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If you only shop for one thing for Burning Man, it should be water. Let's be honest: Nobody likes a sparkle pony.
But after you purchase your survival essentials, you'll want rad outfits for your stay on the Playa. Maybe you're looking for a pair of pants that scream "Ziggy Stardust changed my life." Maybe you want to embrace your inner steampunk. Maybe either of these options are what you call a "typical Friday look." Whatever your personal style, Bay Area businesses have you covered (literally and figuratively) covered for the weeklong festival.
Experienced Burners may be turned off by the name "Glitter Britches" due to the strict glitter ban at the event. Don't let the name deceive you: The only Matter Out of Place (MOOP) on these pants is the emergency glitter packet attached to the label. Remove the glitter packet when you tear off the tags, and save it for next year's Pride Parade.
In addition to shiny pantaloons ($75-$80), BeastWares mastermind Phoenix Zoellick offers tops ($120-$140), dresses ($140), hats ($80), arm warmers ($25), and "Ruffle Bum Utility Bustle Belts" ($150-$250), all handmade in California with a palette of holographic fabrics that would make Bowie himself jealous.
We checked in with Zoellick about last-minute burner purchases, and learned that she still has Glitter Britches in the Immigrant Punks, Jack Sparrows, Oil Slicks, Ended Rainbows, and Space Oddity styles. Customers in the Bay Area may want to consider the express shipping option to receive orders overnight via USPS. Those who want to drive to the BeastWares home office in Crockett, California can pick up orders in person. (Zoellick asks that Burning Man customers email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that she has time to fulfill short turnaround orders. Customers who want to pick up items in person should also email to schedule an appointment.)
Next, let's turn to the city's brick-and-mortar options. At this point, you're short on time. Do yourself a favor and head over to Haight Street. Seriously. This is a target-rich environment for burners.
If you like the sparkle-look, but prefer an in-store shopping experience, check Piedmont Boutique for tutus, bustiers, fetish wear, wigs, and costume jewels galore. Piedmont's website claims that it's "San Francisco's most outrageous shopping experience, and we have to agree that it lives up to the hype. Walking into Piedmont is a sequin sensory overload. And if you need a different version of one of the in-stock items, Piedmont will make you a custom garment in 2-3 days. All of the apparel in the store is made locally, and the busy little elves in the Piedmont workshop are still sewing away to fill those last minute Burning Man orders. Before you order, just remember that custom items cost 10-20 percent more than standard stock. Don't forget to confirm that your garment will be ready before you leave for the Playa.
For those who lean more toward steampunk than sequins, go to Distractions on Haight, the area's self-described "original eclectic emporium." You can find hats, goggles, corsets, frock coats, post-apocalyptic pleather jackets, fancy pants, and a number of reimagined vintage items that you won't find anywhere else. Bonus: The store's staff knows Burning Man inside and out. Staffers are happy to share their expertise to help you select outfits and your all-important personal lighting.
No matter how you choose to express yourself on the Playa, remember that the clothes make the man (or woman), but water keeps you alive. Have fun shopping for your outfits, and pack plenty of water.
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· Burning Man [Official Site]