What to wear in New Orleans hinges on two aspects. First, there’s activity – do you plan to dance into the wee hours in the city’s best live jazz clubs, cycle under majestic oaks in a city park, or explore Creole cuisine in one of many world-class restaurants? Most likely your trip will include all of these elements and more, requiring pro packing and versatile wardrobe pieces.
The other crucial factor is weather, or more plainly, temperature. Summer can be relentlessly hot and sticky, with sweat a constant companion. Keep your cool with light and breathable fabrics.
What to Wear in New Orleans
Ever-festive, New Orleans embraces creativity and revels in expressions of bold style. Here’s a guide to selecting elegant yet relaxed New Orleans outfits and accessories.
A Pair for Walking, A Pair for Dancing
From the riverfront to Frenchmen Street one day, then a stroll along historic St. Charles Avenue the next, you will walk more in New Orleans than you ever imagined. Hip cafes, bars, and art galleries call out for pop-ins around every corner, so aim for a balance of comfort and style. And, don’t forget to bring shoes for dancing. Live jazz is played all over the city and your feet won’t be able to resist.
Casually Chic, Breathable Fabrics
The streets of New Orleans provide the perfect backdrop for sporting linens and cottons as well as high-tech breathable-yet-chic athletic wear. Sundresses or a flowing skirt paired with a tank top are great choices for women. Guys, lightweight classic shorts by night; pants by night can be your go-to.
Experiencing the fine art of New Orleans dining often requires dressing the part. Many restaurants—including famed Galatoire’s and Commander’s Palace—have strict dress codes. Men will need to pack a jacket to make this scene. Ladies, bring along your favorite LBD or go-to party frock.
The Perfect Topper
From floppy sun hats to hipster trucker caps, New Orleans is a city in love with head gear. Practically speaking, hats are essential for shielding your face from the sun’s pulsing rays, but they are also a style statement. If you forget to bring one along, head to the historic outdoor French Market where selection is big and prices are low.
More from SmarterTravel:
- New Orleans Travel Guide
- 11 Best Hotels in New Orleans
- 10 Best Cheap Hotels in New Orleans
- 9 Haunted Hotels in New Orleans
- 10 Must-See New Orleans Attractions
- 12 Places to Hear Incredible New Orleans Jazz
- 10 Things You Can Only Do in New Orleans
- 10 Best Restaurants in New Orleans
- 12 Best Spots for Cheap Eats in New Orleans
- Everything You Need to Know About New Orleans Food
- What to Pack for New Orleans
Original reporting by Jess Simpson