What to Pack For New Orleans: Sequin Minis, Comfy Flats, and More
New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the US with a distinctive culture that draws visitors from all over the world. From its renowned Creole and Cajun cuisine to its many euphoric festivals and celebrations, the Louisiana destination, affectionally dubbed NOLA, is truly one-of-a-kind. With its second-line parades and jazz bands performing on the street, live music is a major highlight of New Orleans's vibrant city life. In the French Quarter, the Garden District, and beyond, the architecture is simply breathtaking — a rich blend of Caribbean, French, and Spanish elements like colorful townhouses, cast-iron balconies, and courtyards surrounded by rich foliage. New Orleans is home to some of the best eateries in the country and across the globe, from beignets at the world-famous Cafe du Monde to catfish poboys at Black-owned restaurant Morrow's. With the French Quarter standing as one of the few open-container districts, it's no surprise that The Big Easy is a popular nightlife destination, with revelers strolling down Bourbon or Frenchmen Streets with a Hurricane in hand — during Mardi Gras, JazzFest, or just on a random weekday. While there's much to do in the city, what to wear in New Orleans is a different challenge altogether.
To figure out what to wear in New Orleans, you first have to consider the weather. Nawlins, as it's also called, is surrounded by swampland, so you can expect plenty of heat and humidity. As such, you'll want to gravitate toward cool, sweat-wicking fabrics that won't cling to your skin: breezy maxis are perfect for day, and netted dresses will serve you well at night. Add to that visors, the city's famous parasols, and hand-held fans, and you'll be set.
Next, you'll want to think of your itinerary. If you're visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras, it's a fun time to experiment with the festival's signature colors: purple, green, and gold. Revelers usually dress in layers for the winter celebration, while also showing their personal style by way of tutus, sequins, or fringe — and, of course, endless beaded necklaces. Heading to the city for Essence Festival? Plan for a printed romper, flats, and a fan you can wear during the day; a fun embellished dress for the Superdome concerts at night; and an ivory matching set for the inevitable white party on your calendar.
Keep scrolling for what to wear (and where to stay, eat, and party) in New Orleans — with fashion finds from some of your favorite retailers.
Where to Stay in New Orleans: Vacasa Vacation Home
For an intimate housing experience in New Orleans, opt for a rental home in your favorite neighborhood through Vacasa. Museum Muse, an elegant townhouse located in the Central Business District, boasts gorgeous high ceilings, a claw-foot bath tub, an island kitchen, charming decor, and more. It's especially ideal for taking in Mardi Gras parades from the rear balcony.
A Straw Hat
Amazon The Drop Maldives Hat ($24, originally $30)
Go for a long walk through the dreamy French Quarter in the perfect straw hat. The wide visor will shield you from the sun in the most efficient way possible.
A Cutout Swimsuit
Old Navy Cutout-Front One-Piece Swimsuit ($18, originally $50)
Take a dip in a hotel pool wearing a chic one-piece swimsuit from Old Navy. This style comes with built-in UPF sun protection, and it's made with 82 percent recycled polyester to reduce waste.
A Halter Day Dress
LemLem Medallion Cutout Cover-Up Halter Dress ($298, originally $425)
Brave the humidity in a playful, printed dress from LemLem. The halter neckline, cutout design, and drapey fabric will keep you feeling cool and looking stylish.
Metallic Heeled Sandals
Aerosoles Carimma Heeled Sandal ($94, originally $135)
Dressing up in New Orleans is all about balancing style and comfort — and no shoe does that better than Aerosoles Carimma sandals. The inside cushion, diamond-flex outsole, and wide, platform heel all walk together to keep your feet feeling pain-free all night long.
A Portable Fan
Jisulife Portable Handheld Fan ($50, originally $63)
NOLA is surrounded by swampland, so the heat and humidity is just as intense as you'd expect. Pack a portable fan so you're prepared and can walk around with your own personal cooling system. This Amazon find has a customizable wind speed and a powerful motor that blows out cool air.
Everlane Endless Summer Sandal ($68, originally $135)
Pack a pair of throw-on-and-go sandals that are easy to wear — but still feel elevated and put together. These Everlane sandals fit the bill, boasting thong and ankle straps as well as an embossed snake print.
An Embellished, Netted Top
Diotima Dennis Marina Top ($1,025)
Hit the Superdome for a night of fun concerts in this embellished, netted top from Black-owned brand Diotima. The netting will keep you ventilated, while the delicate, hand-placed crystals offer plenty of glamour.