Get ready to sip rum and pose like a baddie
The biggest street party of the year is nigh. Yes, Notting Hill Carnival is finally back.
The two-day festival over the August Bank Holiday is the most anticipated British street party of the year when London's Caribbean communities come together to celebrate culture and tradition in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Expect steel bands, colourful floats, dancers and around 40 sound systems blasting bashment, afro beats and soca to spread the carnival spirit, as well as mouth-watering Caribbean cuisine alongside all that Red Stripe and rum.
Up to a million revellers descend on the streets of west London with dancers parading around in glitter, tassels and feathers, and while this is probably the last weekend we can expose 90 per cent flesh, we need to remember to dress for London weather and not the 35-degree heat of the Port of Spain.
As well as being a great fun day out, Notting Hill carnival is rich in history.
Many workers from Trinidad, Jamaica, St Lucia and other Caribbean islands were encouraged to come to the UK because the Second World War had badly affected the economy.
The arrival of close to 500 workers from the Caribbean on the SS Empire Windrush in 1948 triggered the launch of the carnival which aimed to bridge the cultural gap between the communities.
And by the mid-60s, Notting Hill Carnival was born and has been running annually through Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Grove and Kensal Road.
It is all about good vibes, bold colours and communities joining forces in celebration. So with this in mind, we've rounded up the best outfits to ensure you stand out at one of London's biggest street parties.
What to wear to Notting Hill Carnival
When it comes to Notting Hill Carnival, you'll need to wear something comfortable but also something that makes you look like a baddie. A brightly coloured co-ord will do the trick.
It's not forecast to rain in London over the Bank Holiday weekend so you should be pretty safe with a bralet-trouser combo. Look to Pretty Little Thing for bold prints and flattering silhouettes.
The sensible bag
With all the bumping and grinding, there will be zero room for handbags. Take something small but big enough for you to keep your essentials nice and safe.
A bum bag or small crossbody is perfect for a street party. They're small, compact and easy to carry. Either pop it over one shoulder or if you have belt loops, wrap the bum bag around your waist to free up your arms for more dancing.
The Notting Hill Carnival spreads throughout W10 in West London which means a lot of walking and a lot of dancing. Do not, under any circumstances, wear sandals or heels for the carnival. With drinks flowing and music popping, there won't be any time for that kind of whining.
Be sensible and wear a pair of trainers, but do not wear white unless you want to go home with your fresh trainers ruined. Look to Adidas for all-day comfort with their Ultraboost Parley shoes - and they are dark enough not to carry any stains home too.
If you're not a fan of the co-ord, then a pair of denim shorts are an absolute must. Not only are they comfortable but they look lit with just about anything. You can jump, dance and attempt to locate your now lost friends through the crazy crowds.
A loose fit will ensure you are comfortable all day long. Pair with a boho off-the-shoulder top or bold crop and you're ready to dance the day away. Look to Topshop for a vintage feel or H&M for an eclectic choice of colours to add to your carnival vibe.
Makeup and accessories
Glitter and face paint are encouraged during the carnival season. Take a note from your fellow sisters and decorate your face with dazzling gems to make you feel like the queen that you are. However, don't do a Coachella and wear a single bindi. That's not cool.
The bold lip
Who doesn't want to stand out at carnival? Thankfully, Rihanna - and fellow Island Gyal - has hooked us all up with a universal shade of red that'll give us the pop we want.
Sunglasses are an absolute must. Not only are they used to block the sun from your eyes, but also they're very handy for eyeing up the potential in the crowds. Whether you're more of a retro kind of person or prefer the minimal look, Carnival is all about being #extra.
Opt for bright, bold colours. The sillier the better. Otherwise, if you actually want a pair of sunglasses you'll wear again and won't break, go for Monc's round frame sunglasses that feature hooked temples so you won't risk losing them when you're dancing on the stage.
There you have it; the absolute essentials to ensure you are comfortable during carnival weekend. And remember, just have fun and don't forget to drink plenty of water.