Power Garb of Female Expression at Burning Man

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Clothing in a definite alternative style.

Patrick Powers


At the Burning Man festival few wear actual costumes, bears and sultans and so forth. Some do, and to click the links to the original photo sources I've embedded in this appreciation often brings up photos of them too. There is powerful garb that many women favor. It is plain ordinary clothing but in a definite alternative style. Top hat, heavy boots, leather pouches around the waist, leggings for the ladies, beards for men and partially or wholly bare butt cheeks for women. A lady not showing at least a little bit of cheek seems prudish. On the other extreme, one young pumpkin was entirely in white fur except for the bare butt. An attention getter, that.

I like this photo because it is so typical. That's what things are Really Like. Notice the string of balloons in the background. They allow one to see how the air is moving. It often moves differently at different elevations. It reveals the invisible. As you will see, I like women. Many of these elegant people caught my eye, or ones in similar costume, then sought their photos online when I returned home. For men, try http://www.pinterest.com/MountainRiverD/men-of-burning-man/

Hat, check. Leather pouch, check. Heavy boots, check. Those notices taped to the port-a-potties warn against sexual harassment. If a lady says no, she means no.

It is important that women feel safe, as in Amelia Corwin's photo, at Burning Man.

Burning Man styles have gone commercial, as this professional shows. Others aren't allowed to use the name, though. Squads of Internet hunters enforce ownership of the trademark.

Some feel that buying clothing is unMan, but most people can't make clothes any more so you gotta do what you gotta do.

Metals are in, particularly rusty iron. This photo must be from another festival in a cooler clime.

Every now and then you come across something you just can't describe.

A few years ago cowboy hats were most common. They are still around but feathers have made their move. Maybe it is to show a preference for the Indians over the Cowboys.

Nice to meet you again, Bacchus. Quite an elaborate tent they are in. They seem to be having a good time.

I might have seen this woman on the way to the airport dressed as a princess of India, in harem pants and full tika marks, driving a small car that looked like a housecat with arched back. She wasn't friendly. I got the impression that people who camped in the airport suburb felt themselves to be in a better class. Maybe they are.

Unicorns (as in Nick Onken's photo) are part of the lore of Burning Man. They have their own camp with a disco and a huge unicorn art bus with a rainbow laser mounted in its horn. It is a rare but well-known psychological type. Unicorns tend to join up with a couple, and are always talking about how magical everything is.

She sure can dress up. Note the attention to detail, like the henna design on her sternoclavomastoid (that's that muscle that sticks out of the neck.)

Is this her again?

How about dressing as a tree? The bubbles above are a nice touch.

The psychedelic shaman look. So weird!

How ripped can you get?






Patrick Powers is a bass guitarist and poet, formerly of Bali, now living in northern Michigan. He rode to Burning Man 2014 with his Berkeley friends Rebecca and Ingrid in their camper Fundancer.

Copyright © Patrick Powers. All rights reserved.

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