ll be hitting the midway for some evening action, pack a lightweight jacket. It can get cool once the sun goes down.

• Make sure your money is secure. Keep cash or wallets in front pant pockets, or stash in handbags with zippers or other tamper-proof closures.

• Choose light colors. Unless it’s pouring rain, there will be sunshine on your shoulders for hours. Lighter colors absorb less heat, which helps you stay cool.

Here are outfit ideas for both men and women.


Pick a pair that suits your face shape and personal style.

Instead of a solid, try a quirky or arty graphic tee (this one goes great with the Cat Video Film Fest). For a more feminine look, throw on a lightweight button-front shirt and cuff the sleeves. If you opt for a tank, choose a bold color or playful print.

Skirts and dresses can work, too, but shorts are a bit more versatile and can offer more coverage — and protection. Choose a length that makes you feel comfortable and stylish.

If it’s hot, sandals may be tempting, but consider the amount of animal poo that circulates on the fairgrounds. Closed-toe shoes like ballet flats can be just as comfy and cute, but also provide a barrier between your feet and the dirt.

A few simple pieces of jewelry can make you look more polished. Stud earrings or a simple chain necklace and a watch complete your look. Add a couple of bracelets to your watch hand for a trendy flair.

Crossbody is the way to go. This style allows you to go hands-free, and also keeps your bag secure from purse-snatchers.


A lightweight cap or brimmed hat is a great way to fend off sunburn and add a level of polish to your look. While not an essential accessory, especially if you tend to get sweaty at the brow, a hat can make your outfit pop.

Even if you skip a hat, don’t forget your shades. It can get both bright and dusty at the fair, and protecting your eyes is wise.

A classic tee will definitely work, but you can up your style quotient by selecting a lightweight button-up instead. Pick a plaid, any plaid.

Cargos with buttonable pockets will allow you to stash cash and keys without worrying.

Simple sneakers or boat shoes are ideal, because they can be worn stylishly without adding bulky socks. Closed-toe sandals can work, too, although they will let in dust and grime.

Helps you look more polished and comes in handy if you want to tell the time with something other than your cell phone.

Definitely optional, but if you do any souvenir shopping, a small messenger bag can be helpful.


Sally McGraw is the Minneapolis-based author of Already Pretty (www.alreadypretty.com), a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image.