When Jay Z sang about having problems, the Brooklyn-based rapper probably could not imagine that public rallies would be one. Seen across the world, the Occupy movement has found itself contextualized around continents as the 99% rise up to vocalize their discontent. If you’ve found yourself on the edge of the fray ready to march along, heed these five simple tips to keep your style in the thick of the action, as learned from Hot Girls of Occupy Wall Street.

1. Statement T-shirts

If ever there was a time to wear your message on a t-shirt, the time is now. Put away your Threadless tees and favourite band shirts, because earning hipster points this occasion does not call for. Whether you’re wearing the official shirt, or have gone Sharpie-crazy on a white tee, wear your heart on your sleeve with the cause showcased proudly. Do ignore the compulsion to scribble your Twitter handle or website on all that blank fabric though. Unless your message was to be the biggest d-bag at the rally, in which case, mission accomplished.

2. Covered Shoes

Now try running in those boots.

While the idea of wearing combat boots may appeal to the romantic inside, the cumbersome footwear can get laden down with water should the weather gods decide not to play nice. As such, go with another pair of covered shoes that has a good grip, protective and comfortable at the same time, like a pair of runners. While some rallies tout themselves as peaceful, it’s still best to keep away the flip flops for a rally isn’t ever a walk in the park and as the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than walking around barefoot on hot gravel and broken glass (this might be a loose retelling of the phrase).

3. Shorts or Jeans

There’s a place and time for everything but a skirt at a rally is rarely one that sees the time of day and with good reason. Movement is key at a rally, whether you’re walking, running, climbing or sitting and a skirt, with it’s potential for up-skirt moments or general swishing-around-the-ankles-annoyingness may deter more than assist.

4. A Scarf/Bandanna

Effective at holding your hair back, working as a pseudo-gas mask, and wiping away sweat off your skin and tear gas from your eyes, you won’t have to sweat the small stuff with a scarf around your neck. Also other possible uses, a mat for sit-ins, a belt for loose pants, a makeshift chain for your eyeglasses and to make believe you’re in an old-timey Western.

5. The Right Accessory

Which accessory drives the point home?

Forget the feathered earrings, and put away the stacked bangles, for the right kind of accessory sends a message that goes deeper than your necklace collection. Think about the cause you’re championing and reflect that in your dressing – are you a part of SlutWalk? Then load up on the bling. Likewise, if you’re marching for a green movement, keep your body paint the appropriate colour.

When in doubt, go with the crowd favourite, the Guy Fawkes mask as popularized in the Alan Moore graphic novel and subsequent movie adaptation, V for Vendetta. From Wall Street to Dataran Merdeka, the mask has been used to represent the face of those against tyranny, and though some would skewer the anonymity behind it, in this time and age, perhaps being Anonymous isn’t quite so bad after all.

Image credit: Hot Girls of Occupy Wall Street, Flickr.