Alerts & Newsletters

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Ultimate SXSW Packing Guide with Blogger Monica Dimperio

Monica Dimperio is a writer/street style photographer and founder/Editor in Chief  of, a Chicago-based fashion, lifestyle, and culture website. Since its inception in 2007, the site has been recognized by noteworthy publications such as The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. Monica is considered a style expert, a trend hunter, and a prominent figure in Chicago’s fashion community.

You know you’ve landed in Texas the minute someone calls you ma’am and holds the door for you. It’s an eye-opener—even for someone who hails from the Midwest, like me. That alone sets the tone for your Austin experience, where manners are in abundance.

Known to the rest of the state as its creative epicenter, you’ll quickly realize that it has the ability to hold that title throughout the the U.S. Home to University of Texas—Austin, this college town is spilling over with culture, energy, and a vibrant emerging music scene. Young transplants and locals alike fill the streets, exemplifying the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra. The style follows suit, with locals wearing anything that keeps them cool (the weather is a humid 70-something all year) and looking unique. You’ll see everything from hipsters with blue hair to new-school cowboys in their worn-in boots. Anything goes!

The beloved SXSW music festival is generally located in the downtown district, but events span throughout the city so it’s important to pack outfits that will carry you from that pool party at noon to the secret show in someone’s basement at 1 a.m. That means a comfortable pair of shoes is key. Another must-have: a trusty tote bag to hold all of your essentials (sunglasses, flats, and a phone charger) since you never knew when you’ll have a chance to get back to your hotel because something is always going on. That said, it’s best to keep your makeup bag to a minimum. A great cleanser,  concealer, mascara, lipgloss, and bronzer should do the trick. If you want to make a beauty statement, get a fun mani before you go.

Have a few hours to kill between shows and panels? Head to the South Congress nabe—you won’t regret it. For me, it was love at first site. There are vintage shops a-plenty and a food truck trailer park with amazing southern (read: fried) delights. Have a cocktail by the pool at the Hotel San Jose while you’re there. The vintage ambiance will make you never want to go back home.

Unlike music festivals that are confined within a gated area, SXSW provides a ton of freedom to roam the city and have an insane amount of fun. Just remember to pace yourself. It’s an exhausting week but worth every second.

For more information about our relationship with Olay click here:

PMC Logo
StyleCaster is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 SheMedia, LLC. All Rights Reserved.